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C. Achurra, L. Villardón

University of Deusto (SPAIN)
One of the challenges faced by the education system in the 21st century is given by the fact that the university must endeavour to meet the needs demanded by society. Therefore, it is for the university system to help students to develop the specific competences of each degree and to promote a set of generic competences that must be acquired by any university student, and that are essential for their careers and for their lives as responsible citizens.

University lecturers taking part in a competence-based teaching process will have to use a wide range of practice-based teaching focused on active learning. This will enable students to take responsibility for directing and developing their academic work and be prepared to plan and manage their own learning.

One of the teaching methods that promotes competence development is Cooperative Learning. Cooperative learning is a methodology that combines all the features of a student-centred teaching approach, while also ensuring student participation at the cognitive, physical, emotional and psychological levels to build their own knowledge.

Cooperative Learning was first used as a teaching method in the 60s, and nowadays it is still a widely used learning technique in educational institutions worldwide (Johnson, Johnson and Smith, 2007).

As educators and researchers, we often assume that if students are working together, they are cooperating. However, the conditions required for effective cooperative learning are not actually being met, and therefore, the benefits pointed out by research on this methodology are not being achieved.

This paper examines the results of a study in which students from the University of Deusto (Spain) and the Catholic University of Temuco (Chile) took part.

Our objective is to prove that students show better development of certain skills, competences and attitudes when lectures fulfil the basic conditions required for cooperative learning. The aforementioned aspects are directly related to personal and academic development.