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Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a form of instruction adapted from the Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) student-centered instructional model where students actively learn in a small group facilitated by a peer leader. In a typical workshop, six to eight students meet with a peer leader for one to two hours per week and work as a team to solve carefully structured problems that are designed to foster both critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. The faculty is closely involved by creating workshop problems and activities geared to students' ability levels. The modules utilize key course concepts, channel student efforts into effective collaboration, and provide demonstrations of applications that are meaningful and relevant to the students.

The Peer Assisted Learning program provides undergraduates an opportunity to develop their leadership skills through facilitating mathematics and science workshops. The peer leaders are students who have recently taken the course and received a grade of B+ or higher. They are selected for their academic ability, usually a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and their interpersonal and communication skills are also factors which are considered. They are trained in a one-credit course, MEDU 2901: Peer Leader Training in Mathematics.

Benefits of a peer leader:

  • Develop strong mastery of the subject area
  • Learn to create an academic community
  • Train in facilitation and group management skills
  • Develop deeper sense on how to approach the process of learning
  • Learn to motivate and stimulate peers
  • Communicate effectively
  • Gain self-confidence

Peer Assisted Learning in Mathematics and Science workshops are offered every fall and spring semesters. For a listing of PAL workshops please click here.

Gosser, D., Cracolice, M., Kampmeier, J., Roth, V., Strozak, (2001). Peer-Led Team Learning: A Guidebook. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Quitadamo, I.J., Brahler, C.J., Crouch, G.J. (2009). Peer-Led Team Learning: A Prospective Method for Increasing Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Science Courses. Science Educator, 18, 1 (Spring), 29-39.

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