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Purpose: A systematic review of the research conducted on Cooperative Learning in Physical Education in the last 5 years (2014–2019). Method: Seven databases were used to select those articles that included information on the implementation of Cooperative Learning in the different educational stages. After the exclusion criteria, 15 articles were fully assessed based on eight criteria: (1) year and author; (2) country; (3) number of participants, educational level, and duration of implementation; (4) type of research; (5) curricular content; (6) purpose of the research; (7) most relevant results; and (8) learning environment. Results: Results showed how research focused more on secondary education, mainly in short-term interventions. Most studies used qualitative and/or mixed methods, and dealt evenly with sports, motor skills, and physical abilities, leaving body expression underrepresented. Regarding the goals of the studies, social learning was the most frequently assessed, focusing on motivation, group climate, and teacher–student interaction. Criticisms regarding the shortness of the experiences and their fragmentation can still be considered valid. Conclusion: This review can help researchers and practitioners conduct Cooperative Learning intervention programs in primary and secondary Physical Education. They must be rigorous when they claim that they implement this pedagogical model in schools.
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Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
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Research on Cooperative Learning in Physical
Education: Systematic Review of the Last Five
Years
Daniel Bores-García , David Hortigüela-Alcalá , Francisco Javier Fernandez-
Rio , Gustavo González-Calvo & Raúl Barba-Martín
To cite this article: Daniel Bores-García , David Hortigüela-Alcalá , Francisco Javier Fernandez-
Rio , Gustavo González-Calvo & Raúl Barba-Martín (2021) Research on Cooperative Learning in
Physical Education: Systematic Review of the Last Five Years, Research Quarterly for Exercise
and Sport, 92:1, 146-155, DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2020.1719276
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2020.1719276
Published online: 05 Feb 2020.
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Research on Cooperative Learning in Physical Education: Systematic Review of
the Last Five Years
Daniel Bores-García
a
, David Hortigüela-Alcalá
b
, Francisco Javier Fernandez-Rio
c
, Gustavo González-Calvo
d
,
and Raúl Barba-Martín
d
a
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos;
b
Universidad de Burgos;
c
Universidad de Oviedo;
d
Universidad de Valladolid
ABSTRACT
Purpose: A systematic review of the research conducted on Cooperative Learning in Physical
Education in the last 5 years (20142019). Method: Seven databases were used to select those
articles that included information on the implementation of Cooperative Learning in the different
educational stages. After the exclusion criteria, 15 articles were fully assessed based on eight
criteria: (1) year and author; (2) country; (3) number of participants, educational level, and duration
of implementation; (4) type of research; (5) curricular content; (6) purpose of the research; (7) most
relevant results; and (8) learning environment. Results: Results showed how research focused
more on secondary education, mainly in short-term interventions. Most studies used qualitative
and/or mixed methods, and dealt evenly with sports, motor skills, and physical abilities, leaving
body expression underrepresented. Regarding the goals of the studies, social learning was the
most frequently assessed, focusing on motivation, group climate, and teacherstudent interaction.
Criticisms regarding the shortness of the experiences and their fragmentation can still be con-
sidered valid. Conclusion: This review can help researchers and practitioners conduct Cooperative
Learning intervention programs in primary and secondary Physical Education. They must be
rigorous when they claim that they implement this pedagogical model in schools.
ARTICLE HISTORY
Received 22 July 2019
Accepted 17 January 2020
KEYWORDS
Cooperative learning;
pedagogical models;
systematic review;
educational research
There is an ongoing debate about what is the most effective
way to improve the teaching-learning process that takes
place in Physical Education (PE). More than half a century
has passed since the emergence of the Teaching Styles
(Mosston, 1966), and still many teachers view them as
their main instructional approach (Chatoupis, 2018). Since
the 1970s, different pedagogical frameworks have emerged:
Teaching Models (Joyce & Weil, 1972), Curricular Models
(Jewett & Bain, 1985), Instruction Models (Metzler, 2000),
and Pedagogical Models (Haerens, Kirk, Cardon, & De
Bourdeaudhuij, 2011;Kirk,2013). In Models-Based
Teaching, the role of the teacher and the content is reduced,
granting it to the studentsneeds(Casey,2016),thecoreof
the approach. This focus on the students and their singula-
rities, together with the specific attention to the educational
context where the practice develops, are the most signifi-
cant contributions of Pedagogical Models (Aggerholm,
Standal, Barker, & Larsson, 2018).
