A learning community stems from both student collaboration and student cooperation. Student collaboration focuses more on the we, and centers around having common goals and best practices. Collaboration requires participants reaching a consensus in how they work together and to what end. The downside to student collaboration is possible coercion. In contrast, student cooperation focuses more on the I, and is the assigning of individual responsibility around a particular task based on one’s individual interests, strengthens, and background; then managing those individual interests, strengths, and backgrounds as a collective whole. When students cooperate, there may be a common goal that brings people together, but individual goals take precedent. A possible downside might include individuals putting self-interests over helping others. If the goal is helping learners become more interdependent, then student cooperation has certain advantages over student collaboration. Regardless, both have advantages and potential drawbacks, and both can be incorporated into the overall educative experience so that students learn to work in different ways.
From a pedagogical standpoint, educators need empathy, perspective, and metacognitive strategies to rallying together enough educational stakeholders to promote an open and engaging learning community.