The Innovation: Cyber Peer-Led Team Learning (cPLTL)
Peer-Led Team Learning uses personal interaction to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) student achievement and retention. The pedagogy combines instructor-led lecture sessions with weekly two-hour workshops, where teams of six to eight students solve carefully constructed problems under the guidance of a peer leader. However, some students lack the time to commit to a weekly face-to-face PLTL workshop. cPLTL provides an online alternative allowing students to participate anywhere, anytime.
Results Achieved: cPLTL promotes student emphasis on the problem-solving process than the face-to-face PLTL setting does. In addition, it adds more flexibility in course design and setting without sacrificing academic rigor or outcomes; IUPUI analysis of students’ final exam scores and course grades show the same level of academic performance in both cPLTL and PLTL settings. Refer to the cPLTL team’s papers and presentations for more information.
Long term Goals:
- To foster cPLTL’s adoption at other institutions, especially with community colleges because of their unique position to extend cPLTL’s access and positive outcomes to a broader student population.
- To better understand how students behave in “synchronous virtual environments,” and apply best practices to instructional materials, practices, and technologies. Team research includes a systematic comparison cPLTL and PLTL in an organic chemistry course at IUPUI.
The Grant Project:
IUPUI received an initial grant in April 2011 and follow-on funding in October 2012 from NGLC.
With its initial funding, IUPUI tested cPLTL’s transportability to other institutions: the team refined implementation processes and examined cPLTL’s replication quality in terms of student performance (course grades) and retention (withdrawal rates) at partner institutions. Follow-on funding enabled the cPLTL team to raise awareness and promote adoption through national workshops and conference presentations.