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Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools

Strategy i: Structure learning experiences as a mix of group and individual instruction that promotes peer learning, and help learners develop the skills and confidence for working and learning in groups.


The Best of Both Worlds: Using Individualized and Group Instruction
Ahrens Learning Center staff
After using individualized instruction for many years, this program shifted to a combination of individualized and group instruction. After restructuring classes, enrollment doubled.

Getting into Groups
Michael Pritza
In Gilmer County, Georgia, a shift from individualized instruction to classes and discussion groups increased student persistence and participation. Importantly, the topics for the discussion groups were selected by the students, and participation was open to all students regardless of level.

A Slow Conversion to Reading Groups
Susan Watson
Overcoming fear and skepticism, the author gradually enticed ABE students to participate in a reading group, where they read books of their choosing. In the process, the students learned a wide array of literacy skills, test scores rose very quickly, and the students began enjoying reading and discussing books with each other.

Why Students Stay: Retention and Persistence Factors
Trish Link
In comparing a longitudinal study of Pennsylvania students who had strong persistence with the findings of NCSALL’s persistence study, the author noted several common conclusions: the value of support from surrounding people, having goals, and self-confidence. The PA study also highlighted the importance of feeling connected to a community of learners and having trusting relationships with teachers.


Power of Cohort and Collaborative Groups  
Eleanor Drago-Severson, Deborah Helsing, Robert Kegan, Nancy Popp, Maria Broderick, & Kathryn Portnow  
This study of the relationship between adult development and learning found that the interpersonal relationships that students developed made a critical difference to their academic learning, emotional and psychological well-being, ability to broaden their perspectives, and persistence. The participants valued highly their sense of belonging in the group and benefited substantially from their cohort experiences.

Will Cooperative Learning Affect GED Retention?
Mary Jeannette Kelly
Student persistence increased from 57.3% to 85.7% in this GED class after cooperative learning was implemented by the teacher.  The teacher also observed an “increasingly relaxed class atmosphere” where students were more at ease with one another.