What Is a Learning Community?
A learning community is a small group or cohort of students who share common academic goals and work collaboratively in the classroom with one or more professors. At LIU Brooklyn, we offer First Year Learning Communities for entering students and Collaborative Learning Communities for all students.
When you enroll in a learning community, you will be part of a cohort of 22-24 students. Together, you will take courses that are either “linked” thematically or enhanced by peer learning. By taking classes together and/or engaging in peer-to-peer learning, you get to know each other better, learn from each other, and support each other. And because classes are limited to 22-24 students, you and your instructors will get to know each other better, too!
In First Year Learning Communities, you will enroll in two or three classes that satisfy core requirements while the faculty collaborates to create a more integrated learning experience. Your instructors will teach the material required for the course and work closely together to connect their courses through a common theme. For example, in a learning community that links Composition and Psychology, a common theme might be “health” and you might use writing, research, and critical thinking to explore the psychological implications of a health problem such as diabetes. This way, you can connect and apply what you learn.
Because there are many different themes, you can usually find one that relates to your academic and/or career interests. Or you can explore a new subject or idea, perhaps discovering a lifelong passion or even a new direction. If you are undecided about your major, learning communities can introduce you to a new way of looking at the world.
In Collaborative Learning Communities, you will enroll in a single class, such as Biology 1 or Psychology 3, and form a learning community by working closely with the professor and one or more peer leaders who help facilitate peer learning. By studying together with other students and a peer leader, a student who has successfully completed the course and works with your professor, you will have the chance to ask questions, talk through subject matter you find confusing, and work together with your classmates to learn the material.
Students who experience more social, connected learning tend to become more engaged in and out of the classroom community and thus increase their potential for academic success. In a learning community, you will also get additional support because the learning communities program has its own advisers and works closely with other student support services. Most learning communities satisfy core requirements. Most important, they make learning fun. They help students learn to love learning.