University of Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 2905-2908
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Cooperative learning is becoming an increasingly popular teaching strategy. The students of different levels of ability are distributed in small teams. Cooperative learning requires students to work together on a common task, sharing information and supporting each other [1]. The students must use a variety of tools to improve their understanding of a topic purposed by the teacher. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. Students work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it. Johnson et al [2] summarized the essential elements for successful cooperative learning groups as:

- The success of individuals is linked to the success of the group.
- Promotion of the interaction among the students.
- Individual and group accountability for achieving the goals reached.
- Development of teamwork skills.
- Members should learn to evaluate the group productivity and the consequences of its actions.

This methodology is a successful teaching strategy and formative activity to adapt the student to the real situation in its professional carrier. However, translating the promise of cooperative learning to practice is more complicated than meets the eye, and does not always guarantee that its desired goals are achieved. It is necessary an adequate plan in which the students know which is their role into the team and the activities must be designed to promote cooperation and mutual assistance among learners and often carry over to relationships outside the University.
There are several techniques through which we designed the tasks to be performed, and various ways of evaluating results. In the present study, several examples of the cooperative learning activities developed are presented. The main techniques used in our experience were puzzle and technical research group. We can see how students agree with the virtues of cooperative learning to achieve the development of socio-professional skills in the subject proposals, recognizing that achieving either of them is not as effectively by a traditional methodology. The results support the contention that well designed cooperative learning activities can have significant positive effects on learning. About 96% of students expressed agree that through cooperative learning achieved greater development of communication skills: understand, explain, and answer questions, discuss the terminology of the subject, etc.

[1] A. Fernández López, M. J. Rodríguez Fórtiz, M. Bermúdez Edo, and M. Noguera García. Improving the cooperative learning of people with special needs: A Sc@ut platform extension. Research, Reflections and Innovations in Integrating ICT in Education. (2009), Vol. 2: 1161- 1166.
[2] D. W. Johnson, and R.T. Johnson and M.B. Stanne. Cooperative learning methods: a meta-analysis. (2000),
[3] Y. Sharan. Cooperative learning for academic and social gains: Valued pedagogy, problematic practice European Journal of Education. (2010), 45 (2): 300-313.