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  • Writer's pictureEdovo Content Team

Study buddy up: How learning together benefits the incarcerated

Updated: Jun 4

Plus some resources you can access for free also available to your loved one behind bars through the Edovo platform.


Self-study textbooks can feel so isolating within the confines of a prison or jail cell. Luckily, Edovo offers a ton of interactive content to keep learning engaging and fun. But what if there was a way incarcerated individuals could learn that not only boosted knowledge but also fostered a sense of connection?

Let’s unpack the power of partner study.

Studies consistently show that studying alongside others can be a powerful tool for incarcerated individuals, promoting positive mental health, motivation and a more fulfilling experience. Consider the following studies:

  • Research published in the journal "Teaching and Learning in Medicine" found that collaborative learning environments can increase comprehension by up to 50% compared to individual study. Discussing concepts with fellow learners allows participants to explain information in their own words, solidifying their understanding and promoting critical thinking. Engaging with diverse perspectives on a topic challenges assumptions and leads to a richer grasp of the material, keeping learning dynamic and engaging.

  • Feeling overwhelmed by a complex subject or the weight of incarceration? A University of Texas at Austin study highlights the power of collaborative problem-solving in groups. Working together, students were more likely to find solutions and overcome challenges. Brainstorming ideas with your loved one during visits can spark new insights, foster a sense of teamwork, and offer a glimmer of hope through shared experiences.

  • And it’s not just about academics. Studying together fosters a sense of connection and belonging that can be particularly vital within the isolation of prison. Sharing the challenges and triumphs of learning with others  can alleviate stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness. A 2018 study in the "International Journal of Educational Research" found that students who studied collaboratively reported feeling more motivated and engaged. This sense of connection can be a powerful tool for promoting mental health and well-being in incarcerated individuals.

Luckily, Edovo makes studying together a possibility.

How to start learning together.

While the Edovo platform offers a vast library of programming  specifically designed for incarcerated learners, many of these resources are also available for free to the public! This opens the door for a unique way to connect with your incarcerated loved one.

Here's the idea:

  1. Explore Free Resources Below: Browse the free resources available for both you and your loved one below. Find something that interests you both.

  2. Schedule Learning Time: Commit to a regular schedule where you can both delve into the chosen topic independently.

  3. Discuss & Share: During phone calls or visits, dedicate time to discuss key takeaways and insights from your learning.

By sharing this learning journey, even when physically apart, you can create a powerful sense of connection and shared growth. It's a meaningful way to bridge the distance and stay connected.

List of resources including links for public access:

  • Ear Hustle: Launched in 2017, Ear Hustle is a groundbreaking podcast offering a raw and authentic look at life behind bars. Originally featuring stories directly from incarcerated people at California's San Quentin, it has grown to encompass the experiences of those formerly incarcerated, creating a powerful narrative of life before, during, and after prison. 

  • Google’s Applied Digital Skills: Google's Applied Digital Skills program tackles the gap between basic computer use and real-world application. This free online resource offers video lessons that teach practical digital skills for everyday life and work. The program goes beyond the mechanics of using a computer and focuses on how to leverage technology for communication, research, problem-solving, collaboration, creating content, and even data analysis.

  • Real Vida TV: Real Vida TV is a Christian podcast offering uplifting messages to incarcerated individuals, but the message extends to everyone seeking a deeper connection with God. 

  • News Inside: News Inside is a free, award-winning print publication distributed in jails and prisons across the U.S. Published by The Marshall Project, it offers incarcerated individuals a platform to share their stories and experiences. News Inside features articles on various topics relevant to the prison system, aiming to inform, inspire, and empower those behind bars.

  • Inside Story: A video series created by The Marshall Project in collaboration with VICE News. The program delves into the realities of the U.S. criminal justice system, featuring first-person stories and perspectives from people directly impacted. "Inside Story" aims to expose injustices and spark conversation around issues within the prison system.

  • Prison Professors: Prison Professors offers free and low-cost self-directed resources to help people navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. Their materials, created by individuals who have been through the system themselves, equip users with the knowledge and tools to advocate for themselves at every stage, from pre-sentencing to re-entry. By empowering those impacted by incarceration, Prison Professors aims to improve outcomes and promote success.

  • The 98% - Life After Prison: This podcast explores the challenges and triumphs of life after prison. Hosted by individuals who have gone through the system themselves, "The 98" offers a unique perspective on re-entry. Listeners can expect honest conversations about adjusting to life outside, overcoming obstacles, and building a future after incarceration.

  • The Loop from Shining Light: The Loop is a free, interactive magazine designed for people in prison. It features inspiring stories and activities focused on building character strengths, all created with the help of incarcerated individuals, alumni who have successfully reintegrated into society, and Shining Light staff. By exploring positive psychology themes, The Loop fosters a sense of community and empowers incarcerated individuals to develop tools for positive growth throughout their time behind bars. Access all archived issues, also all available on Edovo, here.

  • The Roadtrip Nation Experience: Roadtrip Nation's online course, "Find Your Path," empowers learners to discover their interests and explore potential careers. Through self-reflection exercises, video lessons, and discussions, the course helps participants connect their passions to real-world opportunities. Learners even get the chance to interview someone working in a field that interests them, gaining valuable firsthand insights. This project-based course is designed to spark self-discovery and guide learners on their unique career paths.

  • LinkedIn’s Professional Soft Skills: This 12-course LinkedIn Learning program equips you with the communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills employers seek today. Through a series of bite-sized video lessons and engaging projects, you'll learn the art of effective communication, essential for navigating the workplace and building strong professional relationships. This program is designed to help you stand out and thrive in your career.

  • Modern States: Modern States is a nonprofit that helps learners earn college credit for free. They offer online courses aligned with widely accepted CLEP exams. By studying these courses and passing the CLEP exams, students can potentially earn college credit at over 2,900 colleges and universities, making a significant dent in their freshman year costs. See all the Modern States courses offered on Edovo here.

  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a free online resource that provides educational materials. It offers courses in math, science, humanities, test prep, and life skills. Khan Academy also offers tools for teachers. These tools allow teachers to track student progress and tailor instruction.

This is just a taste of the possibilities! We know everyone has unique interests. Can't find the perfect topic to spark your collaborative learning journey? No problem! Just contact us and our team will be happy to help you find resources that fit you and your loved one's passions.

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