The third IPS’ seminar was held on Friday 11, 2013 on the topic of Cooperative Learning. The seminar was prepared and presented by Ato Taddesse Kahsay, who is an IPS staff member and also the coordinator of quality audit and enhancement unit at the Institutional Development and Quality Enhancement Directorate of the Mekelle University. As cooperative Learning is coming to the center of discussion and practices, the presentation was refreshing and timely.
The presenter has begun by demonstrating the overall paradigm shift in teaching of which the country in general, the Mekelle University in particular is striving for. Amongst others, he has highlighted the shift from passive to active learning styles of which cooperative learning with all its merits is at the corner of the shift.
In pursuance of its foundations, the social constructivist and cognitive constructivism were also discussed. But as cooperative learning tends to advocate individual students to work together for their mutual benefits such as for example in the form of groups, the presenter has highlighted that it is much more grounded by the social constructivist approach than the cognitive constructivism approach.
Furthermore, as there are confusions with regard to practices of the cooperative learning, there presenter has also forwarded some tips of exercising cooperative learning. Amongst others diversifying students’ composition in the group; assignment of specific and well structured roles and monitoring the processes of learning could help to make cooperative learning effective and efficient. In addition, to further improve the benefits of cooperative learning, when appropriate, self selection, random assignment and performance based selection and other means of students’ grouping could be used.
Finally, the participants have enlivened the presentation taking their own experiences in the cooperative learning. However, the participants have argued that as the practices of cooperative learning in the higher education institutions is less investigated, a further research work in the area is important.