The competitive techniques have been traditionally deemed unprofitable, especially in comparison with cooperative or constructivist approaches. However, many studies have shown that not only this technique should not be categorically rejected, but also does it provide important educational advantages.
And to prove all the above, 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.
Once evaluated, the work carried out is rewarded through a mechanism of variable remuneration, as shown in Figure1. 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.
Figure 1. Variation of the score in QUESTOURnament
One of the main functions of QUESTOURnament consists of a system of participation where students can propose challenges to their fellows and be rewarded for that, and then enriching the system and the learning process. All of these challenges are previously checked by the lecturer.
The evaluation of every challenge answer is made under the lecturer criteria which must be previously set. So, during the creation and design of the contest features, the lecturer must define an evaluation form specifying all the criteria and percentages, which will be used by any of the challenge author 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.
Responding a challenge, the student can get the reward points from the question at the moment 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 of the challenges he has posed, 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 during the course of the evaluation between equals.This plugin was developed and is being successfully used at the University of Valladolid, Spain.