Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Reading, Language, and Literature

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Feathers


Collaborative instructional approaches have been used effectively in elementary and secondary classes, but there is little that indicates whether collaboration can be successful in workplace classes. This study compared three workplace education classes, two collaborative classrooms and a non-collaborative classroom, to determine the efficacy of such an approach. Both qualitative and quantitative measures were used to determine the effectiveness of collaboration. Instructors' beliefs and attitudes regarding instruction. student learning and classroom environment, as determined by instructor surveys and interviews, were compared with actual classroom observations. T-tests of pre-post content tests were compared with participant surveys, interviews and observations to determine the effects of collaboration on students' learning and changes in students' attitudes. Achievement showed that students in collaborative classes learned more than those in less collaborative classes. These participants also were more satisfied with their class. Participants in the collaborative classes had more positive perceptions of their ability to learn, participate in teamwork and solve problems. Although this study is limited by the size and composition of the classes, the results suggest that clear implications for providing collaborative instructional opportunities for adult learners are effective, especially in workplace education, where team work and problem solving are valued and needed.