USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications


Learning in a Community: Evidence of the Effectiveness and Challenges of Learning Communities

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Shelly Wagers

Document Type


Publication Date



Print ISSN: 1051-1253 Online ISSN: 1745-9117


Research on pedagogy has established the benefit of High Impact Practices (HIP) for student outcomes. Learning communities are a specific HIP that can vary widely in their structure. Learning communities appear to have a positive impact on academic outcomes and student perceptions. While research appears to support the use of learning communities, research has yet to fully explore the impact of the learning community on specific student skills. Given the increased popularity in their use, particularly in the field of criminal justice, the purpose of this study is to examine the effect of a linked-course freshman learning community (FLC) on student engagement and transferrable academic skills, including information literacy, critical thinking, and written communication. Differences were found between the FLC students and their non-FLC counterparts for some of the transferrable academic skills, but not overall engagement with the courses and campus. Implications for findings are discussed.


Taylor & Francis