Effects of Cooperative Versus Individual Study on Learning and Motivation After Reward-Removal

  • Sears D
  • Pai H
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Abstract

Rewards are frequently used in classrooms and recommended as a key component of well-researched methods of cooperative learning (e.g., Slavin, 1995). While many studies of cooperative learning find beneficial effects of rewards, many studies of individuals find negative effects (e.g., Deci, Koestner, Lepper, 1988). This may be because the effects of reward-removal are not typically assessed in studies of cooperative learning whereas they typically are in studies of individuals. Alternatively, rewards and their removal might function differently for groups than individuals. The present study tested the hypothesis that groups would show less detrimental effects of reward-removal than individuals. Results showed a significant interaction where dyads increased their performance after reward-removal, while individuals showed a decrease on difficult transfer questions.
Rewards are frequently used in classrooms and recommended as a key component of well-researched methods of cooperative learning (e.g., Slavin, 1995). While many studies of cooperative learning find beneficial effects of rewards, many studies of individuals find negative effects (e.g., Deci, Koestner, Lepper, 1988). This may be because the effects of reward-removal are not typically assessed in studies of cooperative learning whereas they typically are in studies of individuals. Alternatively, rewards and their removal might function differently for groups than individuals. The present study tested the hypothesis that groups would show less detrimental effects of reward-removal than individuals. Results showed a significant interaction where dyads increased their performance after reward-removal, while individuals showed a decrease on difficult transfer questions.

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Authors

  • David A. Sears

  • Hui-Hua Pai

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