Interski 2023: Cooperative Learning with Denmark

Held every four years, Interski brings instructors together from around the world. The event offers a valuable educational opportunity for snowsports educators to share their innovations and core beliefs. It gives PSIA-AASI, through its national team, a chance to compare the American Teaching System with the educational approaches of other countries and bring home ideas that help PSIA-AASI members improve and evolve.

Here, former PSIA Alpine Team member Jennifer Weier, who attended Interski 2023 as a guide for PSIA-AASI members, shares her takeaways from Denmark’s alpine lecture on “Cooperative Learning.”

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Cooperative learning is student-centered and has a clear structure with the teacher leading the process. There is a lot of student time on tasks/activities, including time for reflection.
  2. Elements that the Danes include in cooperative learning environments: equal participation, positive interdependence, individual responsibility, and simultaneous interaction. Rather than students called on one at a time, there may be multiple people interacting in small groups.
  3. While using different models (cooperative learning, experiential learning, etc.), the approach refers back to the content, questions, and tasks used in learning.

Cooperative learning is a guided, interactive teaching method that provides ample opportunity for learners to interact with each other and the content. This includes the opportunity to teach each other, explore activities together, and even learn by evaluating and sharing feedback with each other.

In the Danish Level 2 assessment, the candidates evaluate and share feedback with each other. The examiners have a one-on-one discussion with each candidate, in which the candidate shares feedback from their peers. This approach expands the candidate’s reflection and provides learning/engagement throughout the assessment.

I think we often see attempts to use guided discovery in which the goal of learning is loosely defined, or in which the students are given free rein to determine how they want to learn. Cooperative learning emphasizes the need for well-designed activities and objectives that are clear to the students. Everyone is aware of the learning mission and follows the same agenda to get there. It was highlighted that all the learners must participate, and the teacher needs to create and guide the activity to ensure this.