Social Learning

Social learning has always been a classroom strategy that I have enjoyed using. While it can be difficult to effectively create a cooperative learning environment in which students are gaining the greatest amount of learning, this theory of social learning can give many benefits to students in a classroom. Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, 2010) explains how in social learning, when students are learning through active conversation with other students, it helps them to understand information. Dr. Orey also discusses if constructionism is used in the classroom, under the social learning theory, students can work collaboratively and have the opportunity to build or make something together.

This week I was able to consider the strategy Cooperative Learning from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works and determine its close relationship with connectivism and social learning theories. This strategy is directly linking to the social learning theory because it is based on students interacting with other students in a way that will allow them to understand new knowledge and have high levels of learning. The chapter discusses how interactions should be set to include components such a accountability, communication skills, group processing, etc. These components support the social learning theory because they ultimately strive to help students learn positive interaction while actively engaged in learning with others. The chapter discusses useful technology that can be helpful to cooperative learning groups, and technology that can be used by the cooperative learning groups. This chapter discusses web-enabled cooperative learning and how useful and realistically effective this can be for a group of students working together to research something or achieve a task.

Cooperative learning can be a very effective social learning strategy when used correctly. Students can learn from one another and learn by teaching one another. Although I use this strategy often in my classroom, I feel that I can improve cooperative learning in my classroom by implementing some technology tools where appropriate and using the strategy suggestions.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Social Learning Theories. Baltimore: Executive Producer.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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About Nicole

Hello! My name is Nicole deMoll. I am a kindergarden teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland. I started this blog as part of my graduate studies in education. I am dedicated to learning more about integrating technology into the classroom. I love teaching kindergarten and I hope to be able to share a lot throughout my adventures!
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4 Responses to Social Learning

  1. Mike Ballard says:

    Nicole,
    My favorite benefit of social learning is not the stronger content knowledge that students will gain from the experiences, but the “extras” that this learning strategy can bring to the table. You discussed the accountability, communication skills and group processing as some of the the other benefits that come along with social learning. These skills are invaluable tools for students throughout the rest of their lives and many times they are created inadvertently while attempting to build other content skills. While the content we are teaching is most definitely important, most students would struggle without these social skills that they gain through group interaction and collaboration.

  2. Lisa says:

    You are absolutely right when saying that cooperative learning can be effective when used correctly. I do a lot of cooperative learning in my classroom and I have trained many additional teachers on this. Some of the teachers I have trained have come back to me with great frustrations. The reason of their frustrations is the delivery of the directions to the students. Cooperative learning lessons must be very clear in what you want your students to do. It does take a lot of practice with both the teacher and the students. In order to have effective cooperative learning in a classroom of engaged students, patients is a must!

  3. Mary Jones says:

    Nicole, Mike, and Lisa,
    I am one of those teachers that have hit frustration with this technique. The times it has been successful, it has been the relevance that has motivated the students to work together respectfully. That is an area I am working on for the other projects. However, the low lights for this strategy in my middle school classroom is the level of respect the students have for each other and how they interact. I feel as though I should spend the first weeks of school training the students how to be compassionate, respectful people before we can enter into something of this magnitude. I would welcome any thoughts or suggestions in that regard.

  4. Kelley Straight says:

    Nicole,
    I agree that cooperative learning can be a very effective strategy. I like how Mike said that the students are learning more than content. All of the additional skills the students are learning while working together are very important and relevant for the present time and for their future. I am going to make it a point to incorporate more cooperative learning in my classroom. I also like how you added that the students are learning by teaching each other. My content knowledge has grown tremendously in the past 8 years by teaching others. Nice post!
    Kelley

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