Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Joshua Bass (advisor)



Educational scholars have recommended using collaborative learning in higher education classrooms to improve the learning outcomes of community college students. The problem is that many community college instructors continue to use traditional lecture methods, which might be due to instructors not being convinced of the merits of collaborative learning. The purpose of this quasi-experimental, causal-comparative, repeated measures, research study was to examine the difference between pre- and posttest change scores on the Personal Community Health assessment of students who were taught with the collaborative method and students who were taught with the lecture method. The theoretical foundation for this study was Knowles' adult learning theory. Data from 150 students were gathered after the students had completed sections of a Personal and Community Health course. While the initial design proposed the use of t test, a Mann-Whitney U test was conducted instead because the data did not meet the t test assumptions. The findings revealed that on average the change scores did not significantly differ between the two instructional methods. While the findings of this study seem to contradict the more generally accepted opinion about collaborative learning, they also seem to suggest that context matters, which is a conclusion supported by some researchers. The findings suggest that to truly make a difference, it is not enough to mandate the use of collaborative learning without further guidance on how to tailor it to the context and needs of the students. With proper tailoring and guidance collaborative learning has the potential to enhance student learning. Once implemented, a follow up study should be conducted to reassess the outcomes.