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Herrmann (2013) with an increasing awareness that many undergraduates are passive during teaching sessions, calls for instructional methods that allow students to become actively engaged have increased. Co-operative learning has long been popular at the primary and secondary level and, within recent years, higher education. However, empirical evidence of the impact of co-operative learning at the university level is still limited.
This study reports the result of a quasi-experimental real-life intervention with co-operative learning in an undergraduate course. In-class participation and student approaches to learning were measured before and after the intervention to assess the impact on 140 students’ engagement levels. In addition, open-ended comments were analyzed, revealing what faculty adopting co-operative learning principles in higher education should be especially aware of.
Hossain and Tarmizi (2013) identify the effects of co-operative learning on students’ mathematics achievement and attitudes towards mathematics in selected secondary schools in Bangladesh. A total of 80 students (40 from Boys’ school and the other 40 from Girls’ school) of grade nine participated in this study where quasi-experimental design was administered. Data were analyzed using independent-sample test.
The results showed that co-operative learning had significant effects on mathematics achievement and attitudes towards mathematics. It was found that students’ performance in mathematics and attitudes towards mathematics were affected by exposure to the co-operative learning. The findings of this study have shown a great improvement in mathematics achievement and attitudes towards mathematics. Therefore, co-operative learning can be successfully used to promote student’ performance in mathematics in secondary schools in Bangladesh.
Howell (2013) studied introducing co-operative learning into a dynamics lecture class. Numerous references have suggested that co-operative learning can significantly increase student understanding. Yet, structuring a lecture class to be given over totally to co-operative learning groups is overwhelming to most instructors and many remain unconvinced of its value. In this department, a limited experiment has served to introduce co-operative learning to the students as well as the instructor. Through a series of co-operative problem-solving exercises, lecture classes become more active learning environments.
Hsiung (2013) studied the effectiveness of co-operative learning. This study compares the learning effectiveness of co-operative and individualistic learning. The proposed approach carefully monitors the learning method and the time on task both in regular day-time teaching classes and out-of-class studies.
A series of experiments was performed in which 42 mechanical engineering students were randomly assigned to individualistic or co-operative learning conditions, respectively, and were then formed into heterogeneous groups comprising three team members. The experiments were conducted over an 18-week semester. In conducting the experiments, the students attended both regular classes and out-of-hours homework sessions.
The experimental results showed that given a sufficient period of time for the co-operative learning teams to mature, the students in the co-operative learning condition performed substantially better in both the homework and unit tests than those in the individualistic learning condition. Since the time on task was carefully monitored, the higher academic performance of the students in the co-operative learning condition suggests that co-operative learning is more effective than individualistic learning.
Jones (2013) conducted a case study demonstrating the impact the co-operative movement has had on one co-operative school in south-west England. Lipson co-operative academy in Plymouth was one of the first schools to convert to become a co-operative school in 2009. The article has been co-written by members of the academy and focuses on three transformational aspects of co-operative education: co-operative learning; co-operative professional development; and the young co-operative movement. It is set within a frame of democratic schooling recently described by Fielding and Moss and Woods, but draws upon Deming, Cole and Dewey in its original reasoning. In it we establish how it is possible to swim against the tide of neoliberal individualism and competition to grow a successful school built on democratic principles and co-operation. By persevering on this journey, we are committed to our mission of developing the conscience of the next generation.
Zakaria, Solfitri, Daud, & Abidin, (2013) conducted a study to determine the effects of co-operative learning on students’ mathematics achievement in secondary school students in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. In addition, this study also determined students’ perception concerning co-operative learning. The samples of this study consisted of 61 students. In order to control the differences of dependent variables, a pre-test was given before treatment. After treatment, a post-test was administered to both groups.
Two types of instruments were used to collect the data: the mathematics achievement test and open-ended questions on co-operative learning. The pre-test and the post-test data were analyzed using t-test. Content analysis was used for the open-ended questions on co-operative learning. The results showed that there was a significant difference of mean in students’ mathematics achievement between the co-operative group and the traditional group. Content analysis data revealed that students in the co-operative group were able to increase their understanding and to develop their self-confidence.
Lau , Kwong , Chong and Wong (2014) conducted a study to apply the inventory – comprehensive assessment of team member effectiveness (CATME) to examine the development of teamwork skills among freshmen from the Chinese mainland through a co-operative learning activity (group project) in the context of Hong Kong.
Design/methodology/approach–The questionnaire survey was conducted twice, at the beginning (pre) and end (post) of the group project; qualitative interviews were undertaken after their project completion.
Findings – It was found that, except for category 5 (having relevant knowledge, skills and abilities), the post mean scores in all items of other four categories declined, because students’ Chinese mainland backgrounds led to their different understanding toward teamwork, as unveiled by the qualitative interviews. However, their project completion enabled them to acquire the relevant competencies, causing the rise in the mean scores of categories.
Jiang (2015) investigated the effect of co-operative learning on writing anxiety alleviation through a pre-test/post-test assessment. 120 EFL learners from a Chinese polytechnic institute were assigned into two groups: one experimental (co-operative writing) and the other comparison (solitary writing). Results revealed that co-operative learning facilitated mutual assistance among group members, received wide welcome from learners at different levels, reduced their foreign language writing anxiety and increased their writing competence greatly. Interviews were also carried out to probe further how co-operative learning helped to improve learners’ psychological health and increase their participation in the writing class.
The results are discussed in light of social interdependence Theory, relative research on writing anxiety and co-operative learning together with certain local elements. Suggestions are made on how to strengthen group co-operation and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of co-operative learning.
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