The Collaborative’s Research

College students working together

Over five years, the Collaborative is studying how colleges and universities help students strengthen and apply self-directed learning skills. Understanding the current context across our partner institutions is helping us design empirical studies to test what kinds of instructional strategies work best for which students. Together, the contextual knowledge and study results will inform the design of an evidence-based instructional model and related toolkit for faculty. The model and toolkit will be easy to use and build on what instructors and institutions already do.

  • Study of institutional practices and policies. The Collaborative is examining what partner colleges and universities are doing or plan to do to help faculty and students succeed in online courses, and whether institutional policies support these efforts. The study also investigates institutional efforts to strengthen students’ self-directed learning skills, as well as institutional contexts around foundational STEM courses.
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  • Test self-directed learning strategies. In partnership with faculty members, instructional designers, and other staff at partner colleges and universities, Collaborative researchers are conducting rapid-cycle experiments to test and refine targeted, technology-enabled instructional strategies that can support students in strengthening self-directed learning mindsets and skills in online foundational STEM courses.
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  • Create instructional model and toolkit. Building on findings from the study of institutional practices and policies and the tests of self-directed learning strategies, Collaborative researchers will create and pilot a comprehensive instructional model that includes strategies to promote self-directed learning mindsets and skills, including motivational, metacognitive, and applied learning processes. Learn More ▸