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ANALYSIS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING EXPERIENCE IN THE SUBJECT “PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS”

A. Ares, R. Bouza, B. Montero, M. Rico

University of A Coruña (SPAIN)
In this work, the application of a cooperative learning experience in the matter of “Principles of Physics” of the Engineering Degree in Industrial Design and Product Development, during 2009-10 courses, is presented. This methodology was applied to the Dynamics thematic block. Besides, the results of the evaluation were shown and these were compared with those obtained previously by the traditional teaching method, in the evaluation of the same thematic block of Physics.

The main difficulty that appears, when the programme of “Principles of Physics” is started, at the Engineering Degree in Industrial Design and Product Development, is that, a significant percentage of students, who are matriculated in first grade, are students that coming from the Bachelor of Arts. By this reason these students were not trained in physics or mathematics during the two courses of Bachelor. Because this, a major difficulty in the overall process of classroom learning is observed. This problem was very difficult to correct in the traditional model, because there was less interaction between teacher and student and between the students, which produced delay in learning in that section of students due to the impossibility to achieve the minimum necessary competencies at the same time that the other students.

With the introduction of the new grade in the European Higher Education Area, and the existence of interactive classes, where the number of students is smaller, a series of cooperative learning activities have been developed. These activities are performed by students in small groups, and allow that, students with deficiencies in their level of physics and mathematics, achieving the necessary powers supported not only by the teacher but also by the rest of their teammates. In addition, students can assess themselves during the development of these activities and they are constantly aware of their needs and lacks within the workgroup. At the same time, the teacher has the opportunity to observe the evolution of the students and guide them in a more personalized learning of Dynamics, so that the process of continuous assessment is favoured.