Learning Cooperatives Work

At Ithaca, students requesting tutoring in common courses (with the same professors) are placed in groups called “Learning Cooperatives.” According to Gaudet and colleagues (2006) students learn best in structured communities. Some studies show that learning occurs when students hear each other talk and pose questions in different ways.

Our highly trained Learning Coaches (e.g. peer tutors) facilitate the Cooperatives and guide the process. They employ honed methods to encourage higher order thinking and reasoning (Dioso-Henson, 2012). This helps students gain deeper insight into challenging material.

Learning Coaches also share discipline specific study strategies, and they motivate students to succeed! Ithaca College students adjust very well to Learning Cooperatives when they are academically engaged and have a mature approach to the collegiate experience.


Dioso-Henson, L. (2012). The effect of reciprocal peer tutoring and non-reciprocal peer tutoring on the performance of students in college physics. Research in Education, 87(1), 34-49.

Gaudet, A. D., Ramer, L. M., Nakonechny, J., Cragg, J. J., & Ramer, M. S. (2010). Small-Group Learning in an Upper-Level University Biology Class Enhances Academic Performance and Student Attitudes Toward Group Work. PLoS ONE5(12), e15821.