Group strength: being a member of the Australian Voc. Ed. & Training System


To have a collaborative, cooperative, group-owned, membership you must have at least three of the five essential components of cooperation:

  1. Positive interdependence
  2. Individual accountability/personal responsibility
  3. Face-to-face civil interaction
  4. Interpersonal and group skills and
  5. Group processing

1. Positive interdependence

Positive interdependence must establish that everyone in the group knows they sink or swim together.

This interdependence is established by having an understanding of a clear task and a group goal.

2. Individual accountability/personal responsibility

Individual/organisation accountability is the second important component in cooperative groups.

This is also established when the performance of an individual/organisation is assessed and the results are given back to the group and the individual/organisation.

Then an individual/organisation needs to ascertain who in the group needs more assistance, support, or encouragement.

The individual/organisation is strong, but the group is stronger than the individual/organisation.

3. Face-to-face promotive interaction

Civil interaction, preferably face-to-face is used to promote each other’s success.

This could be done by sharing resources and helping, supporting, encouraging, and praising each other’s efforts.

The sharing of resources also makes the group interdependent.

4. Interpersonal and group skills

We could have a “slacker” in the group.

We need to discuss expectations of each other early in group meetings.

We must learn both task work and teamwork when working within cooperative groups.

We may have to develop civil social skills. Maybe the use of trust building activities and external group monitoring could help to establish a list of social skills we feel are necessary.

As a member of a group, we have and may be assigned various roles:   If we fail to do our role, our group will not function properly. Both we and the group lose.

Along with this, group members must know how to share effective leadership, make decisions, build trust, communicate, manage conflict, and be motivated to do so.

5. Group processing

The group needs to know how they are doing.

This process could be within the group and by external group monitoring.

We need to establish how well we are achieving our goals and maintaining an effective working relationship with the group.

Actually, these are the five essential components of Cooperative learning.

This is not a process to be done in a day.  According to the Johnsons and Holubec (1994), the cooperative process takes about three years to fully implement.

How does the Privatised, Public, Private, For-Profit, Not-for-Profit, Australian Voc. Ed. Training System stack up?

1. Separate professional associations

2. Rare communication between public and private, not-for-profit and for-profit

3. Different underlying driver philosophies – e.g, Community-based/Cooperative – led versus Corporate-based/industry – led.

4. Not-for-profit versus for-profit from public funds (taxes)

5. Minimised education of trainers





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