Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) offers optional weekly sessions to pupils studying a particular module. Facilitated by volunteer Peer Assisted Learning Facilitators (PALF’s), Peer Assisted Learning aims to create an opportunity for further exploration and understanding within the field of study. PAL sessions are in addition to the teaching provision that is already offered by the University, and aims to offer an informal and low-pressure environment for students of all abilities to ask questions, improve their grades, develop study skills and get to know the people on their course.
What are the Benefits of PAL?
PAL has shown to help students of all abilities. Student’s who regularly attend PAL achieve more firsts than those that don’t, have overall higher grade averages than those that don’t, and have a much lower failure rate. Not only is PAL great for academic gains, but there is evidence to suggest PAL has a positive impact on the number of students who stay at University and complete their degree – not surprising as PAL is a great means of support and making friends. Finally, PAL saves students time. Research suggests you can learn as much studying in a group for one hour as three hours of self-study!
Frequently Asked Questions
Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a scheme designed to provide additional study groups led by trained students, known as Peer Assisted Learning Facilitators (PALFs) from the year above.
PAL consists of voluntary study groups outside of lecture hours which are held by trained students, Peer Assisted Learning Facilitators (PALFs), from the year above. The sessions allow people extra time to concentrate on the content that has been covered in that week's lectures.
Attending and engaging in PAL sessions has been proven to increase grades. It’s also a chance to get to know others on your course and those in the year above.
As a PALF, you will never be there to give answers to the students in the session, so you don’t need to have been an expert on the module. All that is required is a demonstration of good communication skills, and to be able to empathise with the students that come to the sessions.
You can enhance your personal development by practising communication, leadership, organisation, team work, interpersonal, professionalism, presentation and facilitation skills. You will also benefit greatly from hearing content from modules and concepts again, cementing your current knowledge.
PAL is created in partnership with the Department/School, and PALFs will work closely with staff members. However, they will only talk to the lecturers about general content issues that came up in the sessions, not in reference to individuals.
At the PAL sessions, the PALFs will not be there to teach any content. They will facilitate the group to work through elements of the module that were talked about in their lectures that week, or an area that the students would like to spend more time on. The techniques that PALFs learn in training will help to encourage independent learning and problem solving within the group.