Learning enhancement through peer to peer support

Ginty, Carina and Harding, Nuala (2011) Learning enhancement through peer to peer support. [Conference Proceedings]


This paper describes a collaborative research study in which peer assisted learning has been deployed simultaneously in two institutes of technology in Ireland, across a range of disciplines using an action research cyclical approach. The study is being funded by the Strategic Innovation Fund II, from the Higher Education Authority in Ireland.The aim of the research is to determine if peer assisted learning will enhance the learning experience of the first year participants and the employability skills of the peer leaders. This study conducted using participative action research incorporates three phases, with the first phase evaluated and reviewed in May 2009 using a variety of methods including focus groups, surveys, observations and structured interviews. Conclusions drawn informed the second iteration, which commenced in September 2009. The second phase was reviewed in April 2010 and conclusions drawn will inform the third phase, which commences in September 2010. The third phase will also incorporate the rollout and evaluation of a new PAL Leadership Module (an elective - 5 ECTs - European Credit and Accumulation Transfer System) in both institutes.To date the findings indicate: the challenges associated with growing and embedding the PAL scheme long term; how this flexible approach enhances the first year experience; how PAL Leaders have benefited from the role; staff perceptions of the scheme; timetabled sessions from week one is essential but problematic; support of staff involved on the programmes is imperative; and ongoing promotion and training workshops for staff and students is a key requirement.This study has the potential to inform the development of a model for adapting peer to peer support which is embedded within the policies and learning and teaching strategies of institutes of higher education in Ireland.

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NAIRTL 4th Annual Conference (Cork) 2010 Flexible Learning Conference Proceedings_sm.pdf

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