During the last few years, some models have expanded
more than others, due to their extensive implementation in
different educational settings and the research conducted to
assess their effects (Barker, Aggerholm, Standal, & Larsson,
2018). Whereas models such as Teaching Games for
Understanding or Sport Education have been the matter of
a great deal of scientific research in a variety of contents and
contexts, others such as Cooperative Learning have appeared
somewhat later in the academic panorama of Physical
Education, arriving earlier in other curricular areas such as
Science, Math, or English (Johnson & Johnson, 2009).
Reviews on Cooperative Learning at the beginning of the
twenty-first century grouped this model with Peer-Assisted
Learning (Ward & Lee, 2005), which, focusing specifically on
peer feedback, did not allow the observation of specific
effects of Cooperative Learning implementation. Since then
and to date, several published documents have focused on its
implementation in Physical Education, expanding the fields
of research to social, cognitive, physical, and affective aspects
(Kirk, 2012).
Cooperative learning in physical education: lights
and shadows
Schools have traditionally focused on the development
of instrumental content through individual and com-
petitive tasks (Kagan & Kagan, 2009). In Physical
Education, there has been an emphasis on sports,
tests, and performance, leaving aside other contents
and not questioning which type of learning was being
CONTACT Daniel Bores-García daniel.bores@urjc.es Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT
2021, VOL. 92, NO. 1, 146155
https://doi.org/10.1080/02701367.2020.1719276
© 2020 SHAPE America
generated in the students (Fyall & Metzler, 2019). Faced
with this issue, more open and participative models,
which consider dialogue, consensus, and reflection
essential for any motor and/or psychological develop-
ment in children, had slowly become more widespread,
like Cooperative Learning (Jung & Choi, 2016). It was
during the 1970s when the idea of cooperative work
began to develop as a method of promoting social and
relational skills within the classroom. Scientific research
indicated that studentsimprovements in learning, aca-
demic, social, and psychological have been observed
(Kyndt et al., 2013). Metzler (2011) indicated that the
interpersonal relationships created by the Cooperative
Learning framework between the students helped
increase their physical, academic, social, and affective
skills. The individual loses strength in the face of the
collective, seeking a common result of greater quality
and higher satisfaction (Orlick, 1982).
Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (2013) pointed out
five fundamental elements in this pedagogical model:
positive interdependence, promotive interaction, indi-
vidual responsibility, group processing, and interperso-
nal skills. Unfortunately, many interventions do not
follow all of them and they only focus on the affective
domain (Walker & Johnson, 2018). Only if a model is
correctly implemented, its effects can be assessed, com-
pared, and replicated (Casey, Goodyear, & Dyson,
2015). Researchers believe that the true power of
Cooperative Learning lies in its hybridization with
other models (Casey & McPhail, 2018), while some
teachers are reluctant to use it because they consider
that the motor component of Physical Education will
be lost and it is necessary to align the academic objec-
tives of the subject with its social scope (Casey, Dyson,
& Campbell, 2009). The consequence is the reproduc-
tion of approaches based on the students individual
performance, without considering the generation of
positive experiences for everyone through motor skills,
which can positively affect studentsperception of the
subject (Li, Chen, & Baker, 2014), and more important,
in their lives, since dialogue, consensus, and teamwork
(promoted in Cooperative Learning settings) are con-
sidered cross-cutting competences in todays society
(Jacobs, 2016).
Over the last 20 years, a few reviews and meta-analysis
have been conducted on Cooperative learning, but they
have focused on curricular subjects like Math or learning
in general (Capar & Tarin, 2015; Gillies, 2014;Kyndt
et al., 2013). To our knowledge, Casey and Goodyear
(2015) conducted the only review on Cooperative
Learning implementation in Physical Education. Since
then, the great dissemination of the model has been
reflected in many educational experiences, but scholars
and educators demand a review to assess their efficacy.
Based on the aforementioned, the main goal of this
study was to review the scientific literature published in
the last 5 years on Cooperative Learning implementa-
tion in Physical Education, updating and expanding
previous analyses to help teachers and researchers.
Method
Search sources
A systematic review of the literature published over the
last 5 years on Cooperative Learning in Physical
Education was conducted. In order to find existing pub-
lications between January 2014 and March 2019,
a search was initiated in seven electronic databases:
ERIC, Google Scholar, SPORTDiscus, SCOPUS,
Medline, EBSCO host, and Web of Science. The descrip-
tors Cooperative Learning,Collaborative Learning,
Pedagogical Models, and Physical Educationwere
used with the search operator AND.
Exclusion criteria
The exclusion criteria used were as follows: (1)
Duplicated articles, (2) Articles not published in jour-
nals indexed in the Journal Citation Report (JCR) or
the Scimago Journal Rank (SJR), (3) Articles in lan-
guages other than English or Spanish, (4) Articles
where Cooperative Learning is not implemented in
schools, (5) Articles that did not explicitly allude to
Cooperative Learning, but to cooperative work meth-
odologies that do not match the previously mentioned
basic characteristics of the model (Johnson et al., 2013),
and (6) Articles where Cooperative Learning was hybri-
dized or complemented with other pedagogical models.
