Investigation into the Learning Assistant Experience and Related Considerations for Learning Assistant Model Implementation




Ikedionwu, Ifeoma

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Classroom dynamics that incorporate undergraduates have existed for decades and have proven beneficial in increasing students’ retention and overall class grades. In 2003, the University of Colorado, Boulder, created the Learning Assistant (LA) Program to utilize undergraduates beyond the professor and the students to foster higher-order cognitive thinking in the classroom. Many studies have investigated the benefits of LAs in the classroom. Some show that LAs help students conceptualize and apply material more so than in traditional instruction classes. In other studies, implementing the LA program has cut down on professor instruction time and increased peer-to-peer collaboration which has shown to foster more positive learning spaces. However, there has not been substantial research done on how the LA program affects and benefits the undergraduate Learning Assistants themselves. This thesis aims to investigate the Learning Assistant experience through LA-supported faculty, and undergraduates who are or were LAs to provide insight into their experience as well as provide consideration for ways to best implement LA programs to optimally benefit the professors, students, and undergraduate LAs.



Education, Pedagogy, Biology