Distinction between cooperative and collaborative learning

I found this image created by Clare (2015) particularly interesting – Thank you Sargent (2017) for the link to this image!

While Clare (2015) claims that the ‘purpose of both approaches is the same’, to facilitate meaningful peer interaction, thereby enhancing learning, deciding which approach to use for a a specific task can be challenging.

Cooperative learning is a purposeful instructional strategy whereas collaborative learning may be something that naturally occurs in many classrooms. Cooperative learning has been found to be very successful, however it is highly important to note that it is teacher facilitated an initiated. Furthermore, an area I found of particular note was that Clare (2015) determined that cooperative learning is a ‘team approach’ where all members are expected to contribute and fulfil their individual roles.

Collaborative learning however, is defined more by a group of students coming together on a shared interest or passion. Therefore, while students will no doubt learn extensively from each other there are no defined roles or need to contribute equally.

The table I featured in my previous post about the group learning space was highly influenced by this diagram.


Clare, J. (2015). The difference in cooperative learning and collaborative learning. Retrieved from: http://www.teacherswithapps.com/the-differences-in-cooperative-learning-collaborative-learning/

Sargent, V. (2017). Is there a distinction??? [Online post]. Retrieved from: https://leo.acu.edu.au/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=541638 (note access to this page requires a valid log in)


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