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Learning Assistants training – for Student Assistants and Tutors

Learning Assistants

Introduction

Central approach at University of Twente is student-driven learning, where students are (co)responsible for their own learning process. To facilitate this and to enhance quality of education in general, students are appointed as Learning Assistants (LAs). Tasks include supporting other students in labwork, groupwork, tutoring and (online) tutorials. CELT offers pedagogical and didactical training to support LAs in their tasks.

This training was redesigned in 2020, with more attention for the learning process of students. The intervention is not only meant to support students’ learning, but also to contribute to efficient and continuous learning of LAs themselves.

Purpose

The goal is to support LAs to support students’ learning and to enhance efficient and continuous learning of LAs.
Content of the training is:

  • Basic generic pedagogical and didactical skills
  • Reflection and other learning skills

General objectives include:

  1. LAs show a reflective, professional attitude aimed at improving their practice as LA;
  2. LAs understand goals, learning activities and assessment of the course in which they work;
  3. LAs make the shift from learner to educator perspective and role.

Two trainings with the duration of one month and a 4 month trajectory have been developed, aimed at LAs with different tasks and roles. The training and trajectory have been designed in a blended (online) format.

For whom:

For Learning assistants.

 Learning assistants are:

  1. Student Assistants: assisting teachers by supporting student learning e.g., during practicals
  2. Tutors: guide students during group work in the project process
  3. Learning Assistant Expert: assist student learning and groupwork, also assist teachers in educational design

Three variants:

1: LA practitioner – Student Assistant
2: LA practitioner – Tutor
3: LA Expert = LA practitioner + intervision/theory sessions


  • Learning Assistant practitioner – Student Assistant

    Learning Assistant practitioner – Student Assistant

    A Learning Assistant in the role of Student Assistant is focused on the learning process of an individual student.

    Result and content

    Result:

    The Learning Assistant in the role of Student Assistant (SA) is able to…

    General – pedagogical, didactical skills: 

    • Support students in their learning process in educational settings (such as tutorials, labwork, lectures, practicals) by:

            o    Motivating students by being aware how learning works
            o    Using adequate listening skills 
            o    Asking the relevant questions, aimed at making the learner responsible
            o    Providing constructive feedback 
            o    Helping students solving problems in a systematic manner 
            o    Making contact and being approachable
            o    Explaining the module or course as a whole, including learning objectives, learning
                  activities and assessment 

     Practice and reflecting: 

    • Develop own role as an assistant in learning by:
      o   Making own learning experiences explicit
      o   Reflecting on own role and performance as a Learning Assistant

     Content:

     Basic principles of learning of people and how to supervise in this process.

    Method and duration

    This training is fully online and exists of a Canvascourse with background information and assignments. The training contains four live online sessions with the trainer. The sessions have a duration from 30 minutes to 1,5 hours.

    Information/Request:

    On demand: In consultation with faculty or programme

    • Group size: min. 5, max. 15 participants
    • Trainers: Trainers of CELT (Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching).

     For more information and/or a request: celt-ces@utwente.nl

  • Learning Assistant practitioner – Tutor

    A Learning Assistant in the role of Tutor is focused on the learning process of a group.

    Result and content

    Result:

    The Learning assistant in the role of Tutor is able to…

    General – didactical skills: 

    • Support a group of students in their learning process in educational settings (such as project work) by:
      o   Motivating students by being aware how learning works
      o   Using adequate listening skills 
      o   Asking the relevant questions, aimed at making the learner responsible
      o   Providing constructive feedback 
      o   Helping students solving problems in a systematic manner 
      o   Making contact and being approachable for students and a group of students
      o   Explaining the module or course as a whole, including learning objectives, learning   activities and assessment 

     Supervising group work: 

    • Facilitate the first meeting with students as a starting point for group learning
    • Work within the context of the Twente Education Model 
    • Support students learning in groups by using group dynamics
    • Manage conflicts aimed at making the group responsible

     Practice and reflecting: 

    • Develop own role as an assistant in learning by:
      o   Making own learning experiences explicit
      o   Reflecting on own role and performance as Learning Assistant

     Content:

     Basic principles of learning of people and how to supervise in this process.

     Method and duration

    This training is fully online and exists of a Canvascourse with background information and assignments. The training contains four live online sessions with the trainer. The sessions have a duration from 30 minutes to 1,5 hours.

     Information/Request:

     On demand: In consultation with faculty or programme

    • Group size: min. 5, max. 15 participants
    • Trainers: Trainers of CELT (Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching).

     For more information and/or a request: celt-ces@utwente.nl

  • Learning Assistant Expert

    A Learning Assistant Expert is focused on the learning process of individual students, group of students in different contexts

    Result and content

    Result:

    The Learning assistant Expert is able to…

    • Support the learning process of students in different educational settings by
      o   Motivating students by being aware how learning works
      o   Using adequate listening skills 
      o   Asking the relevant questions, aimed at making the learner responsible
      o   Providing constructive feedback. 
      o   Providing formative evaluation
      o   Helping students solving problems in a systematic manner, based on the systematic approaches that are applied in their field of work or specific unit
      o   Making contact and being approachable for students and a group of students
      o   Making contact and being approachable for the teacher they work for
      o   Explaining the module or course as a whole, including learning objectives, learning activities and assessment 
    • Provide the teacher with suggestions of improvement based on own experiences and knowledge by taking the constructive alignment into account

    Practice and reflecting: 

    • Develop own role as an assistant in learning by:
      o   Making own learning experiences explicit
      o   Showing a reflective, professional attitude aimed at continuously improving their practice as LA in different contexts

    Content:

    Principles of learning of people and how to supervise in this process.

    Method and duration

    This training is fully online and exists of a Canvas course with background information and assignments.

    This training lasts 2 quartiles.

    • First quartile:
      The first part of the training (LA-practitioner) exists of four live online sessions with the trainer. These sessions have a duration from 30 minutes to 1,5 hours.
      The practitioner training is then followed by 6 sessions with intervision (exchange of practical experiences) and educational theory.

    • Second quartile:
      Two more intervision sessions are planned, to give students the chance to reflect on and learn from their practical experiences and place them in a broader/theoretical perspective.

     Information/Request:

     On demand: In consultation with faculty or programme

    •  Group size: min. 5, max. 15 participants
    • Trainers: Trainers of CELT (Centre of Expertise in Learning and Teaching).

    For more information and/or a request: celt-ces@utwente.nl

  • Support for Learning Assistants

    Next to training CELT offers support for Learning Assistant in the form of (online) self-study.

    In case you would like to look up theoretical concepts or deepen your knowledge on certain topics, we offer Toolboxes with collections of material and sources within different themes.

    If you would like to actively enlarge your comprehension of different topics please consider the conceptmap.

    Toolboxes