Series: David Olio: Case Study of a Teacher

Collaboration vs. Cooperative Learning
Lesson Objective: Facilitate peer-to-peer learning
All Grades / All Subjects / Participation

Thought starters

  1. What are the key differences between collaboration and cooperative learning?
  2. How does Mr. Olio help students develop their own ideas while learning from others?
  3. What can you learn from Mr. Olio about creating a collaborative learning environment?
Easy to think about collaboration and cooperation as synonyms. But with this video and Mr. Olio┬┤s explanation. I understand the important difference.
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This is a fascinating concept and comparison. My understanding of these terms seems reversed to how you are using them. For example, as a playwright, I would say I have collaborated on a single work and might cite the persons or ideas involved. As a teacher, I would say I cooperate with my colleagues as we share resources (and differences of opinion) when we teach the same course but go about it differently, as in the case of English 12. Your comparison is thought-provoking and may hatch some interesting lesson plans for me-- thank you.
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I love it. Please share some supporting materials, books etc. Thanks .
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  • Collaboration vs. Cooperative Learning Transcript

    Teacher [class]: I think we're good to go, right? We're ready to do some collaborating today.


    Collaboration vs. Cooperative Learning Transcript

    Teacher [class]: I think we're good to go, right? We're ready to do some collaborating today.

    Teacher [interview]: Collaboration is something I deeply believe in. Students really learn most deeply and mostly from their peers. And as a result, I need to be able to help them learn how to do that in an academic environment. We will spend a lot of the year working on specific strategies to be able to collaborate.


    Student: Oh! That's what you meant.

    Teacher [interview]: It's not cooperative learning. Because cooperative learning typically is looking for one end product. A project, and we can all work toward that. Collaboration is very different. Collaboration asks students to examine, asks students to pull apart, reassemble and come up with something new but not necessarily by consensus. Individuals bring their own perspectives and ideas into a group where that idea, then put into the hopper, wrestled with and then each student emerges with some new idea of their own.

    Student: The theme that's emerging is that maybe it was her pride that alienated her.


    Teacher [interview]: If I have 24 students in my class, there will be 24 different ideas that leave that classroom. The value of having 24 different points of view is being able to see multiple perspectives. In an AP class, we really need to be able to handle contradiction, ambiguity.

    Student: The first sentence is - is to the point and direct. You said that, but he said that it was broad. So I didn't really know what to think about it.

    Teacher [interview]: Individual students need to feel empowered to examine an idea by testing it by other students, strengthening it and then leaving with a stronger idea.

    Student: I didn't realize that using a transitional word could completely reshape this.

    Teacher [class]: Isn't that cool?

    Student: Yeah.

    Teacher [interview]: Collaboration I not a consensus deriving device, it's a way for people to problem-solve and it's an environment for them to be able to engage in productive thinking and learning.

    Teacher [class]: So keep going, all right. You're doing a great job.



School Details

South Windsor High School
161 Nevers Rd
South Windsor CT 06074
Population: 1364

Data Provided By:



David Olio


Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY


Professional Learning


English Language Learners


English Language Arts