Posted in Collaborative Learning, Online Tutoring, Tips for Students

How to Maximize your Education, Part 5 of 6

This series of posts looks at six vital principles for getting the most value out of your education, regardless of how you go about pursuing it.

Principle # 5: Cooperate, don’t compete.

Learning is not a solitary activity.  Any activity is made more enjoyable by engaging with others in positive ways, and active cooperation provides multiple benefits for learning, including engagement, accountability, and support.  We are at our best when we are part of a great team.

Outside the traditional classroom, there are unlimited opportunities for cooperative learning, and the principle “many hands make for lighter work” is the norm.  Inside the traditional classroom, cooperation (defined as “cheating”) may still not be the norm yet, but this in itself provides opportunities for leadership on every level.  As a student in such an environment, you have the opportunity to reach out to your classmates to organize collaborative study sessions and engage with one another in the learning process.  It helps to make a point of getting to know and network with as many of your classmates as possible, not with the aim of cheating of course but with the aim of facilitating everyone’s learning process.  Organizing a regular study group for each class you take is likely to pay off well in terms of enjoyment had and knowledge gained for you and everyone else involved.

A corollary of this is get help when you need to.  If you find yourself struggling in a class or with your education in general, figure out what you need to do to get the support you need.  Classmates can often provide valuable types of support, as can professional helpers like tutors and counselors.  And of course, your actual instructors may or may not be able to provide the kind of help you need, but you can always ask.


Dane Dormio is an online tutor and academic coach who specializes in helping all types of students achieve life and academic success, especially homeschooled students and those preparing for STEM careers. More information and resources can be found on his website at

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