We investigated the effects of studying alone or in cooperative-learning groups on the performance of high and low achievers, using either learner- or program-controlled computer-based instruction. A total of 92 sixth-grade students were classified by Stanford Achievement Test scores and randomly assigned to group or individual treatments, stratified by achievement scores. Both high and low achievers in the cooperative treatment performed better and had more positive attitudes toward grouping than did students working individually, on both program-controlled and learner-controlled computer lessons. In addition, the cooperativelearning group exhibited significantly greater improvement from immediate to delayed posttest than did the individual-learning group. For low achievers, the greatest improvement was in the program-controlled condition, and for the high achievers, in the learner-controlled condition. The learner-controlled cooperativelearning group, compared to the learner-controlled individual-learning group, chose to check its concept learning more often and spent more time interacting with the computer-based tutorial. These results suggest that cooperative learning provides beneficial effects, and imply a need for software designers to adapt computer-based instruction for cooperative learning to the different learning styles of high- and low-achieving students.
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