Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a model of collaborative learning that supplements large lecture courses, typically in science and mathematics. In PLTL, 8-10 students work together on a packet designed to develop course-relevant problem-solving skills in a study group facilitated by a Peer Leader. At Washington University, PLTL was introduced in General Chemistry in 2001 and was introduced for Calculus I in Fall 2004. PLTL for Calculus II followed in Spring 2005 and PLTL for Calculus III was first offered in Fall 2007. PLTL for Physics 197/198 began in the 2018/19 academic year and will continue for Physics 191/192.
Research on PLTL at Washington University has contributed to a growing body of scholarship demonstrating its effectiveness in improving student learning. Insights drawn from this research inform the ongoing improvement of PLTL programs here and around the country.
For more information about the motivation behind PLTL, visit https://circle.wustl.edu/projects/peer-led-team-learning/philosophy/
What Students Say About the Program
The PLTL program was extremely beneficial because I could ask questions about problems that I didn’t understand and someone would be able to help me in a way that I could understand easilyAnonymous / PLTL student
It provided me with practice I probably would not have done otherwise and introduced me to problem-solving strategies I did not know.Anonymous / PLTL student
The environment we had set up where we worked through the problems together, and then if anyone didn’t understand something, we remained on that problem and helped them until they got it. Also, if there was a problem that stumped us all, we all worked together suggesting different ideas to try to figure it out.Anonymous / PLTL student
I enjoyed how friendly my PLTL leader was and how willing other kids were to help me out.Anonymous / PLTL student
Learn more about the program...
- PLTL application procedure
Applications for PLTL groups are submitted online starting on the first day of class during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students in Calculus, Chemistry and Physics will be provided with sign-up instructions and deadlines via email, Canvas and in-class announcements.
Link to PLTL applications for Spring 2021 (will be active from 5pm Monday, January 25 to 5pm Friday, January 29): https://wustl.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8Cy4nAk4Fqnp7Ol
- How to participate in PLTL?
The PLTL application will open at 5:00 p.m. on the first day of class.
After that time, the form will be available here and via links on the Canvas sites for Calculus I, Calculus II, Calculus III, Intro Gen Chem I, Gen Chem I and Physics I.
- Chem 111A and Chem 105 students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday during the first week of class are guaranteed placement into a Chem PLTL group.
- Calc I/II/III students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Friday during the first week of class are guaranteed a spot in a Calc PLTL group.
- Physics 191 students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Friday during the first week of class will be given priority for placement into groups. If there is more demand than there are spots available, students will be placed on a waitlist.
- Students who contact the program directors after that time will be put on a waitlist and placed into groups if spots become available. Each program has different rules and/or deadlines for processing late additions.
PLTL groups begin meeting the weekend after the second week of classes each semester. Attendance is mandatory to promote a productive group experience for all students.
Link to application (will open on first day of class at 5pm): https://wustl.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8Cy4nAk4Fqnp7Ol
- Apply to be a PLTL leader
Invitations to apply for PLTL Leader positions will be sent out in January. Students who have participated in PLTL and have demonstrated success in a relevant course and are interested in developing leadership skills in an academic setting are encouraged to apply. Application review, interviews and selection will be completed during the spring semester. Apply to be a PLTL Leader! (link will be available in early 2021)
- The people behind PLTL at Washington University
Instructors (Leader Training)
- Chemistry: Megan Daschbach, Gabriela Szteinberg, Thomas Bakupog, Taylor Pottgen
- Mathematics: Lisa Kuehne
- The Learning Center: Jay Sriram
- Physics: Robert Vittoe
- CIRCLE/Chemistry: Gina Frey
- Chemistry: Susan Hocking, Sarah Luesse
- Cornerstone: Harvey Fields, Karen DeAngelis
- Mathematics: Blake Thornton
- Physics: Jason Woods, Siera Stoen, Nicole Hudson, Sheila Munsell
- The Teaching Center: Patrick Brown, Mitch Kundel, Bryn Lutes