Structuring Group Interaction to Promote Thinking and Learning During Small Group Learning in High School Settings

  • Günter L. Huber
  • Anne A. Huber
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning book series (CULS, volume 8)

Reports about success and flaws of cooperative learning in classrooms lead to the conclusion that external structuring of teams and learning tasks is not sufficient, because students often need additional structural support on a level of internal organization of group processes and on the internal level of individual learning orientations. As regards external structuring, the article describes the wide-spread technique of task-specialization in models of cooperative learning as well as its problems, and shows alternative approaches. Support for internal, interactive processes may be achieved by prescribing social roles or even learning, by training relevant competencies before small groups start learning together, by reflecting and evaluating group activities during and after learning, and finally, by modifying how the learners perceive their own and their team-mates’ competencies. The optimal approach is to combine these structural supports for small group learning and to complement it with phases of teacher-centered as well as individual learning. Two combinatory models are described, which also have been shown to reduce the uncertainties of small group learning for more certainty-oriented learners, who otherwise liked cooperation less and achieved less than their uncertainty oriented class-mates. Final recommendations include a warning against the exclusive role of individually centered assessment procedures apparently in cooperative environments of teaching and learning.


Learning Activity Individual Learning Cooperative Learning Team Learning Group Reward 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andriessen, J. E. B., Coirier, P., Roos, L., Passerault, J. M., & Bert-Erboul, J. M. (1996). Thematic and structural planning in constrained argumentative text production. In H. Van den Bergh, G. Rijlaarsdam & M. Couzijn (Eds.), Theories, models and methodology in writing research (pp. 237–251). Amsterdam: University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aronson, E., Blaney, N., Stephan, G., Sikes, J., & Snapp, M. (1978). The Jigsaw classroom. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., & Akert, R. M. (2004). Sozialpsychologie [Social psychology] (4th revised edn.). München: Pearson Studium.Google Scholar
  4. Ausubel, D. P. (1974). Psychologie des Unterrichts [Psychology of teaching]. Weinheim: Beltz.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, E., Guldimann, T., & Zutavern, M. (1997). Eigenständiges Lernen verstehen und fördern [Understanding and promoting self-regulated learning]. In K. Reusser & M. Reusser-Weyeneth (Eds.), Verstehen: psychologischer Prozess und didaktische Aufgabe [Understanding: psychological process and didactic task] (pp. 207–225). Bern: Huber.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, E. G. (1993). Bedingungen für kooperative Kleingruppen [Conditions for cooperating small groups]. In G. L. Huber (Ed.), Neue Perspektiven der Kooperation [New perspectives of cooperation] (S. 45–53). Hohengehren: Schneider Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, E. G. (1994). Restructuring the classroom: Conditions for productive small groups. Review of Educational Research, 64, 1–35.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, E. G., Lotan, R. A., Whitcomb, J. A., Balderrama, M. V., Cossey, R., & Swanson, P. E. (1994). Complex instruction: Higher-order thinking in heterogeneous classrooms. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods (pp. 82–96). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dalbert, C. (1992). Der Glaube an die gerechte Welt: Differenzierung und Validierung eines Konstrukts [The belief in a Just World: Differentiation and validation of a construct]. Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie, 23, 268–276.Google Scholar
  10. Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  11. Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (Eds.) (2002). Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 3–36). Rochester: The University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, R. H., Dansereau, D. F., O’Donnell, A. M., & Skaggs, L. P. (1989). The effect of textual errors on dyadic and individual learning. Journal of Reading Behavior, 21, 127–140.Google Scholar
  13. Hall, R. H., Rocklin, T. R., Dansereau, D. F., Skaggs, L. P., O’Donnell, A. M., Lambiotte, J. G., & Young, M. D. (1988). The role of individual differences in the learning of technical material. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 172–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hattie, J., Biggs, J., & Purdie, N. (1996). Effects of learning skills interventions on student learning: a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66, 99–136.Google Scholar
  15. von Hentig, H. (2004). Einführung in den Bildungsplan 2004. [Introduction to the curriculum 2004] Found on Sept. 08, 2005, under
  16. Herold, M., & Landherr, B. (2001). SOL Selbstorganisiertes Lernen: ein systemischer Ansatz für Unterricht [SOL Self-organized learning: a systematic approach for the classroom]. Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren.Google Scholar
