University Libraries

About PAL

SMART Locations

Walter Library
Room 204 (2nd floor)
Phone: 612-624-1584
Wilson Library
1st Floor
Phone: 612-626-8262
Magrath Library
Room 75
(just outside library gates)
Phone: 612-624-2125
Note: Media Help available only in Walter and Wilson


Media Questions:
All Other Questions:

Math_1031_PAL_group What is PAL:
  • Weekly study sessions throughout the academic semester for students in participating courses.
  • Rooted in cooperative learning theory.
  • Goals are to improve academic performance and increase persistence to graduation.
  • Research has shown that collaborative learning strategies have a positive impact on both.
  • A comprehensive understanding of the PAL model, published by David Arendale, can be found in the Journal of Higher Education Vol 3, No 2 (2014)

Who leads PAL:
  • Facilitated by undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in the course content and have completed the PAL training.
  • PAL facilitators do not teach; they lead group learning sessions to engage students in discussions/activities that promote a deeper understanding of course concepts.

Why attend PAL:
  • Participating in PAL is an opportunity to practice learning and monitor understanding in a relaxed, informal, and supportive environment.
  • PAL is structured so students see their peers as resources for their own learning.

Math_1031_PAL_board_work How does PAL work:
  • PAL facilitators use small group/pair work to encourage students to verbalize and expand on their thinking and to share it with the larger class.
  • Facilitators create activities to help students break down complex issues into smaller parts. They prepare practice sheets of carefully selected problems that reflect the content of the week's lectures. Homework is not done during PAL.
  • During PAL, facilitators pose challenging questions to connect course concepts, encourage students to consult their notes or textbooks for clarification, redirect questions back to the group, model study skills, and provide opportunities for students to share study strategies, predict exam questions, and prepare answers to questions from lectures.
  • PAL is multi-sensory; students hear, see, say, and do the content of the course, so as to help embed the course material in long-term memory - a key to successful academic performance.

      Click photo to view "What is PAL?" video
Impact of PAL: