Adoption of a cooperative learning teaching strategy in a bachelor of science in nursing course
Master of Education
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The purpose of this case study was to examine the ways in which cooperative learning was used in a senior Bachelor of Science in Nursing course. The subject of the case study was the professor who taught the senior Bachelor of Science in Nursing course. The questions guiding the study were : 1. How did the professor develop cooperative learning strategies? 2. How did the professor implement cooperative learning strategies? 3 . How did the professor evaluate cooperative learning in the classroom? The Implementation Perspective described by Fullan (1983) refers to effecting change; this approach guided the development of research questions. The significance of the study lies in its ability to communicate to other nursing educators that new teaching methods are being utilised. In this regard, in the education of nurses, effective changes are practical and possible. In the review of literature the potential positive outcomes of introducing cooperative learning as a teaching strategy are examined. This is followed by an examination of the process of change, and the factors implicated in its success. The professor chosen as the subject of the case study was someone interested in implementing cooperative learning in nursing education. The students were randomly selected after signing a consent form, handing in questionnaires, and agreeing to an interview. The data were obtained through discussion observation, interview and questionnaires. Data collection strategies included the Group Evaluation Form (Reid, Forrestal and Cook, 1982) and the Individual Evaluation Form (Johnson and Johnson, 1984). The findings of this case study are supported in the literature and are as follows : 1. Personal beliefs of the professor regarding teaching, learning, and cooperative learning play a dominant role in the development, implementation, and evaluation of cooperative learning strategies. 2. In an attempt to match personal beliefs and student needs with curriculum, the professor utilised the process of Mutual Adaptation (Fullan and Pomfret, 1977) in the development, implementation, and evaluation phases of the cooperative learning teaching strategy. 3. A network of support including the school, faculty, a facilitator, collaborators, and trainers is required throughout the development, implementation, and evaluation of cooperative learning strategies. 4. Effective evaluation is not an end-point, but an ongoing process throughout the development, irnplementation, and evaluation phases of the change process. 5. Effective development, implementation, and evaluation of a new teaching strategy cannot occur over a six week period, but must be allowed to evolve over an extended period of time. 6. The classroom climate and teaching style of the professor reflect his/her individual beliefs and personality.