  17. Herold, M., Landherr, B., & Huber, G. L. (1997). Fraktale Lernorganisation in der gymnasialen Oberstufe: Ergebnisse eines Schulversuchs [Fractal organisation of learning in the gymnasiale Oberstufe: Results of a study in schools]. Presentation at the 6th conference of the Fachgruppe Pädagogische Psychologie/Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie, Frankfurt am Main.Google Scholar
  18. Hoek, D., van den Eden, P., & Terwel, J. (1999). The effects of integrated social and cognitive strategy instruction on the mathematics achievement in secondary education. Learning and Instruction, 9, 427–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Huber, A. (1999). Bedingungen effektiven Lernens in Kleingruppen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Rolle von Lernskripten [Conditions of effective learning in small groups in particular consideration of learning scripts]. Schwangau: Ingeborg Huber Verlag.Google Scholar
  20. Huber, A. A. (2004a). Die Partnerpuzzlemethode [The partner-puzzle method]. In A. A. Huber (Hrsg.), Kooperatives Lernen–Kein Problem. Effektive Methoden der Partner-und Gruppenarbeit [Cooperative learning–no problem. Effective methods of working in pairs and groups] (S.39–48). Leipzig: Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag.Google Scholar
  21. Huber, A. A. (2004b). Die Strukturierte Kontroverse [The structured controversy]. In A. A. Huber (Hrsg.), Kooperatives Lernen–kein Problem. Effektive Methoden der Partner-und Gruppenarbeit [Cooperative learning–no problem. Effective methods of working in pairs and groups] (S.80–85). Leipzig: Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag.Google Scholar
  22. Huber, A. A., Konrad, K., & Wahl, D. (2001). Lernen durch wechselseitiges Lehren [Learning by mutual teaching]. Pädagogisches Handeln, 5 (2), 33–46.Google Scholar
  23. Huber, A. A. (2006). Wechselseitiges Lehren und Lernen als spezielle Form Kooperativen Lernens [Mutual teaching and learning as special version of cooperative learning]. Unpublished Habilitation thesis. Weingarten: Educational University Weingarten.Google Scholar
  24. Huber, G. L. (1987). Kooperatives Lernen: Theoretische und praktische Herausforderung für die Pädagogische Psychologie [Cooperative learning: Theoretical and practical challenge for Educational Psychology]. Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 19, 340–362.Google Scholar
  25. Huber, G. L. (2004). Die Praxis macht den Unterschied. Ergebnisse einer vergleichenden Evaluation [Practice makes a difference. Results of a comparative evaluation]. Presentation in a training course for SOL teachers, Berlin.Google Scholar
  26. Huber, G. L., & Gürtler, L. (2004). AQUAD Six: Manual for the analysis of qualitative data. Tübingen: Ingeborg Huber Verlag.Google Scholar
  27. Huber, G. L., Scholz, G., Kahlert, M., Schmidt, M., Standke, C., & Stauche, H. (1995). Entscheidungsprozesse von Schülern in Lernsituationen [Decision processes of students in learning situations]. Abschlußbericht für die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft über das Projekt Hu348–8/1 und Scho484–1/1. Universität Tübingen und Universität Jena.Google Scholar
  28. Huber, G. L., Sorrentino, R. M., Davidson, M. A., Eppler, R., & Roth, J. W. H. (1992). Uncertainty orientation and cooperative learning: Individual differences within and across cultures. Learning and Individual Differences, 4, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Johnson, D. W. & Johnson, R. T. (1994b). Learning together. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods (pp. 51–65). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kagan, S. (1989/90). The structural approach to cooperative learning. Educational Leadership, 47, 12–15.Google Scholar
  31. Kempas, G. (1994). Lehren lernen. Auswirkungen interpersoneller Differenzen auf die Lernprozesse Lehrender [Learning how to teach. Effects of interpersonal differences on learning processes of teachers]. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Tübingen.Google Scholar
  32. King, A. (1989). Effects of self-questioning training on college students’ comprehension of lectures. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 14, 366–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. King, A. (1990). Enhancing peer interaction and learning in the classroom through reciprocal questioning. American Educational Research Journal, 27, 664–687.Google Scholar
  34. King, A. (1991). Improving lecture conprehension: Effects of a metacognitive stategy. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 5, 331–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. King, A., & Rosenshine, B. (1993). Effects of guided cooperative questioning on childrens knowledge construction. Journal of Experimental Education, 61, 127–148.Google Scholar
  36. McDonald, B. A., Larson, C. O., Dansereau, D. F., & Spurlin, J. E. (1985). Cooperative learning: Impact on acquisition of knowledge and skills. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 10, 369–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. O’Donnell, A. M. & Dansereau, D. F. (1992). Scripted cooperation in student dyads: A method for analyzing and enhancing academic learning and performance. In R. Hertz-Lazarowitz & N. Miller (Eds.), Interaction in cooperative groups: The theoretical anatomy of group learning (pp. 120–141). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. O’Donnell, A. M., Dansereau, D. F., Hythecker, V. I., Larson, C. O., Rocklin, T. R., Lambiotte, J. G., & Young, M. D. (1986). The effects of monitoring on cooperative learning. Journal of Experimental Education, 54, 169–173.Google Scholar