Search limits
The search was conducted following the Preferred Reporting
Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)
guidelines (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, & Altman, 2009),
including the PICO strategy: Participants (e.g., primary, sec-
ondary, country), Intervention (e.g., units, lessons, type of
research (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed)), Comparators
(e.g., Physical Education,Cooperative Learning), and
Outcomes (e.g., cognitive, social, affective, motor). The
search finished on September 14, 2019.
RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT 147
Procedure
Initially, 372 publications were found using the above-
mentioned descriptors: ERIC: 67 articles, Google
Scholar: 148, SPORTDiscus: 15, SCOPUS: 49, Medline:
4, EBSCO host: 31, Web of Science: 58. After following
the exclusion criteria, only 15 articles were left. Most of
the discarded items (177) did not deal with Cooperative
Learning implementation in schools. One-hundred nine
items appeared in more than one database. Forty-nine
articles included Cooperative Learning hybridizations or
complemented with other models or methodological
procedures and were also discarded from the study.
Some articles (37) referred to cooperation processes,
which are not the Cooperative Learning model itself.
Table 2 was built with the 15 final articles selected,
where each one was described based on the following
categories: (1) Author and year of publication: this field
provides information not only on the authors but also
on the distribution over the last 5 years, (2) Country of
model implementation: this provides information on the
countries where the research was conducted in recent
years, (3) Number of participants, age, and duration of
the experience: this category includes information on the
variability in the sample used, both in the number of
participants and the educational level, as well as the
duration of the implementation, (4) Type of research:
it details if the study used quantitative, qualitative or
mixed methods, (5) Content: it provides information
on the curricular content used, (6) Purpose of the
study: the objective/goal of the study, (7) Results of the
study: the most outstanding outcomes are presented,
their contributions to the literature, and the possibilities
of replication, and (8) Learning outcome: information of
the impact of the implementation in the different learn-
ing domains (social, affective, motor, and cognitive).
Quality assessment and level of evidence
First, the quality of the review process was assessed and
included in the PROSPERO register, which is an inter-
national database of prospectively registered systematic
reviews. Key features of the review protocol are recorded
and maintained on the database permanently. Second,
the PRISMA guidelines (Moher et al., 2009)wereusedto
assess the quality of this systematic review. This evalua-
tion tool includes an evidence-based set of items to
report the quality of systematic reviews and meta-
analysis. In addition, the AMSTAR 2 critical appraisal
tool for systematic reviews was used (Shea et al., 2017),
and the rating overall confidence in the results of the
review could be considered moderate: the systematic
review had more than one weakness, but no critical
flaws. It may provide an accurate summary of the results
of the available studies that were included in the review
(p. 6). Third, the criteria for assessing the quality of the
selected studies were based on the Checklist for
Measuring Study Quality (e.g., is the hypothesis/aim of
the study clearly described?; Downs & Black, 1998), the
Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies
Statement (e.g., is it possible to use the design in other
studies?; Von-Elm et al., 2008), and the Consolidated
Standards of Reporting Trials Statement (e.g., the studys
blinding and quality assessment; Moher, Schulz, &
Altman, 2001). Fourth, previous studies (Araújo,
Mesquita, & Hastie, 2014; Chu & Zhang, 2018;Hastie
& Casey, 2014)wereusedtoensuretheattainmentof
relevant articles and obtain a quality score on each
investigation, and it was based on the following criteria:
(a) description of the program; (b) JCR/SJR journal; (c)
detailed methodological description; (d) sample or num-
ber of participants; and (e) length of the implementation.
Each item was scored from 0 to 2 using the criteria
described in Table 1. A total quality score for each one
of the selected publications was calculated by adding all
the scores. Finally, studies were classified as: (a) low
quality: score lower than 3; (b) moderate quality: score
between 4 and 6; and (c) high quality: score of 7 or
more. Four experts on Physical Education performed
this process independently. Based on previous reviews
(González-Vilora et al., 2018), the selection criteria to be
considered an expert were: (1) PhD in Physical
Education and Sport; (2) Be involved in at least one
funded research project during the last 5 years (2015-
2019), (3) Have published five articles indexed in the
JCR or SJR in the last 5 years (20152019), and (4) 10
years of minimum professional experience linked to
Physical Education.
Results and discussion
Results are discussed regarding the eight elements used
in the categorization of the 13 articles published between
January 2014 and September 2019 presented in Table 2.
The year is not included in the discussion, as all articles
are from the last five years, and the purpose and results
obtained have been grouped in the same section.
