Universidade de Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 5136-5139
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Currently, the university tends to promote learning more learner-centered, creating a more interactive and motivational environment for students and teachers. At public Universities in Europe, this trend has been driven by so-called Bologna Declaration (EME, 1999) and the construction of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Its main goal is to create more comparable, compatible and coherent systems of higher education in Europe. Then, the fundamental challenge of adapting our courses to the European credit system (ECTS) is to design programs focused on student learning.
Cooperative learning methods or problem-solving based learning are genuine alternatives. In both cases, students are the main figures of the activity, organized in groups. Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a “home” group to specialize in one aspect of a learning unit. Students meet with members from other groups who are assigned the same aspect, and after mastering the material, return to the “home” group and teach the material to their group members. The purpose of Jigsaw is to develop teamwork and cooperative learning skills within all students.
Jigsaw also takes careful monitoring. Instructors will be moving among the various expert teams, monitoring their progress and checking to see that all students are involved. Since these expert teams do not have the defined roles identified in the structured learning teams, students do not function as efficiently in these new, temporary teams. Instructors must ensure that students remain focused on both the learning objectives and on the subsequent teaching task. Clearly, too, they must be certain that students are producing valid responses.
This study analyzes the use of an active learning technique, the Jigsaw, in classes in advanced engineering courses. The characteristics, theoretical results and final conclusions of this experience for the improvement of the learning process and its evaluation of a reduced group of students of a university course, are presented in this article. The experiment was done with two engineering courses at the University of Vigo (Spain). The aim was to awaken student interest and participation in the lessons.
Analysis of the observations suggested that the majority of students became actively involved with the activity. It can be concluded that the proposed activities improved the motivation of the students, stimulated consultation and study texts, and favored the application of the conceptual contents to real problems situations. Moreover, the research shows that Jigsaw cooperative groups, when students work together in heterogeneous groups, may improve race relations within a classroom. Working together within teams generates a more accepting and realistic view of other students than competitive and individualistic learning experiences.
active learning, jigsaw, engineering.