A number of researchers argue that cooperative learning can promote greater productivity and more caring, supportive and committed relationships between students, active learning, critical thinking, the achievement of long-term learning objectives, conceptual understanding, long-term retention of information and high levels of student satisfaction. However, to obtain these potential advantages something more than forming and assigning them a common goal is needed: cooperation has to occur. This paper presents guidelines for designing group activities to foster cooperation by focusing on three elements of cooperative learning: (1) positive interdependence, (2) equal participation and (3) individual accountability in both individual and group learning scenarios. The authors also describe a software tool designed according to the model proposed in which some design guidelines have been implemented in order to support cooperative learning activities and allow the cooperative process to be monitored. The preliminary results show that the participants who have interacted with this soft-ware tool have obtained good cooperation scores and cooperative abilities have been fostered: participation, engagement and communication during learning activities. Introduction Cooperative learning (CL) offers an alternative to the one-way communication that typifies lectures which may be used occasionally or more frequently depending upon the nature of the class and the instructor's goals. CL could be used as an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches that involve joint intellectual efforts by students or students and instructors together. In CL, students are actively involved with the information being learned and interactively involved with other learners. Students work together on tasks that require them to explore, apply, question and generate information. With CL, much of the responsibility for making learning hap-pen shifts from the instructor to the student, where it rightfully belongs. The large body of literature on cooperative learning shows that it is highly effective in achiev-ing long-term learning objectives (D.
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