Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)

We’re so excited to be leading on a new Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) pilot scheme next year! It will be for foundation year students in the College of Life and Natural Sciences and we are looking to recruit leaders from the same college.

What is PAL? A quick Glossary:

PAL: Stands for Peer Assisted Learning. This means learning with your ‘peers’ – other students – to talk through topics taught by your lecturers to better your understanding. PAL does not replace teaching and PAL Leaders are not teachers.

PAL Leader: Peer Assisted Learning Leader. These are the students who plan and deliver the sessions to students. PAL Leaders are current students too, and they deliver sessions to students in a year or two lower than themselves. The scheme is led by the students, so the PAL Leader will need to ask the students what topics they would like to cover. This could be work that the students feel the need more support with, a topic students feel passionate about or a topic they would like to explore in more depth.

Academic Liaison: This is a member of the academic team who work closely with the PAL Leader to create the PAL sessions.

Why is PAL so useful?

We have heard from many students, from many universities, from many countries how valuable PAL is! I’m sure you can all remember a time when a fellow student was able to explain something and it just clicked with you – that is what PAL is all about! That peer support, from the Leader and the other students in the PAL sessions, and being able to talk a topic or problem openly through with peers is a great and effective way to learn.

How do I sign up to these sessions?

We aim to have all foundation programmes in the College of Life and Natural Sciences covered by a PAL Leader, or a pair of them, by November 2019 ready for their first session. PAL Leaders will be coming in to classes to discuss PAL with you, and your tutors will be able to give you more information on where to find out when your PAL sessions are. Alternatively you can also contact our Training & Development Coordinator for more information: Jennifer.allam@derbyunion.co.uk.

What would a PAL Leader need to do?

As a PAL Leader you would ask students what they are struggling with or want more exploration on and work with a member of the academic team that we would set up for you to create sessions for those students. Typically the sessions would be for groups of around 10-15 students. You would receive full training and support from us throughout the pilot, and you would be expected to host five 1-hour sessions throughout the 2019/20 academic year, one month apart. Because this is a pilot we will also ask you to reflect on the experience and give us your thoughts on whether the scheme has been beneficial to you, what worked well and any ideas for improvement in the future.

How do I become a PAL Leader?

Feel free to email our Training & Development Coordinator Jennifer.allam@derbyunion.co.uk with any questions but you can just go ahead and register your interest by completing this form.

What happens after I complete the form?

We will continue to review all applications sent through the form above, and if you are successful we will invite you in for a chat with us. If you are successful at this stage then we will match you up with a group of students and an Academic Liaison (a member of the academic team you will work with to create your sessions), and train and support you to deliver your first introductory session with learners in November.

I’d like to know more from a PAL Leader directly about their experience

Chris was a PAL Leader last year with the university, and is going to continue his role again next year with us on our pilot. He wrote a great blog about his experience.

Can I be involved with PAL if I’m not in the College of Life and Natural Sciences?

Absolutely! Although we are running our pilot in this college, the university will continue to run PAL for all other students, university-wide. If you’d like to take part as a leader or a learner in another college, find out more on the University website.