In Scotland North Lanarkshire is leading the way on Co-operative Learning.
A few years ago they researched pedagogy in a number of countries outwith Scotland and were particularly impressed by what they witnessed in Durham District in Ontario where Co-operative Learning has been the key method for the delivery of the curriculum for a number of years. Their results showed sizeable improvements in both academic achievement and a number of social factors. These results persuaded North Lanarkshire staff to begin a co-ordinated roll out of training to use Co-operative Learning across the authority. North Lanarkshire is now adopting the Durham model of training all teachers, managers and support staff in the techniques and strategies of Co-operative Learning. To date, some 2000 members of staff from across all sectors and stages have been trained.
Staff at North Lanarkshire report that students are enthusiastic about how much more enjoyable learning is with this new methodology. Teachers like the method as well and believe that both attainment and whole-school ethos have improved. HMIe have commented positively on the benefits of Co-operative Learning in school reports, and a great deal of interest has been shown nationally. The North Lanarkshire project is now being evaluated.
Numerous studies have also shown that Co-operative Learning can also be used with great effect for post-school education. Recently I observed a two-day course for university students on personal development where co-operative groups were used and the students were not only engaged but enchanted. Their evaluation of the course could not have been higher.