How to Make the Most of Learning Communities

Learning Community

Did you participate in a learning community during your higher education experience? A learning community is a group of people (generally students) who meet either online or in-person on a regular basis to collaborate on studies. These individuals have a similarly focused goal of advancing in their studies and higher education career. Participating in a learning community will give you a variety of benefits. This article will address how you can make the most of your experience in one of these groups.

1. Benefits of Learning Communities

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you should participate in a learning community, you should consider the various benefits that can be gained from joining one.

  • Self-Discipline – Participants will develop self-discipline and expand on studying skills.
  • Friendship – Students who participate will gain new friends and cultivate their network.
  • Expansion – College experiences are expanded as students learn outside the classroom.
  • Mentorship – Some groups provide course-specific mentoring for students that need it.
  • Course Credit – Some universities give credits to students participating in a community.

2. How to Make the Most of Your Experience

If you are considering participating in a learning community, you should first consider the most effective ways to make the most of your experience. Some of those factors are discussed below.

  • Research – It is important to begin the process by diligently researching your options for the right learning community to participate in. Remember that not every college or university has learning communities. Check with your campus advisor or visit your university website or student center to ascertain what is available at your school.
  • Evaluate – The second step is to evaluate your personal goals for what you hope to accomplish by participating in the learning community. What are your reasons for joining? If all you’re after is a good time of socializing, you will be wasting your time as well as everyone else’s.
  • Resolve – Make a resolute decision to achieve all the learning goals that you have set. When you resolve to do something (and write down your goals), you drastically increase your chances of achieving all those goals and finding educational success. Remember, that the learning community can help you as long as you make the appropriate efforts.
  • Prioritize – It is vital that you prioritize your strategy for how you hope to achieve all of your educational goals while participating in this learning community. For example, make a decision that you will not go overboard with the socializing factor. Networking with other college students and making friends is important. However, you must find the balance so that you mesh the studying and socializing factors effectively.
  • Facilitate – Enable an effective learning experience by finding an accountability partner. This person can be someone in the community or someone else from your educational network. Make sure that the person you decide to hold you accountable is an individual that you trust and has exhibited reliability in your college experience.

3. Enhancing Your Future Professional Career

Another important factor that you need to consider with regard to joining a learning community is that participating in one can enhance your future career. Participating in a learning community can be included as content on your resume.

Demonstrating your personal advancement and skills learned and developed from such a community can help to build your resume and demonstrate your university experience in a positive light. Considering this factor, should encourage you to be extremely strategic in how you manage your time when participating in this community. You will make the most of your learning community when you realize that your participation in it will positively impact your future professional career.

See Also: How to Create Your Own Learning Environment  

If you have participated in a learning community, what was your experience like? Did you find that your time in the community was well spent? Please feel free to share how that experience affected your future career.