Learning communities are a family of programs, typically implemented at the collegiate level, that intentionally create community to accomplish specific learning objectives or goals. They are characterized by intentionally crafted spaces that bring groups of learners together to achieve shared goals around a central theme, increase interaction and collaboration with peers and faculty both in and out of the classroom, and use active learning techniques to focus on multi-or interdisciplinary concerns. Studies evaluating learning communities’ effectiveness suggest they promote students’ attainment of a wide range of academic and social outcomes important to graduates facing new social, political, and economic challenges.
Rasmussen, Kristin, and Neil J. Salkind. Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology. SAGE
Publications, Inc, 2008, p.579.
Learning Communities in Community Colleges. Fogarty, J., Dunlap, L., Dolan, E. (Available free online at Evergreen State College). This publication includes an extended analysis of how learning communities meet the multiple purposes and pressures of community colleges as well as brief profiles of 18 programs that fit various college goals (e.g., general education, basic skills, and community partnerships). Tips on getting started, a selective list of print resources and a list of information specifically for learning communities in community colleges.
Learning Communities: Reforming Undergraduate Education. Leigh Smith, B., MacGregor, J., Matthews, R., and Gabelnick, F. (In CTLE for checkout) . Learning Communities is a groundbreaking book that shows how learning communities (LCs) can be a flexible and effective approach to enhancing student learning, promoting curricular coherence, and revitalizing faculty. Written by acclaimed national leaders in the leaning communities movement, this book provides the historical, conceptual, and philosophical context for LCs and clearly demonstrates that they can be a key element in institutional transformation.
Discipline Centered Learning Communities: Creating Connections Between Students, Faculty & Curricula. Buch, K. and Baron, K.E. (In CTLE for checkout). Learning communities are a powerful vehicle for creating and sustaining connections amongst students, faculty and the curriculum, but creating one can be a challenge. By providing resources, practical case studies, and theoretical grounding, this volume can both inspire and guide faculty, staff and administration in meeting their pedagogical and curricular goals.
All guides are available under the CC-BY-NC-SA license.