PEER-LED TEAM LEARNING: AN ACTIVE LEARNING METHOD FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
1 City University of New York, New York City College of Technology (UNITED STATES)
2 Northeastern Illinois University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is an outstanding strategy to further education reform and improvement. PLTL increases retention in courses in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering, as well as in other disciplines; improves the learning process and prepares students to work in teams, and creates outstanding student leaders. PLTL engages an experienced and trained student as the overseer of a small group of learners in the capacity of Vygotsky’s “more capable peer.” PLTL has been recognized as a strategy to help students emulate the peer leaders as role models, to reduce student anxiety and build confidence in the learners. PLTL builds strong study skills, develops such critical workplace skills as working in teams, listening, critical thinking, leadership development, and fosters communities of learners who approach learning as a way of life. The peer leaders, generally undergraduate students who are trained for this role, understand the challenges that students have with the material; in a new initiative peer leaders are creating and developing workshop material in conjunction with faculty, augmenting their metacognition. PLTL is an internationally recognized curriculum enhancement strategy adopted at over 150 universities and colleges across the United States, and in the United Kingdom and Jamaica, West Indies. Initially started as Chemistry Workshop, PLTL is coordinated by the Peer-Led Team-Learning International Society (www.pltlis.org). This paper will present the basics of the PLTL instructional model and the practicalities of the six critical components which distinguish the model: integration of the workshop component into the course structure, involvement of the teaching faculty, training and supervision of the peer leaders, creation of challenging materials, and provision of appropriate institutional resources. In addition, the paper will present the results of assessment conducted on student performance and experiences with the PLTL program. Published PLTL data over the past 20 years have shown that using successful peer leaders in small group workshops boost performance in critical first-year courses including core math, science and engineering courses.
Keywords: STEM disciplines, team work, peer lead team learning, peer leaders preparation.