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CAE - Learning Center

Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL)

The Learning Center in conjunction with Dyson College of Arts and Sciences offers Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) Special Discussion Groups in particular sections of certain courses.

The PLTL Special Discussion Group model engages teams of no more than ten students in learning sciences, mathematics and other undergraduate disciplines guided by a peer leader. The PLTL Special Discussion Group model:

  • Provides an active learning experience for students
  • Creates a leadership role for undergraduates
  • Engages faculty in a creative new dimension of instruction

Students who have done well in the course previously become peer leaders. For the peer leaders, the experience of working with faculty and guiding their peers through a difficult course is rewarding and unforgettable, and can have a profound effect on their individual and professional growth.


The Role of Peer Leaders

Special Discussion Group peer leaders actively engage students with the course materials and with each other. This facilitation can take many forms:

  • Using various techniques for problem solving
  • Offering timely assistance when a group is stuck
  • Providing guidance and encouragement

The Special Discussion Group leaders don't dispense answers; they must know when to help, and when not to. The workshop leader sets a tone for the discussion in which individual points of view are respected, criticism is constructive, and all members have an equal opportunity to participate.

PLTL Critical Components

  • The Discussion Group is a regular course component which all students are expected to attend.
  • The faculty teaching the course are closely involved with the discussion groups and the peer leaders.
  • The peer leaders are well trained and closely supervised, with attention to content knowledge and teaching and learning techniques.
  • The Discussion Group materials are challenging and encourage collaborative problem solving.
  • Organizational arrangements are optimized to promote learning.
  • There is appropriate institutional support for innovative teaching.

Current PLTL Special Discussion Group Offerings

To find the PLTL Special Discussion Groups we offer for the current (or upcoming) semester, visit the PTLT website.