Peer assisted learning scheme (PALS)

Learning alongside other students on your course can give you a greater opportunity to discuss ideas, broaden your knowledge, gain confidence and make friends.

The Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) is a scheme of support for students, by students in the year above on the same course, and takes place as regular coordinated group study sessions. In PALS sessions you will get the opportunity to develop your study skills and revise course content. Your group will be small enough to work together, discussing ideas, completing tasks and checking understanding in a relaxed and friendly environment.

The students running the sessions are called PALS Leaders, they are trained and experienced students who have regular contact with academics in your programme to ensure that PALS sessions are relevant and well planned.

Benefits to participants – how will attending benefit me?

If your course has PALS, your sessions are intended to help you:

  • Increase your understanding of what is expected of you as a University of Plymouth student
  • Support you to settle in quickly to university life
  • Connect with your course and other students
  • Develop and diversify your learning strategies, and study habits to meet the requirements of university study
  • Gain a deeper understanding of your course content and expectations
  • Provides you an informal, collaborative learning space to share and explore learning and ideas
  • Increase your academic performance.

What the students say

“PALS can be a good support network especially for those for whom University is a new experience and it is also a good way to make friends and expand on social networks.”
“Good advice, not just educational but balancing life and work.”
“Leaders are really friendly and helpful. Like the use of examples to help explain things and variety of topics.”

What happens in a PALS Session?

In a PALS session the PALS Leaders facilitate, they do not teach. PALS Leaders help first-year students to help themselves, give them support and advice, and signpost to places where they can get help. PALS Leaders are passing on their own knowledge and information. Most importantly, they set the climate for discussions within a relaxed and informal student-to-student atmosphere.

PALS is a place where all students can dictate the content of a session, can steer sessions towards topics that they really want to cover and can participate in a relaxed, safe environment away from tutors and lecturers. Sessions at the start are usually very much focused on settling in and getting oriented around the campus, whilst later sessions are more linked to things that first-year students have covered in lectures or workshops, as well as developing their study skills.

Become a PALS leader

If you love PALS and your academic programme includes PALS, why not apply to become a PALS leader?

"The reaction from the students is great, and the feeling that you’re doing something worthwhile and helping them through their first term is even better."

Could you run regular study sessions? Lead discussion and revision? Encourage and develop academic skills? Do you want to develop your own skills?

Discover everything you need to know about becoming a PALS leader