PASS Sessions

Peer-Assisted Study Sessions for First Year University Students

The challenge: creating a facilitated space where students who have self-identified as needing help on a subject get to learn “how to learn” in a creative and unconventional way through working with peers

Design Team: Me, group of fellow educators and education designer (who led the project)

View sample of the techniques developed here.

The approach: The approach was based on principles of Supplemental Instructions. I worked with a group of similar minded educators and education designers to create an inventory of tools and techniques that could be used to create peer-learning spaces that are highly interactive and explore and implement how to learn better

Key learning or insights:

  1. Using techniques from drama and improv can create some of the most effective ways of learning math and physics (ex. Yes, and vs. Yes, but)
  2. Simple changes in space arrangement can have a large impact on the level of interactivity  and role setting in a session
  3. A room of the  first-year student can be surprisingly open to trying different activities despite feeling self-conscious

The impact of findings: There were many insights as our group designed and conducted 100s of sessions across the STEM fields. All of these contributed to a greater understanding of peer-learning session could be run so both the topic and methods of learning are discussed during the session.

My specific role: I designed and facilitated these sessions for students studying in the first year STEM fields for almost 2 years and I also then coordinated/trained other facilitators.