Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding. Some examples: Even in large lecture classes, students can learn from one another.
Learning groups are a common practice, in which five to seven students meet regularly during class throughout the term to solve problems set by the instructor. Many colleges use peer tutors for students who need special help. Learning communities are another popular way of getting students to work together. Students involved in SUNY at Stony Brook’s Federated Learning Communities can take several courses together. The courses, on topics related to a common theme like science, technology, and human values, are from different disciplines. Faculty teaching the courses coordinate their activities while another faculty member, called a "master learner:’ takes the courses with the students. Under the direction of the master learner, students run a seminar which helps them integrate ideas from the separate courses.