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Research-Based Active and Cooperative Learning Strategies to Engage Diverse Learners. Kimberly Koledoye Houston Community College NW 18% of the students who dropped out said that it was hard to pay attention in class.

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research based active and cooperative learning strategies to engage diverse learners

Research-Based Active and Cooperative Learning Strategies to Engage Diverse Learners

Kimberly Koledoye

Houston Community College NW


18% of the students

who dropped

out said that it was

hard to pay attention

in class

(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2009)

7 principles for good practice in undergraduate education
7 Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education

1. Good practice encourages contact between students and faculty

2. Good practice develops reciprocity and cooperation among students

3. Good practice encourages active learning

4. Good practice gives prompt feedback

5. Good practice emphasizes time on task

6. Good practice communicates high expectations

7. Good practice respects diverse talents and ways of learning


According to Knowles (1990), adult learning is "a process of active inquiry, not passive reception."


Colleges in which instructors use high percentages of classroom time for lecturing have lower benchmark scores than those in which instructors spend high percentages of classroom time on in-class writing or small group activities.

(Community College Survey of Student Engagement 2009)

  • Grouping
  • Cooperative Learning Strategies
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques
  • Electronic Games
grouping strategies1
Grouping Strategies
  • Last 4 digits of your phone number
  • Find a birthday closest to yours
  • Find your match cards
  • Arrange a line by day of birth
  • Find someone wearing the same color
  • Arrange a line by height
  • Find someone who’s name is closest to yours in the alphabet
find someone who
Find Someone Who
  • Students work individually on an assignment with the option of skipping questions they do not know.
  • Allow students to roam around the room to find the answers to their questions.
  • Students are only allowed to tell and explain the answer, no copying!
four corner opinion
Four Corner Opinion
  • Place signs in corners of the room (a,b,c,d, or true/false)
  • Using multiple choice or true/false questions, ask students to respond by standing next to the answer that corresponds to their choice.
  • Choose a student to explain why they chose that answer.
quiz quiz trade 2
Quiz, Quiz, Trade (2)
  • Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up
  • Partner A quizzes
  • Partner B answers
  • Partner A coaches or praises (tip, tip, tell, re-ask)
  • Switch roles
  • Trade cards
  • Repeat
stop and explain
Stop and Explain
  • While lecturing, stop and allow the students to explain what they have learned to one or two other students.
  • Continue lecturing.
  • Repeat.
team pair solo
Team, Pair, Solo

Students do problems first as a team, then with a partner, and finally on their own.

partners 4
Partners (4)

Partners move to one side of the room. Half of each team is given an assignment to master to be able to teach the other half. Partners work to learn and can consult with other partners working on the same material. Teams go back together with each set of partners teaching the other set. Partners quiz and tutor teammates. Team reviews how well they learned and taught and how they might improve the process.

paper pass 2s or 4s
Paper Pass (2s or 4s)
  • Students are each given a paper to complete.
  • Students complete the first answer and then pass their paper to their partner.
  • They continue back and forth until finished.
  • They look over their paper, discuss any answers they did not agree upon, and try to come to consensus.
  • Wait for instructor input.
cut it apart
Cut it Apart
  • Each student is assigned a section to read.
  • After reading, the student will explain the section to their teammate(s).
  • Each person will explain while the others take notes.
  • The instructor will ask students to explain the concepts and fill in gaps.
cut it apart ii
Cut it Apart II
  • Take an assignment and cut each question or section into strips.
  • Give each team member a strip.
  • The students will respond to the strips.
  • Once they finish answering they pass the strip and until everyone has seen each strip.
  • Students discuss results and wait for answers.
gallery walk
Gallery Walk
  • Questions, terms, information, etc. are placed around the room.
  • Students take a note pad and visit each item.
  • After everyone has visited the items, they can discuss their findings with a neighbor.

Cooperative learning strategies do not require you to create a new lesson, simply apply the strategies to what you already do!


Speed Date Review

  • Muddiest Point
  • Chain Notes
  • Application Article
  • Concept Paper
  • How much do I know?
skill based websites
Skill Based Websites


Wisc Online Learning Objects Shared Resources

Free Rice Vocabulary Builder

  • Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
  • Password
  • Jeopardy
  • Team Review Game

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (2009). With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them: Myths and Realities About Why So Many Students Fail to Finish College. Retrieved at

Bowler, Mike. (2009, August 19), Dropouts Loom Large for Schools. U.S. News and World Reports. Retrieved from

Brookfield, Stephen. (1986). Understanding and facilitating adult learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Chickering, A. W. and Gamson, Z. F. (1991). Applying Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Complete College America. (2012). Remediation: Higher educations bridge to nowhere. Retreived from


Dean, Gary J. (1994). Designing instruction for adult learners. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.

Johnson, David W., Johnson, Roger T., & Smith Karl A. (1991). Cooperative learning: increasing college faculty instructional productivity. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education

Johnson, D. & Johnson, R. (2001). Cooperative Learning. Retrieved from

Kagan, Spencer. (1999). Cooperative Learning. Sam Clemente, CA: Kagan

Knowles, Malcolm S. (1990). The adult learner: a neglected species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publications Company. Retrieved from

Thevenot, Brian. (2010, February 2). A Matter of Degrees. Texas Tribune. Retrieved from


500 Tips for Trainers by Phil Race and Brenda Smith

A Guide to Planning & Implementing Instruction for Adults: A Theme-Based Approach (Jossey Bass Higher and Adult Education Series) by Dirkx and Suzanne M. Prenger

Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers by Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross

Cooperative Learning for Higher Education Faculty (American Council on Education/Oryx Press Series on Higher Education) by Barbara J. Millis and Philip G., Jr. Cottell


Cooperative Learning in Higher Education: Across the Disciplines, Across the Academy (New Pedagogies and Practices for Teaching in Higher Education) by Barbara Millis and James Rhem

Cooperative Learning: Integrating Theory and Practice by Robyn M. Gillies

Interactive Learning in the Higher Education Classroom: Cooperative, Collaborative, and Active

Learning Strategies (The N) by Harvey Charles Foyle

Kagan Cooperative Learning by Spencer Kagan


Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide (Jossey-Bass Higher & Adult Education) by Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, and Lisa M. Baumgartner

Motivation & Learning: A Teacher's Guide to Building Excitement for Learning & Igniting the

Drive for Quality by Spence Rogers

Teacher's Sourcebook for Cooperative Learning: Practical Techniques, Basic Principles, and Frequently Asked Questions by Dr. George M. Jacobs, Michael P. Power, and Wan Inn Loh

Transformative Learning in Practice: Insights from Community, Workplace, and Higher Education by Jack Mezirow and Edward W. Taylor