Sharing ideas for Learning and Teaching

Tagged: PAL

Training the Trainers to Enhance Peer Support

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📥  Case Studies


Peer learning schemes at the University of Bath are student-led, discipline-owned and centrally coordinated through the Students’ Union. The success of these programmes relies both on enthusiastic volunteers and an intensive training package that fully prepares students for their role. Since adopting a centralised model of peer support at the University, the number of students involved has increased with now over 950 students volunteering. Whilst the growth in numbers shows institutional buy-in to peer learning, there is now greater pressure on staff supporting such schemes, for example training volunteers.

Following a successful bid through the Teaching Development Fund (TDF), secured in collaboration with the Academic Skills Centre, the SU was able to review its existing training provision. An online element was added to the peer mentor training and a cross-institutional training team was set up to support the face-to-face provision. Staff from all areas within the University were invited to apply to be trainers and the project resulted in the recruitment of seven trainers (see appendix 1).

Not only were the benefits of this training team seen by the Peer Support Team, but the trainers themselves also benefited in many ways. They were able to broaden their own work experience, develop key transferable skills, gain a better understanding of the student experience and use this experience towards professional recognition. (more…)


Exploring the Benefits of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL): an evaluation of University undergraduate PAL schemes

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📥  Case Studies


Peer support, comprising peer mentoring and peer assisted learning (PAL), is an important component of HE and thus contributes to the University’s Education objectives. Our investment in PAL is significant, especially where it is essential for professional accreditation. There has been very little research within our institution as to the advantages of PAL and the steps we can take to improve it.

This project aimed to define the benefits of PAL and produce guidelines promoting successful PAL schemes with maximal student engagement. We used a qualitative approach to evaluate the perceived benefits from attendees across a range of PAL schemes at the University of Bath. Qualitative data obtained through SAMIS evaluations and focus groups, were used to assess the overall benefits of PAL, learn more about the key criteria required for successful schemes and identify effective strategies which promote engagement and inclusivity. PAL attendance and student grades will provide quantitative data to assess the impact of PAL on academic performance

Guidance produced through this project, together with a summary of accompanying benefits, will be available on peer support webpages hosted through the Students’ Union (SU). These will enable PAL to develop across our institution and enhance the student experience.   (more…)