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The Peer-Assisted Learning Scheme

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Teacher: Dr. Tarloff Im

Department: Talent and Education Development Office, City University of Hong Kong (CityU)


The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected our lives, resulting in schools shut down across the world. To continue student extra-curricular learning, Dr. Tarloff Im, Former Senior Education Development Officer in Talent and Education Development Office at CityU, quickly converted the peer-assisted learning scheme using Supplemental Instruction (PALSI) program to a remote format. PALSI is a course-based learning initiative where well-performing senior students (PALSI leaders) are recruited to lead sessions to discuss academic work and share tips on effective learning with junior students (PALSI students). Dr. Im’s strategies include

(1) delivering special training for PALSI leaders on online teaching skills,

(2) dividing students into small groups to encourage in-session interactions, and

(3) Using a platform familiar to everyone – Zoom.

Upon completion of each semester, a post-survey would be conducted to consolidate students’ feedback. Moreover, students’ GPAs were collected from the registry office with their consent to evaluate the effectiveness of the PALSI program. Former studies have proven that PALSI positively impacts academic results (Im, Chiu, and Ng, 2019; Im et al., 2017). Under the pandemic, Dr. Im's first observation is a higher attendance rate due to the ease of participation in online sessions. He will further investigate the effects of digital transformation on PALSI.

Dr. Im reflected that physical demands such as photocopying and whiteboard accessories diminished after transferring to a remote format. As digital natives, PALSI leaders and students can maximize the advantage of digital technology for teaching and learning. Although Dr. Im intends to return to traditional onsite PALSI when the situation allows, information technology may facilitate more vital face-to-face interactions.

PALSI Website:


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