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Learning Communities

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What are Learning Communities?

At Purdue University, Learning Communities (LCs) are academic programs that allow first-year students from the same major or with similar academic interests to:

  • Take two to three of the same courses together;
  • Reside with their classmates on the same residence hall floors; or
  • Do both take the same courses together and live in the same residence hall.

Purdue's coordinated Learning Community (LC) effort started in fall 1999. Since then, over 8,330 first-year students have benefited from participating in a Learning Community.

What are the benefits of Learning Communities?

In all cases, benefits of Learning Communities include:

  • Interaction between students and faculty with the importance of academic success stressed;
  • Faculty and instructors spending considerable time ensuring that the content associated with the two or three linked courses is connected; and
  • Faculty and instructors using funds they receive to conduct out-of-class activities that compliment students' in-class learning.

How do students get into a Learning Community?

While students apply to be in a Learning Community via the online application found at http://www.purdue.edu/sats/learning_communities/.

What types of students participate in Learning Communities?

Learning Communities attract a diverse student population. For example, the 2007-08 LCs participant were:

  • 56% female,
  • 18% racial minorities,
  • 55% Indiana residents,
  • 43% non-Indiana, domestic U.S. residents, and
  • 3% international students.

Learning Communities not only attract a diverse group of students to Purdue, they also increase their chances of staying at the University.

What does the research show?

Purdue University's aggregate retention for all cohorts through the 2005-06 academic year shows an 88.14% retention rate for participants and a 84.98% retention rate for non-participants, a difference statistically significant. Students who participate do better in their coursework (as measured by grades), state that they are better satisfied with their overall Purdue experience, and are, overall, more involved with the University community.

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