About Peer Learning Consultants

The foundation of the Peer Assisted Learning Program is our staff of trained undergraduate students. Students working as Peer Learning Consultants provide a similar type of academic collegiality for their peers that faculty find among their own colleagues at Furman and in their discipline.

A Peer Learning Consultant’s job is to be a collaborator and co-learner alongside students as you engage and struggle with course materials. With their training in teaching and learning theories, tutoring methods, and collaborative learning techniques, the Peer Learning Consultants are excellent partners as you work through course content and establish effective study habits and metacognitive strategies for enhancing your learning.

Peer Learning Consultants are chosen from a pool of applicants and faculty recommendations each year. Applicants are asked to list a faculty reference for the subjects they want to support. The faculty reference is an important part of the application process and students are encouraged to consider who can best speak to their content knowledge and suitability to serve as a role model for their fellow students.

40
Peer Learning Consultants on staff for Fall 2020
17
Peer Learning Consultants have used Furman's tutoring services themselves
32
academic majors and minors represented

Training

All Peer Learning Consultants complete training in a variety of topics at the time they are hired. All training is online and asynchronous through Moodle for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Initial Onboarding

This module introduces Peer Learning Consultants to the tools and internal processes used by Furman and the Peer Assisted Learning Program for managing student employment, submitting timecards, communicating with team members while working remotely, and managing appointments and group sessions.

Teaching & Learning Theories

We introduce Peer Learning Consultants to several teaching and learning theories that underpin best practices in group and individual tutoring. These include:

  • Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset
  • Benjamin Bloom’s revised Taxonomy for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
  • David Kolb’s Experiential Learning
  • and Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and scaffolding
Tutoring Tips & Methods

This module introduces Peer Learning Consultants to best practices in tutoring, including effective study methods, metacognitive learning strategies, and test preparation techniques that they can facilitate in their sessions.

Group Tutoring

Peer Learning Consultants learn about different collaborative learning techniques that they can use to help students in a group learn from each other as well as from the Peer Learning Consultant. Examples include think aloud problem solving, note taking pairs, structuring group discussions, and methods for encouraging reciprocal teaching between students.

Class Study Groups

To facilitate a Class Study Group, Peer Learning Consultants draw on all of the previous training to help students. Some of the most important skills include helping students set individual and group learning goals that are “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound); managing time during each study session; and helping students use collaborative learning techniques to learn from and teach each other.