Chap 3. History of Cooperative Learning

Timeline of the History of Cooperative Learning 


This is a partial timeline on the history of cooperative learning from Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1998, p. 3:2-3:3)




Early 1900s

John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky




Stuart Cook: Research on cooperation Madsen (Kagan): Research on cooperation & competition in children Bruner, Suchman: Inquiry (Discovery) Learning Movement B. F. Skinner: Programmed learning, behavior modification


Morton Deutsch (Nebraska Symposium): Cooperation & trust, conflict Robert Blake & Jane Mouton: Research on intergroup competition

1966   1969

David Johnson, U of MN: Begins training teachers in Cooperative Learning Roger Johnson: Joins David at U of MN




David Johnson: Social Psychology of Education


David DeVries & Keith Edwards: Combined instructional games approach with intergroup competition, teams-games-tournament


David & Roger Johnson: Research review on cooperation/competition David & Roger Johnson: Learning Together and Alone

Mid 1970s

Annual Symposium at APA (David DeVries & Keith Edwards, David & Roger Johnson, Stuart Cook, Elliot Aronson, Elizabeth Cohen, others) Robert Slavin: Begins development of cooperative curricula Spencer Kagan: Continued research on cooperation among children


Shlomo &Yael Sharan: Small Group Teaching (group investigation)


Elliot Aronson: Jigsaw Classroom,

Journal of Research & Development in Education, (Cooperation Issue)

Jeanne Gibbs: Tribes 



1981, 1983

David & Roger Johnson: Meta-analyses of research on cooperation


Elizabeth Cohen: Designing Groupwork


Spencer Kagan: Developed structures approach to cooperative learning


AERA and ASCD special interest groups founded


David & Roger Johnson: Cooperation & Competition- Theory & Research 



Early 1990s

Cooperative learning gains popularity among educators


First Annual Cooperative Learning Leadership Conference, Minneapolis

Despite people’s history of cooperation, a myth persists that the world is based on the competitive principle of “survival of the fittest.” However, cooperation has been found to be directly related to success, and competitiveness has been found detrimental to career success. "The more competitive a person is, the less chance he or she has of being successful" (Kohn, 1996).

If competitiveness seems to be so unfavorable to career success, why is it so predominant in classrooms? The answer may be found by studying the research comparing the relative effects of competitive, individualistic, and cooperative efforts (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).


           Johnson, D., Johnson, R.& Holubec, E. (1998).Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.