Learning Assistants Program
Who are Learning Assistants?
Learning Assistants (LAs) are students who successfully complete a course and then return to the class as a volunteer. The LA promotes learning by facilitating discussions, asking thoughtful questions, addressing misconceptions, and fostering a collaborative environment in the classroom.
LAs help transform courses into an active-learning environment where students, LAs, and faculty all work together to understand core concepts on a deeper level. Since LAs recently worked through course material, they are better able to identify common struggles and how students work through them.
LAs are not responsible for teaching the material or grading and are looked at as a peer rather than an authoritative figure. Based on University of Colorado-Boulder’s Learning Assistant Model, the program focuses on three pillars: practice, content, and pedagogy.
- Practice: LAs encourage and support discourse as small groups of students work on collaborative group tasks
- Pedagogy: First time LAs participate in a weekly education seminar led by a faculty member
- Content: LAs engage in weekly planning sessions with their faculty mentor
Consider Joining the Learning Assistants Program
How do LAs benefit?
Learning Assistants create and foster relationships with their faculty mentor through weekly meetings. During these meetings, mentors discuss the upcoming week's material while LAs provide feedback related to their own experience with the material. Since they will be revisiting the course material from a different perspective they gain a better understanding of the course content. LAs attend a weekly pedagogy seminar where they learn how to facilitate productive conversations and discuss their struggles and successes with other LAs from around campus. Learning Assistants earn up to 3 upper-division education credits depending on their LA commitments.
How do instructors benefit?
Learning Assistants help create a more collaborative and active learning environment in your classroom. Since they only recently completed the course, they are able to identify and help correct students' misconceptions. They provide regular feedback to you related to both your teaching strategies and what they struggled with when they took the course. Learning Assistants attend a weekly pedagogy seminar where they learn research-based instructional strategies that they can help you implement directly into your courses such as peer-learning, formative assessment, ConcepTest questions, metacognition, and midterm evaluation surveys.