  39. Renkl, A., Nückles, M., Schwonke, R., Berthold, K., & Hauser, S. (2004). Lerntagebücher als Medium selbstgesteuerten Lernens: Theoretischer Hintergrund, empirische Befunde, praktische Entwicklungen [Learning diaries as a means of self-regulated learning: Theoretical background, empirical findings, practical developments]. In M. Wosnitza, A. Frey & R. S. Jäger (Eds.), Lernprozess, Lernumgebung und Lerndiagnostik. Wissenschaftliche Beiträge zum Lernen im 21. Jahrhundert [Learning process, learning environment, and diagnostics of learning. Scientific contributions to learning in the 21st century] (pp. 101–116). Landau: Verlag Empirische Pädagogik.Google Scholar
  40. Reusser, K. (2001). Unterricht zwischen Wissensvermittlung und Lernen lernen. Alte Sackgassen und neue Wege in der Bearbeitung eines pädagogischen Jahrhundert problems [Teaching between transmission of knowledge and learning to learn. Well-known dead ends and new ways to elaborate on an educational problem of the century]. In C. Finkbeiner & G. W. Schnaitmann (Eds.), Lehren und Lernen im Kontext empirischer Forschung und Fachdidaktik [Teaching and learning in the context of empirical research and special didactics] (pp. 106–140). Donauwörth: Auer Verlag.Google Scholar
  41. Rey, M. (1996). Between memory and history. A word about intercultural education. The European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 7, 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Roschelle, J. & Teasley, S. (1995). The construction of shared knowledge in collaborative problem solving. In O’Malley, C. E. (Ed.), Computer supported collaborative learning (pp. 69–97). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  43. Rotering-Steinberg, S. & von Kügelgen, T. (1986). Ergebnisse einer schriftlichen Befragung zum Gruppenunterricht [Results of a survey on group learning]. Erziehungswissenschaft - Erziehungspraxis, 2, 26–91.Google Scholar
  44. Rotering-Steinberg, S. (2000): Untersuchungen zum Sozialen Lernen in Schulen [Studies on social learning in schools]. In C. Dalbert & E. J. Brunner, (Eds.): Handlungsleitende Kognitionen in der Pädagogischen Praxis [Action-guiding cognitions in educational practice] (pp. 119–137). Baltmannsweiler: Schneider-Verlag Hohengehren.Google Scholar
  45. Schulgesetz für das Land Baden-Württemberg (Fassung vom 1.4.2004) [School law for the Land Baden-Württemberg]. Found on Sept. 08, 2005, under
  46. Sharan, Y. & Sharan S. (1992). Expanding cooperative learning through group investigation. New York: Teachers’ College Press, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  47. Slavin, R. E. (1986). Using student team learning (3rd edn.). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  48. Slavin, R.E. (1995a). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd edn.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  49. Slavin, R. E. (1995b). Research on cooperative learning and achievement: What we know, what we need to know? Baltimore: Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  50. Sorrentino, R. M., & Hewitt, E. C. (1984). The uncertainty-reducing properties of achievement tasks revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 884–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sorrentino, R. M., & Short, J.-A. C. (1986). Uncertainty orientation, motivation, and cognition. In R. M. Sorrentino, & E. C. Higgins (Eds.), The handbook of motivation and cognition: Foundations of social behavior (pp. 379–403). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  52. Uerdingen, M. (2002). Das Lerntagebuch. Ein Medium zur Begleitung und Unterstützung von Lernprozessen [The learning diary. A medium to accompany and support learning processes]. Grundschule, 3, 43–44.Google Scholar
  53. Wahl, D. (2004a). Das Lerntempoduett [The learning speed duet]. In A. A. Huber (Hrsg.), Kooperatives Lernen—kein Problem. Effektive Methoden der Partner- und Gruppenarbeit [Cooperative learning—no problem. Effective methods of working in pairs and groups] (S. 58–68). Leipzig: Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag.Google Scholar
  54. Wahl, D. (2004b). Das Partner-und Gruppeninterview [The partner- and group-interview]. In A. A. Huber (Hrsg.), Kooperatives Lernen–kein Problem. Effektive Methoden der Partner- und Gruppenarbeit [Cooperative learning—no problem. Effective methods of working in pairs and groups] (S. 69–75). Leipzig: Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag.Google Scholar
  55. Wahl, D. (2004c). Das Multiinterview als spezielle Variante des Partner-und Gruppen-interviews [The multi-interview as specific variation of the partner- and group-interview]. In A. A. Huber (Hrsg.), Kooperatives Lernen–kein Problem. Effektive Methoden der Partner-und Gruppenarbeit [Cooperative learning—no problem. Effective methods of working in pairs and groups] (S. 76–79). Leipzig: Ernst Klett Schulbuchverlag.Google Scholar
  56. Wahl, D. (2005). Lernumgebungen erfolgreich gestalten. Wirksame Wege vom trägen Wissen zum kompetenten Handeln in Erwachsenenbildung, Hochschuldidaktik und Unterricht [Designing learning environments successfully. Effective ways from inert knowledge to competent action in adult education, university didactics, and teaching]. Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt Verlag.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Günter L. Huber
    • 1
  • Anne A. Huber
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TübingenGermany
  2. 2.University of Education

Personalised recommendations