Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Mary Claire Morr Serewicz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Frank E.X. Dance

Third Advisor

Roy Wood


Communication, Cooperative learning, Public speaking


The phrase cooperative learning refers to a pedagogical learning and teaching technique in use in schools from kindergarten through higher education. The technique involves the structuring of an active classroom environment with students working in groups to discover, solve, and at its basic, provide a framework for dialogue and conversation. Cooperative learning is grounded in the development of a theory of social interdependence (Morton Deutsch) which states that individuals, working in groups, can in most cases provide for greater productivity and ideas than individuals working alone. The development of cooperative learning was greatly expanded in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with the invention of specific group learning techniques led by researchers David and Robert Johnson (Learning Together), Elliot Aronson (Jigsaw), and Robert Slavin (STAD). These researchers established guidelines (rules) and taxonomies that provided a basis for research in the area of cooperative learning. At the center of all of these techniques is an element of human communication, most often through the oral/aural communication channel, where group learning and discovery takes place.

Cooperative learning and collaborative learning techniques differ in the amount and implementation of teaching guidelines required in the methodology. This study (a metaanalysis) weaves through more than 14-hundred published pieces of literature in a variety of disciplines, narrowing it down to 19 published articles which investigate (through experiments) the effectiveness through learning outcomes of cooperative learning in higher education (college and university level).

With studies including more than 2-thousand student-participants in the research, data indicates no significant difference between those classrooms utilizing a cooperative learning format, and those using a traditional lecture/discussion format (d =0.05, 95%, C1:-05 to .14, p>.05, k = 21, N = 2,052). Though there is no statistical difference between the two teaching techniques, researchers do offer a list of positive classroom observations/variables, which provides a launching point for future research into the use of cooperative learning techniques in higher education.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

William Patrick Huddy


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

170 p.


Communication, Education