The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Course Learning Environment Factors on Learning Outcomes and Overall Excellence in the Community College Classroom

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Title: The Impact of Cooperative Learning and Course Learning Environment Factors on Learning Outcomes and Overall Excellence in the Community College Classroom
Author: Gilliam, Janice Hoots
Advisors: Dr. Carol E. Kasworm, Chair
Dr. Virginia S. Lee, Member
Dr. Richard T. Liles, Member
Dr. John M. Pettitt, Member
Abstract: This study tested the theory of social interdependence by examining the impact of cooperative learning (CL) in comparison to traditional instructional methods (identified in this study as non-cooperative learning, NCL) on 12 course learning environment factors, learning outcomes, and overall excellence of instruction and courses. It also investigated the relationship of 12 course learning environment factors on learning outcomes and overall excellence of instruction and courses. This study was conducted at a small rural comprehensive community college and utilized over 3000 student ratings of instruction as the primary data. The IDEA Center student rating form (IDEA Center, 1998b) was used to measure these variables. The Questionnaire on the Use of Cooperative Learning (Cooperative Learning Center, 1991) was used to identify faculty who taught courses integrating cooperative learning (CL) and those not integrating cooperative learning (NCL). Quasi-experimental representative design guided the investigation of an experimental group (students in CL courses) and a comparison group (students in NCL courses) comparing course learning environment factors, learning outcomes, and overall excellence of instruction and courses. Student ratings of CL courses were significantly higher than NCL courses on learning outcomes (p-value of .007). Additionally, CL courses were significantly higher than NCL courses on 10 of 12 course learning environment factors and learning outcomes. Six of these ten variables were significant at the .01 level. The difference between student ratings of CL and NCL courses on overall excellence was marginal (p-value of .042). The most significant finding was the impact of course learning environment factors on learning outcomes and overall excellence of instruction and courses, each with p-values of .000. A large portion of the variance in student ratings of learning outcomes (82%) and overall excellence of instruction and courses (88%) could be attributed to the course learning environment factors. This study was one of the first to extensively examine the theory of social interdependence through the impact of cooperative learning on student ratings in a community college. It also investigated how course learning environment factors impacted student ratings of learning outcomes and the overall excellence of instruction and courses.
Date: 2002-01-29
Degree: EdD
Discipline: Adult and Community College Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3736


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