Intentional living-learning (LL) communities that expand upon the Oxford and Cambridge models of residential living are higher education's attempt to respond to the student and societal need for a quality and seamless education. These learning communities are not a response to one problem in higher education; they are a response to myriad concerns and fundamental issues identified by a number of national higher education reports. & #8230;Learning communities respond, in part, to the mismatched expectations of students and faculty, as well as to the inadequate amount of intellectual interaction between faculty and students and between students and students (Pasque & Murphy, ¶ 2).
Learning communities may or may not directly or indirectly enhance academic achievement, according to Pasque and Murphy (2005). The authors found from their study, albeit, that for specific students, learning communities did directly relate to academic achievement, even though not significantly.
Eric Daffron and Christopher J. Holland (2009), both with Mississippi University for Women, examine the effectiveness of living-learning communities in the journal publication, "Honors living-learning communities: A model of success and collaboration." Frequently on college campuses, academic affairs and student affairs work do not regularly interact with each other. "In their traditional roles, academic affairs promote students' learning in the classroom while student affairs care for students' personal development outside the classroom" (Daffron & Holland, ¶ 1). Daffron and Holland argue that to ensure graduate students are equipped to meet the modern world challenges, higher education has the responsibility to initiate collaborative projects that connect the disparate facets of students' lives. As LLs model collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs, they qualify as a positive means to help meet relevant goals.
Previous research assessing the effectiveness of living-learning communities highlights the positive effects living-learning communities contribute to students' cognitive and psychosocial development. The research also relates the literature proffers a blueprint that both academic affairs and student affairs may follow. The undergraduate students' experiences reveal that students need communities where they may live as individuals and as members of a community of developing scholars (Daffron & Holland, 2009).
As campuses employ LL programs/environments as practical interventions, findings reveal that livinglearning programs regularly produce positive outcomes for both academic achievement and intellectual engagement. Living-learning programs, Pasque and Murphy (2005) contend, serve to predict students' academic achievement and their intellectual engagement. Expectations of students and faculty, nevertheless, along with the amount of intellectual interacti
As Millennials will one day graduate from their student status to individuals who manage educational, community and global affairs in their future, LL offers the opportunity for these individual to become better equipped to engage in learning and that will last at the end of their official learning season. As the student attending the University of Minnesota reports, it offers benefits one may not obtain when living in regular dorms.
In LL, the perfect environment for implementing strategies that enhance personal involvement in learning students learn by doing and teaching others, by engaging in relevant repetitions, from engaging their emotions in the study realms, and by living in an "immediacy" culture.
The research reviewed for this paper indicates that living-learning students exhibit higher levels of engagement. As Stevens (2000) stresses, although programs may vary in struc-ture and programs they offer, they increase the student's feeling of being connected to the institution, as well as his/her retention, involvement and sense of community. Interactions between faculty and students and between students and students factor, however, also factor in to determining the results the student involved in LL may experience.
Some authors such as Inkelas, et al. (2006) argue that the impact of LL programs on students' perceptions of their cognitive growth appears "less influential than on their perceived growth in liberal learning" (p. 115). These authors, nevertheless, as the majority of authors the researcher reviewed, admit that LL, as well as LL program peer environments do contribute to the student's intellectual growth. Students in residential learning communities, most researchers concur, surpass those students living in traditional residence halls as they participate more in campus activities and interact more with instructors and peers. They also experience greater gains in or higher levels of intellectual development and experience a more transition to/through college as they utilize campus resources and procure assistance from peers, faculty, and staff.
Lessons that last from LL include but are not limited to the student realizing ways he/she may integrate his/her interests/passions with their classes/courses, as well as into future personal and professional endeavors. From their integrative learning, students also learn that their desire for a better world may begin right within the residence hall where they experience ongoing opportunities and learn from role models and courses they attend.
Brower (2007) concludes that LL offers solutions to the problems regarding millennials in their quest to secure higher education. To counter students feeling a disconnect in their "passions/interests, their courses, and their res[idence] hall and other college experiences" (¶ 45), Brower asserts that LL helps bridge this disconnect by:
Showing students how to connect learning as they live in the LL environment;
Helping them realize ways they may integrate their interests/passions with their classes/courses;
Showing them that their desire for a better world can be realized within the residence hall as they "encounter continual opportunities, role models, courses, and support for integrative learning" (Brower, 2007, ¶ 45),
These reasons, Brower (2007) asserts constitute the reason L/L programs work.
Brower, a.M. (2007). Continuing Trends and Long-Term Effects of Living Learning
Participation. Living Learning Programs Conference. National Study of Living Learning
Programs (NSLLP). Oct 15-17, 2007. St. Louis, MO. Retrieved October 27, 2009 from http://www.livelearnstudy.net/images/2007_ACUHOILLC_CLOSING_Plenary.pdf
Daffron, E. & Holland, C.J. (2009). Honors living-learning communities: A model of success and collaboration. Honors in Practice. National Collegiate Honors Council.
Eck, J.C., Edge, H. & Stephenson, K. (2007). Investigating types of student engagement through living-learning communities: The perspective from Rollins college. Assessment Update:
Progress, Trends, and Practices in Higher Education. Vol 19, No. 3.
Helms, M. (2003). University of Minnesota students start fall classes. Retrieved October 15,
2009, from http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2003/09/02_helmsm_backtoschool/
Inkelas, K. et. Al (2006). The role of living-learning programs in students' perceptions of intellectual growth at three large universities. NASPA Journal. Vol. 43, no. 1.
Inkelas, K. & Weisman, J.L. (2003). Different by design: An examination of student outcomes among participants in three types of living-learning programs. Journal of College Student
Longerbeam, S.D. & Sedlacek, W.E. (2006). Attitudes toward diversity and living-learning outcomes among first- and second-year college students. NASPA Journal. Vol. 43, no.
Pasque, P. & Murphy, R. (2005). The Intersections of Living-Learning Programs and Social
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