Country
Results showed a wide variety of countries where the
Cooperative Learning pedagogical model has been imple-
mented in Physical Education. In addition to Great
Britain, New Zealand, the United States of America and
Spain, with authors such as Dyson, Casey, Goodyear, or
Fernández-Río, who have been working on this
148 D. BORES-GARCÍA ET AL.
pedagogical approach for years, new countries have
emerged: Turkey (Altinkok, 2017;Gorucu,2016), France
(Darnis & Lafont, 2015), Sweden (Barker &
Quennerstedt, 2017), and Taiwan (Lee, 2014). It reflects
the growth of the use of Cooperative Learning at the
international level, which indicates its positive scientific
and pedagogical impact. As far as the topics addressed, it
was not possible to observe a trend by country, as the
approaches were varied. This reflects that Cooperative
Learning is a global pedagogical model, where the cogni-
tive, social, relational, and affective spheres are linked to
the transversal aspects that regulate physical activity all
over the world. This variety, both in countries and con-
tents, reinforced the idea of its applicability in a diversity
of learning contexts and scenarios.
Number of participants, grade, and duration
An analysis of the duration of the Cooperative
Learning model implementation indicated that, as
Casey and Goodyear (2015) pointed out, they tend
to last a very short period of time. Seven of the 15
articles were based on research conducted in a single
didactic unit of 8 to 12 sessions. They highlighted the
effects of the implementation of the students, but the
number of sessions do not seem enough to conclude
that the cause of the observed effects was only this
short-term implementation. On the other hand, other
researches did dedicate more time to the implementa-
tion: Altinkok (2017) 12 weeks, Wallhead and Dyson
(2017) 3 months, Gorucu (2016) 10 weeks, or
Fernández-Río, Sanz, Fernandez-Cando, and Santos
(2017) 3 consecutive didactic units. Due to the large
number of factors and elements, Cooperative Learning
needs a large number of sessions to be fully developed,
especially when the students and/or faculty do not
have extensive previous experience (Legrain, Escalié,
Lafont, & Chaliès, 2019).
With regards to the number of participants, they
varied greatly, ranging from three students and the
teacher (Wallhead & Dyson, 2017), a single group
(Altinkok, 2017), two groups (Casey et al., 2015;
Gorucu, 2016) or several groups: reaching samples of
125 students (Sánchez-Hernández, Martos-García,
Soler, & Flintoff, 2018), or even 249 (Fernández-Río
et al., 2017). Developing Cooperative Learning in large
groups is of real interest, as it entails a large number of
variables to control in many participants and results
can be generalized. In addition, Cooperative Learning
bears a more positive impact when it is implemented in
several subgroups that join in larger groups, which also
helps promote studentsautonomy and responsibility
(Agbuga, Xiang, McBride, & Su, 2016). This is also
linked to the increase in the existing relations between
the students andwhat is more relevant in many cases
how the teacher interacts with them in the proposed
learning tasks (Girard & Lemoyne, 2018).
Finally, there is also a variety of research depend-
ing on the educational stage where the model was
implemented. Results showed that it was distributed
almost equally between Primary and Secondary
Education. Previous experiences in the primary
stage showed positive effects on studentsbehavior,
respect for others and the rules, using games as
a tool for exploration, investigation, and learning
(Barney et al., 2016). In Secondary Education,
where studentsautonomy is greater, improvements
have been found in the creation of social bonds and
in their reflections on the learning integrated into
Physical Education.
Table 1. Investigation quality score checklist.
Research Program description JCR/SJR inclusion Methodology Sample Length Total score Quality level
Goodyear et al. (2014) 2 2 2 0 1 7 HQS
Lee (2014) 2 2 2 2 1 9 HQS
Casey et al. (2015) 2 2 2 1 1 8 HQS
Darnis and Lafont (2015) 2 2 2 1 1 8 HQS
OLeary et al. (2015) 2 2 2 1 1 8 HQS
Dyson, Colby, and Barrat (2016) 2 2 2 2 1 9 HQS
Gorucu (2016) 1 2 1 1 2 7 HQS
Altinkok (2017) 2 2 1 1 2 8 HQS
Barker and Quennerstedt (2017) 2 2 2 2 0 8 HQS
Bodsworth and Goodyear (2017) 2 2 2 1 1 8 HQS
Fernández-Río et al. (2017) 2 2 2 2 2 10 HQS
Wallhead and Dyson (2017) 2 2 2 0 2 8 HQS
Sánchez-Hernández et al. (2018) 2 2 2 2 1 9 HQS
Fernandez-Argüelles and Gonzalez (2018) 2 2 2 1 1 8 HQS
Nopembri et al. (2019) 2 2 1 2 1 8 HQS
Program description (did the research offer a detailed description of the program?): 0ʹ: not included, 1ʹ: brief and undetailed description, and 2ʹ: detailed
description; JCR/SJR inclusion (was the study published in a journal indexed on the JCR or SJR?): 0ʹ: not indexed, 1ʹ: indexed on SJR, and 2ʹ: indexed on
JCR; methodology (did the paper report in detail the methodological process used?): 0ʹ: not reported, 1ʹ: reported but imprecise (not completely), and 2ʹ:
exhaustive description reported; sample (number of participants): 0ʹ: fewer than 10 participants, 1ʹ: from 10 to 50 participants, and 2ʹ: more than 50
participants; length (duration): 0ʹ:less than eight lessons, 1ʹ: from nine to 14 lessons, and 2ʹ: more than 15 lessons; JCR, Journal Citation Report; SJR,
Scimago Journal Rank; HQS: high-quality study, MQS: moderate quality study.
RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT 149
Table 2. Summary of cooperative learning articles published between 2014 and 2019.
Author
and year Country
Number of participants
grade and duration Type of research Content Purpose Results
Learning
outcomes
Goodyear
et al. (2014)
Great
Britain
2 teenage girls classes
8 sessions
Qualitative: researchers diary, post-
session teachers analysis tool, students
interviews and analysis of the films
recorded by the students
Basketball To increase girlsin-class
participation
Most of the girls increased their participation mainly
by taking on the roles of trainer or cameraman
Social,
Cognitive
Lee (2014) Taiwan Sixty 7th8th grade
students
8 sessions
Mixed: Physical skills test, semi-
structured interviews
Physical
capabilities
To evaluate the effectiveness on
studentsphysical condition
Development of studentsbasic physical capabilities
was greater with the use of the CL model. The
teachers extrinsic motivation is a decisive factor
Motor
Casey et al.
(2015)
Great
Britain
2 Secondary Education
groups
12 lessons
Mixed: teacher journal, Cooperative
Learning Validation Tool (CLVT)
Track and Field To confirm the validity of the
model implementation tool
More rigor is needed when implementing Cooperative
Learning
Affective
Darnis and
Lafont
(2015)
France 1: 17 boys, 13 girls
3rd- 4th grade
2: Two groups of girls
(age 1112)
Quantitative: video recording and
observation sheet
1: Basketball in
pairs
2: Handball in
pairs
To study verbal exchanges in play
situations in sports
Peer discussions about the games goal and strategies
helped develop studentstactical and motor skills.
Pairs with asymmetric skills benefited more from the
oral exchange than pairs with symmetric skills
Social,
motor
OLeary et al.
(2015)
Great
Britain
75 Secondary
Education students
(age 15)
8 sessions
Qualitative: reflective diaries, external
observation and letters
Artistic
Gymnastics
To assess the impact of the
jigsawstrategy
The use of Jigsawhad a positive effect on the
studentssocial relations and motor skills
Social,
motor
Dyson et al.
(2016)
New
Zealand
12 Primary Education
generalist teachers
Qualitative: teacher post-lesson
reflections, researcher journals, field
notes, e-mails, documents (lesson plans,
programs, meeting transcripts), and
interviews
Basic
locomotor and
manipulative
skills
To assess teachersphysical
education preparation, Social skills
needed for Cooperative Learning,
Teachers
understanding of Cooperative
Learning
A Professional Learning Group can help generalist
teachers learn to teach Cooperative Learning in their
physical education classes.
Teacher professional
learning should be hands-on and be embedded in
teachersown school context
Cognitive
Gorucu (2016) Turkey 48 Secondary
Education students
10 weeks
Quantitative: pre and posttest Volleyball,
table tennis
and football
To assess the effects on students
problem-solving skills
Cooperative Learning contributed to the development
of studentsproblem-solving skills
Cognitive
Altinkok
(2017)
Turkey One 1stgrade group
12 weeks
Quantitative: basic motor skills test Basic motor
skills
To assess the impact on students
basic motor skills
Improvement of studentsbasic motor skills Motor
Barker and Quennerstedt
(2017)
Sweden 3 Secondary
Education
groups
1 session
Qualitative: interviews before and
after the session
Choreography To explore
power
relationships in
group work
Power relationships are not
created solely between
group members, nor is
there a strong
correlation between
skill level and power in
the group
Social
Bodsworth
and
Goodyear
(2017)
Great
Britain
Thirty-six students
(age 1112)
1 unit
Qualitative: discussion groups,
researchers diary and external
observation
Track and Field To study the barriers and
facilitators of technology
integration
Only teachers who intentionally integrate technology
into Physical Education can enable students to
experience reflective learning that improves their
motor practices
Cognitive
Fernández-Río
et al. (2017)
Spain 249 students (age
1214)
3 consecutive units
Mixed: open-ended question,
questionnaire
Cooperative
Challenges,
Physical
Condition and
Parkour
To assess studentsmotivation,
perceptions of the classroom
climate and feelings
Increased intrinsic motivation and greater perception
of a cooperative learning environment. Increased
perception of cooperation, relationship, enjoyment,
and novelty
Social
(Continued )
150 D. BORES-GARCÍA ET AL.
Type of research
Qualitative (46.1%), quantitative (30.7%) and mixed
(22.2%) methods have been used. In qualitative studies,
discussion groups, researcher and participantsdiaries,
external systematic observations, studentsinterviews,
video analysis, and student-written documents were
used. In quantitative studies, protocols such as Joint
Action Studies in Didactics (JASD), validated tools such
as the Cooperative Learning Validation Tool (CLVT), and
pre- and post-implementation skill testing were used.
Mixed studies used some of the data collection techniques
mentioned, both qualitative and quantitative, seeking the
connection between both methodologies. There is a trend
in the use of qualitative methods in those investigations
that seek to know more relational, social, and behavioral
aspects, whereas the use of quantitative methods is greater
in investigations where physical-motor development is
assessed. Qualitative methodological approaches within
the implementation of pedagogical models are recom-
mended to become aware of studentsspecific actions
and the reasons that lead them to act in a certain way.
This becomes even more valuable in Cooperative
Learning, where active listening and the transversality of
values can transform social realities, improve the class
climate, and promote studentscoexistence and inclusion
(Klavina, Jerlinder, Kristén, Hammar, & Soulie, 2014).
However, more quantitative studies have focused on mea-
suring the global effects of the intervention and control-
ling the different phases of execution (Fernández-Río
et al., 2017). A key element in the implementation of
pedagogical models in Physical Education is to validate
designs that allow educators and researcher to detect
errors and redirect the process (Fletcher, Ní Chróinín,
Price, & Francis, 2018).
Contents
Results showed a great variety of curricular contents
implemented using Cooperative Learning: sports such
as football, basketball, handball, and table tennis, as
well as contents related to health and basic motor skills.
In sports, teachers used heterogeneous groups with dif-
ferentiated roles that alternated along the sessions of the
learning unit, with a predominance of noncompetitive
contexts where all students participated in pursuit of
a shared goal. As González and Fernández-Río (2003)
pointed out, Cooperative Learning makes possible sports
teaching in such a way that students who traditionally
have felt excluded can enjoy, learn, and even adhere to
sport practice in their free time. On the other hand,
contents related to health and physical condition, as
well as basic motor skills, are based on recreational
Table 2. (Continued).
Author
and year Country
Number of participants
grade and duration Type of research Content Purpose Results
Learning
outcomes
Wallhead and
Dyson
(2017)
New
Zealand
Three 5-year-olds and
their teacher
3 months (3 units)
Quantitative: Joint Action Studies in
Didactics (JASD) protocol
Chasing
games,
gymnastics,
pitches and
receptions
To use the JASD protocol to
understand how knowledge is
constructed through teacher-pupil
interactions
Cooperative learning tasks created a pedagogical
structure where student interactions were aligned
with the didactic intentions of the tasks
Social
Sánchez-
Hernández
et al. (2018)
Spain 125 primary education
students
1 unit
Qualitative: critical ethnography Football To provide a climate of
understanding and respect for the
opposite sex and to challenge
students to be critical with gender
stereotypes
The explicit inclusion of pretests to make students
reflect on gender is fundamental, especially the
creation of spaces for girls to express themselves
freely and be heard by boys. Girls felt more valued
throughout the process
Social
Fernandez-
Argüelles
and
Gonzalez
(2018)
Spain 31 3rd grade primary
education students
10 sessions
Mixed: questionnaire, open-ended
questions
Manipulative
skills
To assess studentsmotivation and
satisfaction
Decreased amotivation and satisfaction with
cooperative games
Cognitive,
social
Nopembri
et al. (2019)
Indonesia 810 fourth through
sixth-grade students
Quantitative: ad hoc questionnaires Sports To assess childrens stress coping
and problem-solving skills
Significant improvements in childrens stress coping
skills and problem-solving skills
Cognitive,
social
RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT 151
activities and motivation developed in a group context.
