22 SES 10 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of applying cooperative learning in statistics courses for college students of different personality traits. The abilities to read and analyze quantitative data had been one of the essential abilities that most employers expected for their employees (Philip and Schult, 1994). However, many studies showed that students displayed negative affects toward statistics (Onwuegbuzie, 2000; Onwuegbuzie & Wilson, 2003; Swanson, Meinert, & Swanson, 1994). Cooperative learning has been shown to be effective in college instruction and has been used widely in the United States of America (Johnson, Johnson, Smith, 2007; Smith, 2010), but the same instructional design could have different effects on students of different personality traits. In this study, we would like to explore how cooperative learning could have effects on students of different personality traits in learning statistics.
According to Johnson and Johnson (1989, 1999), there are five basic elements for successful cooperative learning, namely positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, social skills and group processing. After synthesizing various related studies, Slavin (1987, 1988, 1999) contended that there were two essential conditions for successful cooperative learning, which were group goal and individual accountability. Based on these notions, a successful model of cooperative learning is not just grouping the students; in addition, we have to let the students take the responsibilities for their own learning and achieving group goals.
The have been many models of cooperative learning proposed by researchers and educators worldwide. In this study, the researchers would like to develop a model that is easily to administrate for statistics instructors without any educational pre-knowledge. Among various models of cooperative learning, Student Team Learning (STL) is most suitable for those courses with precise learning goals, such as mathematics (Slavin, 1991). In STL model, the instructors set the team goals and require all team members to study the learning materials as a team to achieve the goal. There were three essential components for STL, group reward, individual accountability, and equal opportunity for success. In STL model, the instructors need only to divide students into heterogeneous groups based on the previous performances and set the group goals for them. As a result, STL could be a good model for cooperative learning in statistics courses.
Although many studies have proved the effects of cooperative learning in various disciplines at different educational levels, some researchers found that curriculum could have different effects on students of different personality traits (DaRos-Voseles, Collins, Onwuegbuzie, & Jiao, 2008; Hancock, 2004; Nelson, Johnson, & Marchand-Martella, 1996; Onwuegbuzie & Collins, 2002). In addition to the general effects of cooperative learning, in this study, the researchers would like to explore how the effects of cooperative learning interact with different dimensions of personality traits.
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