Program Overview

ECU’s LA program is based on the International Learning Assistant model, which originated at CU-Boulder.  We are a member of the Learning Assistant Alliance, a community made up of people from institutions who share resources and experiences to transform courses within their disciplines and recruit future K-12 math, science and engineering teachers through the use of Learning Assistants.

What is a Learning Assistant Program?

A Learning Assistant Program supports Learning Assistants, faculty, and students by transforming courses so that they are more closely aligned with research-based instructional strategies.

Who are Learning Assistants?

LA’s 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.

What are the goals of an LA Program?

Every LA program incorporates four major goals of varying emphasis: curriculum & course transformation, K-12 teacher recruitment and preparation, institutional change, and discipline-based education research.

Curriculum & course transformation

The LA Model supports course transformation into active student learning.

Discipline-based education research

The LA Model introduces and supports conversations between math and science research faculty about education research and its role in creating effective learning spaces.

Institutional change

The LA model acts as a change agent in faculty, departments, and institutional practices by providing infrastructure to support and reward instructional innovation.

Teacher recruitment & preparation

The LA model is an effective method of recruitment and preparation for future k-12 teachers. It can both provide exposure and generate interest to undergraduates who had never thought of teaching as a career before and help those who are on the fence decide if teaching is right for them. Meanwhile, the LA program emphasizes “best practices” and provides diverse student support which are helpful for students at any level.

Figure shows the four goals of the LA program; Curriculum & course transformation; Discipline-based educational research; institutional change, and teacher recruitment & preparation

Figure adapted from materials produced by the Learning Assistant Alliance

What are transformed courses?

A transformed course supported by LAs involves active learning and opportunities for groups of students to work toward a learning goal and for instructors to make instructional decisions based on student ideas. Transformed courses use LAs to promote interaction and collaboration among students, generate discussion among faculty, and evaluate learning outcomes.

I have really enjoyed and learned a lot from being in classes that had LA's. I was able to apply what I had learned and that helped me understand the concepts better.
- Hannah Farmer, Biology Learning Assistant