It showed how cooperation does not limit the work on
physical fitness in the classroom, and it can also serve as
a platform to promote physical activity practice in the
leisure time due to the pleasant learning experiences and
the perception of achievement generated in the Physical
Education classroom. Only one study was conducted
using dance. This content, rhythm and body expression,
needs more research to assess its connection with
Cooperative Learning, as the bodyexpressive manifesta-
tions are relevant for autonomy development in our
children (Sevil, Abós, Aibar, Julián, & García-González,
2016). Results showed that content is not a problem
when using Cooperative Learning, and any, in both
elementary and secondary education, can be taught
using this pedagogical approach.
Purpose and results
The great heterogeneity indicated in previous categories
was also reflected in the studiespurposes and their
results. Some aimed at obtaining information on the
validity of model implementation (Casey et al., 2015),
suggesting the need for greater rigor. Other articles tried
to assess relational and/or motivational aspects (Barker
& Quennerstedt, 2017; Fernández-Río et al., 2017;
OLeary, Wattison, Edwards, & Bryan, 2015), gender
(Goodyear, Casey, & Kirk, 2014; Sánchez-Hernández
et al., 2018), the development of motor skills (Altinkok,
2017), physical skills (Lee, 2014), problem-solving skills
(Gorucu, 2016), teacherpupil relationships (Wallhead &
Dyson, 2017) or the use of new technologies in the
model (Bodsworth & Goodyear, 2017). An improvement
in the studentsrelational and motivational climate was
found after implementing Cooperative Learning (Barker
& Quennerstedt, 2017), as well as greater understanding
and respect for the opposite sex (Sánchez-Hernández
et al., 2018). Other studies revealed a greater develop-
ment of basic motor skills and physical capabilities using
Cooperative learning than traditional instructional mod-
els, allowing students to cope with stressful situations
(Nopembri, Sugiyama, Saryono, & Rithaudin, 2019).
These findings weaken one of the Physical Education
teachersexcuses for not using Cooperative learning in
their classes: studentsactive learning time is diminished
and their motor performance is harmed. As for the use
of technology, only one article focused on this topic
(Bodsworth & Goodyear, 2017). There is a plea for an
intentional and premeditated use of it to influence stu-
dentsreflective learning. Unfortunately, no information
on the conditions that enabled these positive outcomes
was provided and, therefore, it is not possible to know
which variables teachers should focus on. On the other
hand, Lee (2014) evaluated the effectiveness of the model
to develop contents linked to the studentsphysical con-
dition, while Casey et al. (2015) focused on assessing the
validity of the model implementation, emphasizing that
not all that include cooperative elements can be consid-
ered within Cooperative Learning pedagogical model as
such. Some teachers, overwhelmed by the large number
of elements involved, do not follow all the guidelines,
which leads to pedagogical confusion on how to imple-
ment Cooperative Learning.
Learning domains
Considering the different learning domains (Kirk, 2012),
most articles claimed that Cooperative Learning pro-
moted learning in more than one, which is consistent
with Casey and Goodyearsreview(2015). The most fre-
quently cited was the social domain, indicating the posi-
tive interdependence promoted by constant group work
and the development of social skills produced by the
dialogical process inherent to the model (Johnson &
Johnson, 2009; Velázquez, 2012). Sánchez-Hernández
et al. (2018) and Wallhead and Dyson (2017) reported
similar results in experiences based on group and coop-
erative activities were competition was eliminated and
sought the participation of all students, as well as the
improvement of interpersonal relations through debates
and common goals. The social domain is an essential
pillar of Cooperative Learning, as long as the whole
group of students has the perception of competence and
active learning throughout the process (Lund, 2013). In
several articles, the social domain was linked to the cog-
nitive domain (Fernandez-Argüelles & Gonzalez, 2018;
Goodyear et al., 2014) or the motor domain (Darnis &
Lafont, 2015;OLeary et al., 2015). This was considered
the sole outcome in two studies, which focused on differ-
ent skills: basic motor skills (Altinkok, 2017)andphysical
abilities (Lee, 2014). Both included tasks with a high psy-
chomotor component and large physiological demand.
The increase in motor skills was achieved when tasks
were presented as challenges and the students were free
to perform the skills according to his or her capacities
(Lynott & Bittner, 2016). Finally, cognitive development
was considered essentially in Gorucus(2016)study,
where problem-solving activities were an integral part of
Cooperative Learning, and in Bodsworth and Goodyears
(2017) study, through the creation of reflective situations
mediated by the use of new technologies. Within
Cooperative Learning, this domain is especially relevant,
since the reflective component of the tasks is very high
and the student must solve problemsby being active agent
of the process.
