Tag Archives: peer assisted learning

The student view on Peer Assisted Learning (2014)

Cathy Pink, Jake Ledger, Sherin Rajan, Philip Watson & Jack Wordsworth

This year a Peer Assisted Learning programme was piloted within ACES on Computer Network Engineering whereby 2nd year students facilitated regular PAL sessions with 1st year students.  From a Faculty perspective, the programme aimed to build a sense of belonging amongst participants, support academic skill development and ultimately raise attainment.  Ongoing evaluation will provide evidence as to whether the initial aims of the programme were met with regards to 1st year students.  However, there are also many outcomes for the students who deliver peer support and there has been less focus on this aspect.  This session provides a practical overview as to what is involved in delivering a peer support scheme, gives 2nd year students a chance to voice their experiences and explain what they believe the value of this type of approach can be.

Midwifery PALS: one year on from a successful pilot (2014)

Cathy Malone

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) schemes have been shown to improve students’ grades, improve retention, provide a forum for learning essential study strategies and develop skills in analysis, and critical thinking (Wallace & Rye 1994). PAL schemes that follow the Manchester PASS/SI model provide a model of embedded support at a course level “targeting high risk courses rather than high risk students” (Wallace 96). PAL schemes attempt to tackle retention through incorporating the social inclusion of mentoring with a focus on academic learning. They create a low stakes inclusive context for learning, rooting learning strategy instruction within the academic subject in a very practical and social way. As a result such schemes are recognized as good practice supportive in developing a strong sense of belonging and course identity (Thomas2012, NUS 2013).

“One of the many great benefits of PASS is how it integrates Learning Strategies within academic based group study sessions as well as motivating, exciting and enthusing students about their subject.” (Ody 2014 Head of National PASS /SI Centre personal communication).

This session is an opportunity to hear about such a scheme in Midwifery from the students who have been led it this year. It will provide an account of the scheme and look in particular at the contribution it makes to becoming a health professional.

NUS 2013 NUS Charter on Academic Support available online http://www.worc.ac.uk/academictutor/documents/NUS_AcademicSupportCharter.pdf last accessed 15 May 2014.

Thomas, E. 2012, “Building student engagement and belonging in higher education at a time of change: final report from the What Works? Student Retention and Success programme” HEA Reports http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/what-works-student-retention/What_works_final_report last accessed 15 May 2014

Wallace. J. 1996 ‘Peer tutoring: a collaborative approach’ in S. Wolfendale & J. Corbett (eds) Opening Doors; Learning Support in HE  London Cassell Publishers.

Wallace, J. & Rye, P.D. 1994 “What is Supplemental instruction” in Wallace, J., & Rye, P. D. (eds) Helping students to learn from each other: Supplemental Instruction (pp. 7-8). Birmingham, England: Staff and Educational Development Association.

270 – Midwifery PALS (Peer Assisted Learning) – Cathy Malone

Peer learning or student-to-student mentoring schemes have been introduced in many HEIs in the last decade to help students settle into university life and help them in their learning and personal development (Hampton & Potter, 2009). The peer support scheme developed at Manchester University (PASS/SI) which integrates study support and social induction now has over fifty affiliated schemes in UK universities and involves thousands of students in peer support. Many advocates of these schemes concur with Vygotsky (1978) who suggests that students learn best from and with their peers and stress the benefits available for student participants, leaders and staff (Falchikov 2001) However, peer assisted learning schemes may sometimes be met with doubt (Longfellow et al., 2008).  In this short paper student leaders will report on the initial findings of a pilot peer supported learning scheme in Midwifery that has been running in the last year.  Volunteer student leaders will provide a brief account of the scheme, and present initial student and staff perceptions of the benefits and challenges. Questions will be posed for audience discussion on the issues, benefits and opportunities for student support.Presentation:  http://prezi.com/j6lmhiais6mo/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

270 LTA Power Point ALDHE

240 – Creating and sustaining Peer Supported Learning (PSL) groups – Jeff Waldock

Both through observation and experience it is evident that a powerful student support mechanism is the small scale peer support groups (PSG) that often form naturally within the course cohort.  This poster describes a mechanism for encouraging the development of such groups. As part of a first year module on the mathematics programme, students work in small groups on a project during semester 1, leading to a report, poster and presentation.  The purpose is twofold – firstly to initiate a peer support group from day 1, and secondly to help students develop some key employability skills, such as team work, organisation, leadership, interpersonal skills and communication.  A final year student volunteer is recruited to facilitate this group, through the Peer Assisted Learning scheme.  This scheme has been in operation for four years, having been initiated through a project funded by the Centre for Promoting Learner Autonomy.  The final year PAL leaders, most of whom have been on industrial placement, develop additional employability skills and an enhanced CV through engagement with this process. This poster will summarise the scheme and provide evidence, in the form of student reflective comments, on its benefits. PAL Leader: “It’s certainly made me more confident speaking up in front of a group of people I don’t know. It gave me a good idea of how people work together in a group too, something that you don’t notice as much if you’re actually working within the group.” First year student: “I learnt that to meet new people isn’t as hard as I thought and that we having a group of friends to bounce ideas from one another is a good thing.”

Click to view poster:  240 SHU_LTA_2013_Waldock_PSL