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Applications of Game Theory to Encourage Collaborative Learning in Classrooms


Competition is an intrinsic part of most cultures, which is further escalated through the prevailing system and principles of education. Unfortunately too much emphasis is placed on competition, from an elementary grade to college, students are programmed to be competitive without nurturing any cooperative skills. Apart from educators even most parents continue to encourage competition, totally neglecting the power of cooperation and without realizing that unregulated fierce competition results in overall decreases in human achievement and prosperity.  The evaluation and assessment methods of education restrict an individual’s growth to achieving higher grades and fulfilling their personal academic targets, this hinders an overall holistic development of the students. The focus should rather be on the learning goals instead on the competition. The early foundation principle of self-interest and competiveness governs an individual’s attitude and later creates a vicious cycle of non-cooperative behavioral norm in the entire social sphere. Thus, the evolution of humanity and compassion can only be targeted at the early stages of development where individuals need to value the beauty of mutual cooperation.

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To evaluate the effectiveness of teaching learning process, the main emphasis has been on the modes-methods of teaching and teacher-student interaction, the inter-group interaction among students has been neglected in the research. There exists many psychological evidences on peer-group influence on child development, this aspect of student-student interaction needs to be emphasized for effective designing of interaction patterns that improves students learning graph and emotional wellbeing.  The objective of the paper is to evaluate the impact of competition in education,  the benefits and drawbacks of forcing students to compete themselves during their learning process, and investigate a number of strategies required to stimulate a collaborative learning environment among students to improve their overall academic performance. Using game theoretical applications through specially crafted experiments and simulation exercises, the empirical results of students will be presented to support the argument of the greater need of collaboration among peers and create a healthy balance between cooperation and competition. The purpose of this article is to analyze the effects of cooperative learning in a classroom to promote higher student achievement and improve quality of education, and raise sesitivity and social awareness among students.


We need to architect student’s choices and reform the educational system that values the importance of collaborative learning. The teachers also play an important role in facilitating a healthy network of student-student interaction, hence they need to collectively create a more amiable and enriching learning environment that encourages students to work together to accomplish shared goals than personal goals. If we are able to create a more cooperative environment in our schools, we assure a greater likelihood of a more cooperative future. This importance of collaboration and cooperation in education needs to be validated through social interaction games that promote behavioral change.


Brief Profile:

I am Ms. Debashree Das, currently pursuing Ph.D. program UGC sponsored Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) in Economics from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi(India); prior to which I completed my Masters in Financial Economics from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune(India). Previously, I was engaged with NCERT (National Council of Education Research and Training) as a Research Fellow for the project on Qualitative Assessment of Commerce Education at the Senior Secondary Stage in North-Eastern region India. This project exposed me to the beauty of qualitative research by utilizing rich questionnaire design and focus group discussions as an effective method of extracting useful information and data to analyze behavioural norms and human decision-making process. For my Ph.D. research, I aim to explore the field of experimental and behavioral economics, a vastly unexplored area among researchers in India. My motivation is to learn and assess human behavior through simulated games and randomized evaluations that help in formulating effective policy decisions.


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