Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Mac Alford

Committee Member 2 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. Fengwei Bai

Committee Member 4 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 5

Dr. Richard Heard

Committee Member 5 Department

Coastal Sciences, Gulf Coast Research Laboratory


Community colleges enroll more than half of the undergraduate population in the United States, thereby retaining students of varying demographics with extracurricular demands differing from traditional four-year university students. Often in a collegiate lecture course, students are limited in their abilities to absorb and process information presented by their instructors due to content-specific cognitive gaps between the instructor and the student (Preszler, 2009). Research has shown implementation of instructor-facilitated action learning workshops as supplemental instruction may help bridge these cognitive gaps allowing better student conceptualization and dissemination of knowledge (Drake, 2001; Fullilove & Treisman, 1990; Preszler, 2009; Udovick et al., 2002).

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of cooperative action learning workshops and independent action learning workshops on students’ knowledge of specified topics within a General Biology I with lab course. The results of this investigation indicate that implementation of an instructor-facilitated action learning workshop did not affect students’ knowledge gain; furthermore, attendance of a particular workshop style (independent or cooperative) did not affect students’ knowledge gain.