In our field of higher education, researchers agree that students in the process of constructing knowledge benefit from peer collaborative learning. In fact, as a social species, all of us take part in a wide range of peer learning experiences each day. Those of us engaged in the study of peer learning seek to discover practices that prove highly effective in terms of student learning and persistence, as well as those that are transportable from one institution to another. The Australasian Journal of Peer Learning is dedicated to bringing its readers those articles that represent the best research and practices in the field. This foreword takes a brief look at Supplemental Instruction, or PASS, which has held a respected place in the field of peer learning since the early 1970s. Supplemental Instruction, which Australian users of the model have brilliantly renamed and adapted into PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) has now reached the mature middle age of 35 years. Many ask what has given SI its staying power over the years. It’s such a simple idea: find the trouble spots in the curriculum; and with the permission of the lecturer, ask a student who has done well in the subject to help others master the content through small group collaborative activities; pay the group Leader; train the Leader to do certain things and not do others; record and analyse the data, and voila, you have something that works. Let me tell you the story of Supplemental Instruction, from its beginnings at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, to its widespread international adoption.
Recommended CitationMartin, D., Foreword, Journal of Peer Learning, 1, 2008, 3-5.