152 D. BORES-GARCÍA ET AL.
Conclusions
The present review on Cooperative Learning showed
a paradoxical differentiation with respect to its abundant
dissemination and promotion. The fact that only 15 arti-
cles have been published in the last 5 years seemed to
indicate the need to translate theory into educational
practice and, hence, to promote consistent research that
can generate new knowledge about the real possibilities of
Cooperative Learning implementation in Physical
Education. Results showed a diversity of analysis (qualita-
tive, quantitative, and mixed) conducted on diverse con-
tents, with very scarce contribution to those related to
body expression. Most of the investigations did not detail
in their designs the implementation phases and the main
elements of the intervention program. Of the four learning
domains, the social one was the most frequently assessed,
particularly motivation and relationships between students
and teachers. Casey and Goodyear (2015)criticisms
regarding the shortness of the experiences and their frag-
mentation are still valid, and longitudinal research must be
carried out to explore what is happening beyond one
learning unit, as there is still a clear mismatch between
the dissemination and use of the model and the number of
articles based on implementations in the school context.
Moreover, much of the research found in the review still
lacks rigor: it does not match the previously mentioned
basic characteristics of the model (Johnson et al., 2013).
Therefore, researchers and scholars must be rigorous
when they claim that they implement Cooperative
Learning intervention programs in schools.
The present review has made two main contributions.
First, it provides an update of the literature on
Cooperative Learning implementation from
2014. Second, it increased the number of categories
assessed; thus extending the spectrum of action of
Cooperative Learning. Future research should review
hybridizations between this pedagogical model and the
others,aswellascontrastitsimplementation in Physical
Education and extracurricular contexts. This article may
be of special interest to teachers interested in improving
their teaching practice. Likewise, it could be considered
relevant for those responsible of Physical Education
Teacher Education programs and the development of
Physical Educations curricula, to help them understand
that motor development can be enhanced through social
interactions and group responsibility. It is necessary to
continue researching more about Cooperative Learning
implementation and its effects, as in todayssociety,ele-
ments such as social relations, dialogue, and respect, as
well as physical activity and sports, are essential.
What does this article add?
This article provides the existing literature with an exhaus-
tive review of the research that has implemented the coop-
erative learning model in educational contexts over the past
5 years, since the review of Casey and Goodyear (2015). In
addition, the categories of analysis have been broadened to
include author and year of publication, country of imple-
mentation, participantsage and gender, type of research,
content, study results and learning outcomes.
ORCID
Daniel Bores-García http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2522-8493
David Hortigüela-Alcalá http://orcid.org/0000-0001-5951-
758X
Francisco Javier Fernandez-Rio http://orcid.org/0000-0002-
1368-3723
Gustavo González-Calvo http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4637-
0168
Raúl Barba-Martín http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0071-687X
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RESEARCH QUARTERLY FOR EXERCISE AND SPORT 155
... Over the last 20 years, few reviews and metaanalysis have been conducted on cooperative learning, but they have focused on curricular subjects like Mathematics or learning in general [6][7][8]. Reviews including cooperative learning in PE classes were limited to studies in the last five years and were related more to the didactic implementation of cooperative learning and did not measure quality of included studies or focused on only one outcome [5,[9][10][11]. For example, the study from Fernández-Espínola researched the effect of cooperative learning on intrinsic motivation in PE [11]. Furthermore, the reviews did not present a lucid summary of the effects of cooperative learning. ...
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... Second, to guarantee the selection of relevant articles and obtain a quality score on each study, a checklist used in a recent review on CL in educational contexts was used (Bores-García et al., 2021). It was based on the following criteria: (a) description of the program; (b) JCR/SJR journal; (c) detailed methodological description; (d) sample or number of participants; and (e) length of the implementation. ...
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Cooperative learning activities are a staple in many physical education programs. Teachers often use team building and trust activities at the beginning of the school year to get to know their students. However, many physical education teachers focus solely on the affective domain. The purpose of this article is to provide physical education teachers with a deeper knowledge base of the cooperative-learning (CL) instructional model and provide samples of how to include cognitive concepts during these activities. The article describes and explains the five key elements of CL and provides concrete examples of how to use and implement a variety of CL activities. Each of the sample activities are linked to specific SHAPE America National Standards and grade-level outcomes. The authors also provide some sample assessments for each CL activity.
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This article shows a research project related to the Cooperative Learning Model, which has been conducted in the area of Physical Education in a public school in northern Spain. Specifically, the study proposal, aimed at third year of primary education [experimental group (n=15) and control group (n=16)], was based on a didactic unit on handling and interaction with moving objects. In the experimental group, the contents have revolved around the development of cooperative games and exercises lacking of competition, while in the control group, the lessons were held with a more traditional methodology based in competitive games. The results obtained have indicated a decline in the lack of motivation of students in the experimental group. At the same time, this group has shown a high rate of satisfaction with the practice of cooperative games, exactly 100% among women and 60% among men.