Frequently Asked Questions

The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was developed at the University of Colorado - Boulder in 2001 and is currently implemented at over 150 institutions world-wide. 

What is a Learning Assistant (LA) Program?

A Learning Assistant (LA) Program supports LAs, faculty and students by transforming courses so they are more closely aligned with research based instructional strategies. At Florida Atlantic, this may look slightly different depending on the class, as the courses are individually redesigned by our faculty, with support of LA professionals. 

Who are Learning Assistants (LAs)?

Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who, through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement.

How is the LA Program different from Supplemental Instruction (SI) or tutoring?

SI and tutoring are excellent peer-led academic support services that occur OUTSIDE of the classroom. The LA Program happens INSIDE the classroom and is built into the course. This provides greater equity by allowing all students the opportunity to be involved. LA does not replace SI or tutoring; all academic support works together in concert to provide students optimal opportunities for success. At FAU, some courses have LA, SI, and tutoring available for students. 

What are the benefits of the LA Program?

The LA program offers advantages for students, faculty, and the university by working with faculty to create active and collaborative learning environments, positively enhancing student learning outcomes.

Student benefits: 
• Improved student learning in a collaborative environment 
• Enhanced student experience both in the classroom and overall at the institution
• Development of essential workforce competencies, such as teamwork and critical thinking skills 
• Increased grades lead to increased degree completion

Faculty benefits:
• Opportunities to learn about and implement more engaging educational experiences for students
• Greater student outcomes and increased student satisfaction with teaching
• Build a professional network with colleagues involved with the LA model

University benefits:
• Improved DFW, retention, and graduation rates for FAU students, leading to financial cost savings to the institution
• Improved student satisfaction with their overall educational experience
• Increased faculty satisfaction with teaching

What are redesigned courses?

Redesigned courses utilize intentional materials that facilitate active student engagement. In addition, faculty design ways for LAs to promote interaction and collaboration among students. 

Is the LA Program only for STEM courses?

No, the LA Program can be implemented in any course.

Where can I find more information on the LA Model?

Visit the Learning Assistant Alliance for more information.

LA group by Banyan Tree
Spring 2023 Science LAs (partial)