BACKGROUND AND PREDICTION Collaborative learning is an educational process by which a group of students works together to solve a problem, create a product, or pursue a goal. Collaborative learning is designed to facilitate students’ metacognitive abilities. The present study examined the effect of collaborative learning on metacognition in a collaborative process (i.e., critical thinking disposition and belief in cooperation). We hypothesized that collaborative learning would facilitate the acquisition of metacognitive skills via the social skills of students such that it would have a positive effect on the metacognitive skills of learners with high, but not those with low, levels of social skills. PROCEDURE A pre-test/post-test design was employed. In total, 101 university students participated in a 3-month collaborative learning program. INSTRUMENTS Questionnaires addressing social skills (Kikuchi, 1988), belief in cooperation (Nagahama et al., 2009), and critical thinking disposition (Hirayama & Kusumi, 2004) were used. Belief in cooperation was measured in terms of three constructs: usefulness of cooperation, individual orientation, and inequality. Critical thinking disposition was measured in terms of four constructs: awareness of logical thinking, inquiry-mind, objectiveness, and evidence-based judgment. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Awareness of logical thinking (a construct subsumed by critical thinking disposition) was marginally higher in the post-test than in the pre-test. The collaborative learning program enhanced learners’ awareness of logical thinking. The inequality scores (a construct subsumed by belief in cooperation) were higher in the post-test than in the pre-test. That is, collaborative learning increased learners’ inequality. We also categorized learners into four categories based on social skills. The individual orientation (a construct subsumed by belief in cooperation that measures individualism) of those with the highest level of social skills was higher in the post-test than in the pre-test. High scores on individual orientation indicate a belief in the ineffectiveness of cooperation as a method of problem solving. Specifically, our results suggest that those with the highest level of social skills viewed cooperation with others as an ineffective approach to problem solving following their participation in the collaborative learning program.
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