What is Peer Assisted Learning?
Initially developed in America as Supplemental Instruction (SI), and adapted into Peer Assisted Study Scheme (PASS) and the more flexible Peer Assisted Learning (PAL), it involves more senior students facilitating discussion sessions with more junior students. Peer learning can help learners make sense of knowledge and unsaid rules in academia, by creating more informal learning environments with approachable PAL leaders. The PAL leaders themselves tend to develop communication, leadership and time management skills, as well as having an opportunity to consolidate material they have already covered (Capstick, 2003)
How are we using it in Computer Architecture, in the School of Informatics?
Dr Roy Crole was keen to develop stronger routes of communication between himself and students within his Computer Architecture module and to create more opportunities for first year students to receive support and feedback. Roy and the team of students, supported by Leicester Learning Institute, co-developed time-tabled tutorial sessions along the principles of PAL. PAL leaders explored the differences between facilitation and teaching, techniques to promote useful discussion, and the pastoral boundaries of their roles.
@PAL Leaders: Thank you for your hard work, and we look forward to seeing how this progresses!