COLLABORATIVE LEARNING APPLIED TO THE CHEMISTRY SUBJECT IN SEVERAL ENGINEERING DEGREES

Collaborative learning (CL) is an innovative concept in teaching and learning methodology. It consists on the interaction between several students which cooperates together to learn a specific subject. This activity is supported by the teacher, who leads and manages the whole process. During the activity, the students are more implicated in their own learning process and participate in the learning of their partners, whereas the role of the teacher is reduced to a supervisor. Thus, the aims of this collaborative mechanism are to improve student’s teaching abilities, develop teamwork habits and promote solidarity between partners. This new learning system can be considered as an improvement of the traditional learning method, which was more competitive, individualist, and focussed in the teacher.

This work describes the application of CL to teach the Chemistry subject in several Engineering degrees (Chemical, Mechanical, Agricultural, Electrical and Industrial) taught in the first course at the University Jaume I. The CL has been performed by the students working in pairs. Firstly, one student takes the role of the teacher and explains how to resolve a problem to its partner, and the next week the other student will do the same for its partner. The aim is that the "teacher student" explanation emphasizes the truly important steps to be taken into account to solve the problems, because students have normally better idea about the difficult points to understand by another student than the teacher. Moreover, the "teacher student" is forced to strongly understand the problems to teach them. The whole CL process was supervised by the corresponding teachers, which answer any additional doubts of the students and correct the mistakes in their explanations.