New Publication: Understanding the Peer Assisted Learning Model

Since 2006, the PAL program at the University of Minnesopta has contributed to improved academic performance of participating PAL students in rigorous introductory-level college courses.The program is built upon best practices from previous international peer learning models like Supplemental Instruction, Peer-led Team Learning, Emerging Scholars Program, and others.  PAL is also guided by learning theories such as Universal Design for Learning to make the model more culturally-sensitive and embedded within the courses to increase its effectiveness for all students.  Both quantitative and qualitative studies of PAL validate its effectiveness for increasing academic success of participating students and fostering development of personal and social skills.  In addition to benefits for the participants, the PAL experience benefits PAL facilitators through deeper mastery of rigorous course material, increased confidence in public speaking and small group management skills, and encouragement to pursue a teaching career.  While the PAL program was started to address the achievement gap in courses, it has bloomed into one that also enhances personal and professional skills for all that are involved.Built upon principles identified by other academic support programs and innovations of its own creation, PAL is an integral part of UMN’s overall academic support efforts.

Arendale, D. R. (2014). Understanding the Peer Assistance Learning model: Student study groups in challenging college courses. International Journal of Higher Education, 3(2), 1-12. doi:10.5430/ijhe.v3n2p  Retrieved from

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