Effect of Cooperative and Individual Learning Activities on Students’ Understanding of Diffusion and Osmosis

Ayhan Cinici, Mustafa Sozbilir* and Yavuz Demir***
*Asist. Prof. Dr. Adıyaman, University Education Faculty, TURKEY
**Assoc. Prof. Dr. Atatürk, University K. K. Education Faculty, TURKEY
***Prof. Dr. Atatürk, University K. K. Education Faculty, TURKEY

Problem Statement: Students find diffusion and osmosis difficult to understand.
Purpose of Study: This research has two aims. The first aim is to determine the effects of learning activities in 9th-grade students’ understanding of diffusion and osmosis using the conceptual change approach in individual and cooperative learning environment, and compare these two conceptual change based approaches with each other and traditional teaching. The second aim is to investigate the effect of these three approaches on students’ attitudes towards biology.
Methods: This is a quasi-experimental study and designed as a Non-Equivalent Groups pre-test, post-test, control, and comparison group model. The subjects were ninety 9th graders from Anatolian high school in Erzurum. For this research, a control (C) and two experimental groups (E1 and E2) were selected. The control group was taught through traditional teaching based on whole-class lecturing. The E1 group was taught using cooperative learning supported by conceptual change, while the E2 group was taught through individual learning supported by conceptual change over four weeks. The data was collected through the Diffusion and Osmosis Concept Test (DOCT), Biology Attitude Scale (BAS), Science Process Skill Test (SPST) and Cooperative Learning Self Report Survey (CLSRS). The data were analyzed by t-test and ANOVA, and presented together with descriptive statistics.
Findings and Results: According to the results, there were significant improvements in academic achievement both in experimental and control groups. The E1 group resulted in higher improvement in academic achievement compared to the E2 and C groups. Students’ attitudes towards biology were developed in a positive direction in the experimental groups, whereas in the control group, no significant change was noticed.
Conclusions and Recommendations: The results suggest that cooperative Predict-Observe-Explain (POE) tasks provided a more complete framework for understanding than POE tasks, which were administered in individual groups. The results regarding improving students’ attitudes toward biology suggest that cooperative learning activities are much better than individual learning activities, and students’ perceptions of personal and academic peer support and team cohesiveness in their particular groups correlated with academic achievement.
Keywords: Biology teaching, osmosis and diffusion, cooperative learning, POE tasks, misconceptions.