Exploring a cooperative learning approach to improve self-directed learning in higher education
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This investigation explores the influence of incorporating five elements (positive interdependence, individual accountability, promotive face-to-face interaction, appropriate social skills, group processing) regarded as essential for effective cooperative learning on students' self-reported levels of selfdirected learning, and their views on the influence of cooperative learning on their self-directedness in learning. The research involved a class of ten firstyear Information Technology education students and the incorporation of the five elements in their cooperative learning activities in a semester module. Quantitative data regarding the students' levels of self-directed learning were collected in pre- and post-tests by means of a questionnaire. Qualitative data regarding the students' views on the influence of cooperative learning on their self-directedness in learning were in turn collected by means of a post-test open-ended question. The results show that structuring of group work activities to include the five elements reportedly had an influence in the self-directed learning area of evaluation, which is needed to monitor own learning, and interpersonal skills, which are prerequisites for becoming self-directed learners. Other areas that appeared to have been influenced are the students' awareness of factors contributing to becoming self-directed learners, and the use of appropriate learning strategies to become self-directed in learning
- Faculty of Education 
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