The design of the Peer-Led Team Learning model reflects several key ideas (Gosser et al., 2001):
PLTL study groups participate in collaborative learning that is facilitated by a Peer Leader, who is supervised by the course instructor. The Peer Leader, a more advanced undergraduate, does not tell the group how to solve the problem, or tell the group if the solution they develop is correct. Instead, the Peer Leader helps the students learn to work effectively in a group and to decide, through discussion, whether the solution they have developed is correct. Students in PLTL therefore learn to collaborate, but also develop confidence in their abilities to solve problems individually. The PLTL model enables students to become a community of scholars, to take responsibility for their own learning, and to emerge as independent learners.
Six components have been found to be critical to the success of the PLTL model (Gosser et al., 2001):
PLTL at Washington University
At Washington University, the development of PLTL was based on the national model, with one important difference: here, participation in PLTL is voluntary for students enrolled in the participating courses. For more information, see Structure of PLTL at Washington University.
PLTL at Washington University began in General Chemistry in 2001 and has since been expanded to Calculus and General Physics. The implementation of PLTL has developed through the collaboration of The Teaching Center; the Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics; and Cornerstone: The Center for Advanced Learning. Initial support was provided by the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Gosser, D. K., Cracolice, M. S., Kampmeier, J. A., Roth, V., Strozak, V. S., & Varma-Nelson, P. (2001). Peer-led team learning: A guidebook. New York: Prentice Hall.
Peer-Led Team Learning Workshop Project: http://www.pltl.org.