About the Program
Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) is an essential part of student support. It relies on peers who collaborate to learn and teach each other. It is unencumbered by the traditional power structures that exist in the classroom. As such, peer assisted learning advances the idea of learning communities by providing a less restrictive learning environment, increasing accessibility to knowledge, and modeling learning behaviors and skills that encourage success.
We encourage you to collaborate; we encourage you to learn.
PALS requires its tutors to be certified by the CRLA (College Reading and Learning Association). In accordance with this, tutors regularly attend trainings and continue their work with professional development modules. Learning Assistants become certified when they have met the training requirements and face-to-face hours with clients/students necessary for a level of certification. To find out more about becoming a Learning Assistant, click here, or check our regularly updated Student Employment page.
✓ Do support the learning process
✓ Do provide opportunities for personal and academic growth
✓ Do ask questions
✓ Do expect you to participate in the learning
✓ Do encourage independence
✗ Don't provide answers
✗ Don't do homework for you
Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS) is available for many subjects on campus, and it is free. We have learning support sessions, both small and large group, in various rooms on different days and times. Our Learning Assistants are trained and will support you through the learning process. Check the Learning Support Schedule to see the many subjects available.
How to make the most of the Learning Session
You will benefit the most from a session if you are prepared. You need to have read the related materials and completed or attempted to complete your work. You should focus on what it is that you need help with prior to session. This will save time and allow the Learning Assistant to spend time helping you through the learning process rather than trying to figure out what the issue is. Come to the session with a focused issue or specific questions regarding the subject. Please bring necessary materials such as your book, computer, prompts/instructions, or anything else that will help you with your work and help the Learning Assistant better understand the assignment or the issue.
If there is no session for the subject you need help with, you have options: Go to instructor office hours, visit the TA, or join/create a study group. You can also ask questions in class. If you have questions, other students do to. Take a few minutes to get to know your peers in class, and ask if they would like to form a study group. The most efficient study groups have a purpose, and its members have a function: Consider the location when meeting (learning environment); decide on a group focus for each session (maintain purpose); and assign roles to members (task oriented).
University of California, Merced
Bright Success Center
5200 N. Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343