Welcome to my Adult Education Toolkit

The three approaches to facilitating adult learning listed below represent important aspects of my teaching philosophy.  I believe these three approaches to learning are essential ways to motivate the adult learner.  Explore the resources provided to learn more about each approach, and download my complete teaching philosophy here. 



Collaborative learning is the teaching format for structuring learning in groups and teams.  Essentially, collaborative learning is the process of working with others, and the number of individuals can vary.  A team or group can range from two people, to eight people or more. There are many benefits to collaborative learning including increased learning retention and transfer, idea generation, and being able to solve problems an individual with only one perspective would not be able to solve alone. Solving the world’s wicked problems requires collaboration, and learning with groups and teams can set the foundation for students to gain essential skills to apply to their roles and careers in life.

  • Multiple Perspectives

  • Team Projects

  • Cultivating Empathy

  • Idea Generation

  • Open Ended Goals

  • Collaboration



Educational Use

Collaborative learning can be used in a variety of learning scenarios for adult learners.  Most importantly, collaborative learning is most beneficial in scenarios where multiple perspectives are needed to accomplish learning and problem solving.  Collaborative learning also is essential for creating a respectful and inclusive learning environment.


Some methods for introducing collaborative learning are:
  • Case Studies

  • Project Based Learning

  • Team Based Learning

  • Peer Reviews and Critiques

  • Structured Debate and Discussion

  • Role Playing Scenarios


When structuring collaborative learning it is important for the facilitator to:
  • Determine size of group or team

  • Facilitate creating norms for groups to follow

  • Provide assignment or activity structure and learning objectives

  • Monitor progress and keep learning on track

  • Provide specific feedback in a timely manner

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  • This website has an variety of strategies for structuring collaborative learning for your facilitation needs, including large and small group structures for active learning.

  • This PDF from the Univeristy of Florida is a long list of strategies for facilitating students in collaborative learning. 


Davis, J. R., & Arend, B. (2013). Facilitating seven ways of learning: A resource for more purposeful, effective, and enjoyable college teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub.

Examples of Active Learning Activities. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2019, from http://www.queensu.ca/teachingandlearning/modules/active/12_exmples_of_active_learning_activities.html

Interactive Techniques[PDF]. (n.d.). Orlando: University of Central Florida.


Questions and Answers about Collaborative Learning Infographic[JPEG]. (2016, July 21).



Teaching through inquiry is a facilitation model revolving around students actively asking questions and seeking answers to problems in their world.  This model focuses on teaching thinking processes, questioning societal norms, and being able to understand multiple perspectives on a given topic. The facilitator implements teaching through inquiry by designing essential questions relevant to students, modeling thinking processes and research methods, and guiding discussion and reflection throughout the learning process.

Inquiry 1.png

  • Visible Thinking Routines are a variety of structured activities that guide the inquiry process and help make thinking visible for your students. They were created by Harvard's Project Zero.

  • The excellent chart in this PDF highlights additional techniques for using technology to support the inquiry process.

  • Generating Questions, Seeking Answers

  • Creative Thinking

  • Critical Thinking

  • Dialogical Thinking

  • Philosophy

  • Multiple Perspectives

  • Creating Hypotheses

  • Evaluating Topic

  • Collecting Evidence

  • Conducting Research

  • Reflection

Educational Use

Facilitators can use inquiry based teaching in their classroom in a variety of ways and delivery methods. Inquiry can be executed by an individual student, or in a collaborative setting with groups and teams.  There are three main formats for delivering instruction through inquiry where are: Structured Inquiry, Guided Inquiry, and Open Inquiry. A facilitator may choose to follow one of these methods for their facilitation needs, move towards open inquiry as they become more experienced, or move in between them based on the lesson objectives.


Structured Inquiry
  • Teacher selects the topic

  • Teacher creates the essential questions

  • Teacher guides learning by organizing the learning process for students to experience

  • Teacher facilitates reflection and sharing


Guided Inquiry
  • Teacher chooses topic

  • Students and teacher generate a list of questions

  • Teacher guides inquiry by modeling research techniques and thinking processes

  • Teacher facilitates reflection and sharing


Open Inquiry

  • Students select topic

  • Students generate questions

  • Students independently research and apply thinking processes independently

  • Teacher supports student journey

  • Teacher supports reflection and sharing


Davis, J. R., & Arend, B. (2013). Facilitating seven ways of learning: A resource for more purposeful, effective, and enjoyable college teaching. Sterling, VA:  Stylus Pub.

Inquiry Learning. (2015-19). Retrieved from http://www.nysed.gov/school-library-services/teaching-learning-inquiry-learning

Kasel, E., & Yorks, L. (2002). Collaborative Inquiry for Adult Learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education,94. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.ezproxy2.library.colostate.edu/doi/epdf/10.1002/ace.54.

Kelly, S. Q. (2019, February 05). Teaching, Inquiry, and Technology. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from http://tlinnovations.cikeys.com/teaching-learning/teaching-inquiry-and-technology/

Visible Thinking. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.visiblethinkingpz.org/VisibleThinking_html_files/VisibleThinking1.html

What is Inquiry Based Learning?[Video]. (2014, May 25).



Experiential learning is the process of learning through reflection of real world experiences.  This facilitation method is rooted in research by educational theorists such as John Dewey and David A Kolb, who make the argument humans learn by actively doing, and then reflecting on the experience.  Studies in cognitive neuroscience support these theories by proving that our brains are wired to retain and transfer information that we gain by engaging in multi sensory experiences.

  • “Real World’ Learning Environment

  • Reflection

  • Personal Growth

  • Multi sensory

  • Culture

  • Community

Educational Use

Experiential learning is best when the learning outcomes involve personal growth and the necessary application of skills and content.  For example, as an art teacher I would require my students to experience art making themselves instead of just viewing or reading material on art mediums or art history.  Experiential learning is often seen being developed in technical career training programs, art and medical schools, universities, and service career training.


Ways to facilitate Experiential Learning:
  • Connecting students with partner organizations or mentors

  • Internships

  • Study Abroad Programs

  • Journaling and Reflective Writing

  • Field Trips

  • Portfolio Creation


The facilitator’s role in Experiential Learning:


  • Match learners with appropriate learning experiences

  • Set goals with students for their experiences

  • Provide background knowledge, content, and theory prior to and congruent with the experience

  • Facilitate ongoing reflection for students

  • Provide continuous feedback and review

  • This PDF highlights the connections between John Dewey's theories on Experiential Education and today's learning environment.

  • This is a great article explaining Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle.

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Davis, J. R., & Arend, B. (2013). Facilitating seven ways of learning: A resource for more purposeful, effective, and enjoyable college teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub.

Beard, C. (n.d.). Dewey in the World of Experiential Education[PDF]. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.

HumberCTL. (2017, January 23). Teaching Tips Experiential Learning Model. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDchcHORheM

Mcleod, S. (2017, February 05). Kolb's Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle. Retrieved April 29, 2019, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

What is Experiential Education Infographic[JPEG]. (2017, August 30).