Improving learning outcomes through peer assisted learning in a statics course Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Cioc, Carmen; Haughton, Noela A; Cioc, Sorin; Wojciechowski, Christopher


  • The paper describes the authors’ effort to enhance student learning outcomes related to knowledge of statics concepts by implementing peer-assisted learning (PAL). Students worked on in-class assignments and solved statics problems in small collaborative groups. This strategy was introduced in the Spring 2017 semester and refined in the Spring 2018 and 2019 semesters, with Spring 2015 serving as a pre-PAL cohort. All students used the instructor-developed response worksheet, which scaffolded the PAL activities. A minimum of 15 minutes for each 55 minutes class were dedicated to PAL activities. The evidence from Technical Physics I scores and overall GPA (readiness), five quizzes (knowledge development), three tests (knowledge integration), and final class average (performance), as well as available post course comments show promise. Even though the students in the PAL workgroups were, on average, less prepared than their pre-PAL peers, they performed at least on par with their better prepared pre-PAL cohort without separate remediation. The evidence from this study further supports the value of student-centered and active learning environments. PAL strategies, even when limited to a short period of class time, show promise for increasing student content knowledge and development of important soft skills.

publication date

  • 2020