Competitive techniques have been traditionally deemed unprofitable, especially in comparison with cooperative or constructivist approaches. However, many studies have shown that this technique should not be categorically rejected, since it provides important educational advantages.
We have developed an installable module in the well-known e-learning platform Moodle, which lets organize competitive activities in any of the courses of this platform. The system is called QUESTOURnament and consists of an individual or team working environment where a number of intellectual "challenges" are provided. The students have to solve them in a time limit. They can also propose new challenges.
Once evaluated, the work carried out is rewarded through a mechanism of variable score, as shown in the figure. The workshop is based on competitiveness, collaboration and social recognition as mechanisms for motivation. To this end, the work sessions are organized as a contest where a ranking is set according to the results achieved by the participants.
Responding a challenge, the student can get the reward points from the question at the moment she/he gives the answer (the reward depends on the moment). This calls for a evaluation of the proposed solution by the author of the question. In the challenges proposed by the students, they are themselves responsible of evaluating the answers. In this case, part of the evaluation of the student-author depends on his good work as evaluator, with the aim of promoting fairness and objectivity.The task of the tutor is essential for the general control of the process and the resolution of any conflict that can arise around the evaluation between equals.
A system of participation where students can propose challenges to their fellows and be rewarded for that
QUESTOURnament provides a way of participation where students can propose challenges to their fellows and be rewarded for that, enriching the system and the learning process. All of these challenges are previously checked by the tutor/teacher.
The evaluation of every challenge answer is made under the teacher criteria which must be previously set. So, during the creation and design of the contest features, the teacher must define an evaluation form specifying all the criteria and percentages, which will be used by any of the challenge authors to evaluate the answers sent by the students. An evaluation form must be also defined specifying all the corresponding criteria and percentages which will be used for evaluating the challenges proposed by the students.