Peer-Assisted Learning

Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) is a peer-led academic support program that consists of regularly-scheduled group study sessions in targeted courses.

PAL is free and available to all students in participating courses who want to improve their course grades and understanding of course material.  PAL sessions are facilitated by trained peer leaders who have previously taken and succeeded in the course they lead. 

Students are welcome to attend PAL sessions as often as they’d like.  Participating in PAL provides the opportunity to study course-related material in an organized, collaborative, low-pressure environment, and its regular schedule can help students stay on top of classes.

PAL sessions are opportunities for students to expand their knowledge of the course material.  Students who participate in PAL regularly are more likely to score higher term grades.  

PAL can help students develop effective study strategies while learning course content through:

  • Collaborating with peers to build a better understanding of content through engaging discussions and activities
  • Comparing and reviewing study notes
  • Preparing for tests and exams

Each PAL course has an assigned peer leader who develops and facilitates two group study sessions each week.  The PAL schedule will be set within the first week of classes, and your course’s peer leader will share the days and times for their sessions for the rest of the term - you’re welcome to join as frequently as you’d like!

Unlike your instructor or TA, PAL leaders will not re-lecture or re-teach material from your course and will not review or help with specific assignment problems during sessions.  The PAL Leaders’ goal is to help you structure and prioritize your study routine to help you get the most out of your time.

  • A welcoming and inclusive environment.  PAL provides an opportunity to meet classmates and work together in a low-stakes, judgement-free environment where you don’t need to worry about making a mistake.
  • To actively participate.  PAL sessions include small group discussions and engaging activities to make content practice more fun.
  • To work through problems and questions.  PAL Leaders will not lecture or do problems for you but will help you to find the answer with your peers.
  • To use course materials.  PAL Leaders may make specific references to lecture notes, textbooks and other course materials during sessions, and they may help you work effectively with your classmates.

As facilitators of PAL sessions, peer leaders:

  • Attend classes to keep up to date with the course material so that PAL sessions keep pace with what you are learning each week.
  • Do not help the instructor make decisions about the course or have access to student data or grades.
  • Receive extensive training on how to facilitate effective group study sessions.
  • Carefully plan each session based on difficult material recently covered in class.
  • Take attendance at each PAL session.  This attendance information is not shared with the instructor and does not influence your course grade but is used by the Academic Success Centre staff for evaluation of the PAL program.  Find out more about PAL privacy information here.

Spring 2024 PAL Courses

Course sections
CHEM 1051 001/002 with Drs. Barry Power & Karen Hattenhauer
COMP 1002 001 with Steph McIntyre
MATH 1000 001 with John Craighead
MATH 1090 001 with John Craighead

PAL Peer Leaders will share session schedules and details with students in participating courses at the start of the semester.

Students in first-year Engineering courses can visit the Engineering One Success Centre's Supplemental Instruction program page for information on participating courses and the semester schedule.  

Instructors interested in PAL for their course can contact us for more information. More details can also be found in the PAL Instructor FAQs.