Peer Assisted Learning

What is the PAL program?

PAL stands for Peer Assisted Learning. This program is an academic assistance program that is free to students enrolled in select courses and typically merges the success of peer tutoring with the benefits of being a presence in the classroom.

How are PAL leaders chosen?

Once a faculty-mentor commits to the PAL program, he/she will recommend or select a student to be a Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leader. In order to be selected as a PAL Leader, the student must have previously taken and excelled in the identified course. Final hiring decisions are made per the discretion of Tutoring Services.

How is the PAL program different than tutoring?

While the role of a Peer Assisted Learning Leader varies depending on the demands of the PAL course, the traditional Peer Assisted Learning Leader attends the class and holds peer assisted learning sessions, thus creating a peer-led, relaxed learning environment for students. By observing lecture and participating in classroom discussions, the PAL Leader is able to develop a rapport with the students, become aware of content areas where the students may be struggling, and take current notes, making it all the more likely that students will attend the Peer Assisted Learning Leader’s sessions outside of class time for additional study support.

What do PAL sessions entail?

PAL sessions may take on a variety of forms depending on the course. While many PAL Leaders favor one-on-one tutoring, others also organize and facilitate group review sessions. During the occasional times when no students have shown for PAL sessions, Leaders spend their time preparing for future sessions by reviewing class content and/or creating materials that will help students improve their study skills for the course.

How are PAL Leaders trained?

The faculty-mentor and Tutoring Services staff share the responsibilities of training the PAL Leaders. Faculty provide content-specific resources and best practices for learning in their discipline. Tutoring Services offers guidance in best practices for one-on-one or small group tutoring.

What are the benefits to Peer Assisted Learning?

While using the PAL program is completely voluntary, research has shown that students who seek help from Peer Assisted Learning Leaders during lecture and outside of class are more likely to earn higher grades in historically difficult classes.

How do I know if there is a PAL Leader available for my class?

Faculty share information about the PAL program with their students. If you are not sure if you have a PAL Leader in your class, talk with your professor!

As an instructor, how can I learn more about the PAL program?

If you think that a PAL Leader could help your students succeed, contact Cindy Albrecht for more information.

What do students say about the PAL program?

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