KoaLa – Cognitively Activating and Collaborative Learning Opportunities

The KoaLa project is concerned with researching and designing cognitively activating and collaborative learning opportunities in schools in challenging circumstances. The project is part of the nationwide research network "Schule macht stark" (SchuMaS).

Project Description

In SchuMaS, measures are developed with 200 partner schools in Germany to improve the learning conditions and learning performance of students at schools in challenging circumstances. Within this framework, KoaLa is developing an professional development course in which teachers and scientists work together on cognitively activating and collaborative teaching concepts.

By developing and offering this professional development module, we not only support teaching and learning practices at participating schools. We also want to better understand the conditions under which cognitively activating learning opportunities and group work are implemented in schools. This includes the question of whether teachers' knowledge, beliefs, and motivation influence their actions. The KoaLa project focuses on the conditions at schools in socially challenging situations. What obstacles and opportunities do teachers experience when they use group work in heterogeneous classes? And what are the prerequisites and potentials of collaborative learning especially at schools in challenging circumstances?

Project Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to improve the learning conditions of children at schools in challenging circumstances and thus to enhance their academic performance and motivation to learn. One starting point for achieving these goals is the professional development of teachers. Therefore, in KoaLa, we work together with representatives from school practice (teachers and staff of the SchuMaS regional centers) on researching and designing cognitively activating and collaborative learning opportunities.


Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Project Management

Prof. Dr. Mareike Kunter

Project Team

Nora Ries

Project Details

Current project
Areas of focus
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
Unit: Teaching and Learning in School Contexts
Education Sectors: Primary and Secondary Education, Further Education
3/2021 - 12/2025
External funding
Contact: Nora Ries, Doctoral Candidate