Peer Collaborative Learning Programs
Supplemental Instruction (SI) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer collaborative learning study sessions. SI sessions are regularly scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together. The sessions are facilitated by “SI leaders”, students who have previously done well in the course and who attend all class lectures, take notes, and act as model students. Traditionally, SI targets high failure, high enrollment rate courses. In SI study sessions are voluntary and the SI Leader attends all lectures, then provides 3 hours of study sessions outside of the class. Research has shown that participant pass rates are typically higher than non-participant pass rates.
In some cases, Professors have chosen to make the SI sessions a requirement in their syllabi. Students in these cases must attend a certain number of sessions – based on the Professor’s discretion based on performance in exams. This ensures that all students access the extra study time. This version of SI is Performance Based Supplemental Instruction (PBSI).
Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) allows students to work in small groups with their classmates to apply or practice similar problem sets they have learned in class. Depending on the course the student is enrolled in, the student will either attend the PLTL workshops one two hour or two one hour workshops. A PLTL leader will meet with the group to provide the problem sets and help through areas that are difficult to understand.