Learning Communities

Guideline:  Help students create a sense of community by encouraging student-faculty and student-student dialogue.

It seems reasonably clear from existing evidence that modest, but statistically significant, positive associations exist between amount of student informal, non-class contact with faculty and such educational outcomes as satisfaction with college, educational aspirations, intellectual and personal development, academic achievement, and freshman to sophomore year persistence in college.

Pascarella, E. T. (1980). Student-Faculty Informal Contact and College Outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 50(4), 545-595. doi: 10.2307/1170295

Unlike a more traditional approach to instruction, learning communities foster the social construction of knowledge, cooperative learning, active learning, an emphasis on integration and synthesis of diverse student perspectives, as well as student-student, student-staff, and staff-staff collaboration.

Stefanou, C. & Salisbury-Glennon, J., “Developing motivation and cognitive learning strategies through an undergraduate learning community”, Learning Environments Research, vol. 5, no. 1, p.78 (2002).

 

Additional References

Gabelnick, F., MacGregor, J., Matthews, R. & Smith, B., eds. Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines, in New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 1990, no. 41, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA (1990).

Lipson, A., Epstein, A., Bras, R., & Hodges, K. (2007). Students’ Perceptions of Terrascope, A Project-Based Freshman Learning Community. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(4), 349-364. doi: 10.1007/s10956-007-9046-6

Osterman, K. F. (2000). Students' Need for Belonging in the School Community. Review of Educational Research, 70(3), 323-367. doi: 10.2307/1170786

Schellens, T., & Valcke, M. (2006). Fostering knowledge construction in university students through asynchronous discussion groups. Computers & Education, 46(4), 349-370. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2004.07.010

Tinto, V., “Classrooms as communities: exploring the educational character of student persistence”, The Journal of Higher Education, vol. 68, no. 6, pp. 599-623 (1997).

Zhao, C.-M., & Kuh, G. (2004). Adding Value: Learning Communities and Student Engagement. Research in Higher Education, 45(2), 115-138. doi: 10.1023/B:RIHE.0000015692.88534.de

 

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