CL1 - More Information: Positive Interdependence




Positive interdependence

Positive interdependence means that team members need each other to succeed. A childhood example is the three-legged race. Though smaller than the typical learning groups, it illustrates clearly the dependence each teammate has with the other individual.

There are many forms of positive interdependence that can be structured in groups.

    One way learning goal interdependence can be ensured is if the group's goals include that all group members must understand a specific concept well enough to explain it to another group.

    Positive interdependence can be reached with product goal interdependence: i.e., when students must reach a consensus answer.

    A reward interdependence can be built into the group by having some form of shared grades. For example, besides their individual scores on an exam, students receive a certain number of points if all group members score at or above a certain grade.

    Resource interdependence relies on the fact that individuals each possess specific resources needed for the group as a whole to succeed. This can be arranged by giving specific resources to different individuals in the group.

    Role interdependence occurs when specific roles are assigned to group members, for example, recorder or time keeper. The roles can rotate weekly to give all team members experience.

    Task interdependence occurs when one group member must first complete his/her task before the next task can be completed. For instance, collecting water samples might be assigned to two group member while research on how to collect samples is done by two other group members.

One way to ensure that positive independence occurs lies with the face-to-face promotive interactions between group members.

Cooper, J., Prescott, S., Cook, L., Smith, L., Mueck, R., and Cuseo, J. (1990). Cooperative learning and college instruction: Effective use of student learning teams. California State University Foundation, Long Beach, CA.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. (1987). Learning Together & Alone, Cooperative, Competitive, & Individualistic Learning. 2nd ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., and Smith, K. A. (1998). Active learning: Cooperation in the college classroom. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company.

Smith, K. A. (1996). "Cooperative Learning: Making 'Group work' Work" In Sutherland, T. E., and Bonwell, C. C. (Eds.), Using active learning in college classes: A range of options for faculty, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 67.

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