Effects of cooperative learning on achievement and attitudes toward teamwork in medical technology students

Linda Jean Laatsch-Lybeck, Marquette University


The use of cooperative learning in medical technology education is increasing as faculty search for ways to better prepare graduates for a team-based health care environment. Cooperative learning has been credited with enhancing achievement and teamwork attitudes, however, its effects in medical technology education are unproven. This study empirically compared the effects of cooperative and individual learning on the achievement and teamwork attitudes of medical technology students. Eight faculty members from undergraduate medical technology programs participated in this study. Instructors used cooperative learning during one semester and individual learning during a different semester of the same course. A total of 216 students participated in the study; 107 used the individual learning method and 109 used the cooperative learning method. Student similarity in background subject knowledge was evaluated with a researcher-designed pretest. The same instrument was used at the end of the semester as a posttest to measure achievement. Student attitudes toward teamwork and the course itself were evaluated using a questionnaire administered at the end of the semester. No statistically significant difference (α = 0.05) was found between the two learning methods for achievement at six of the eight participating institutions. At the two institutions where Hematology was taught, there was a significantly higher mean (p ≤ 0.01) for the cooperative learning students, but only when results of the two institutions were combined. When analyzing student attitudes toward teamwork, no significant difference existed between cooperative learning and individual learning student means. In an analysis of student attitude toward the course itself, some individual institutions showed a difference between the two learning methods. However, none of the differences were statistically significant when students from all institutions were analyzed together. No differences were seen in either achievement or in attitudes with either of the two learning methods when students were grouped on the basis of ethnicity or gender. This multi-institutional study of medical technology students suggests that cooperative learning and individual learning produce similar achievement and attitudinal results.

Recommended Citation

Laatsch-Lybeck, Linda Jean, "Effects of cooperative learning on achievement and attitudes toward teamwork in medical technology students" (2000). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9991610.