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Learning Assistant Model

Learning Assistant Model

Oregon State University’s LA Program is based on the LA Model, first started at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The LA Model’s General Program Elements are Pedagogy, Practice, and Content Preparation. LAs learn how to best support student learning (pedagogy), facilitate student learning in LA supported courses (practice), and deepen their disciplinary and pedagogical content knowledge in regular meetings with faculty (content preparation). While the specific implementation of these elements varies across programs and courses, all LA Programs include these three General Program Elements. The Learning Assistant Alliance supports more than 100 participating institutions around the world.

Training, practice and content knowledge

The OSU LA Program contains three integral pieces:

  • First-time LAs complete a pedagogy course in which they discuss learning theory, teaching strategies, metacognition, and students’ conceptions all in the context of their LA work.
  • LAs practice what they learn in the pedagogy course when interacting with other LAs and faculty at weekly preparatory meetings and when interacting with other students through course activities, such as classroom group work sessions or in informal learning spaces like office hours.
  • Working with their lead faculty member, LAs not only deepen their content knowledge (at weekly preparatory meetings) but also discuss how students learn in the course in which they facilitate.

Essential Elements of the LA Model

    Three key elements define the LA Model: practice, pedagogy and content. This figure shows the relationship between these elements. Each element is in a distinct circle but connected to each other element by a double-sided arrow. For the full text of this figure, an accessible download is available in the following link.
    Learning Assistants working in a lecture hall.

    Get connected: Learning Assistant Alliance

    Connect with other faculty on the Oregon State University campus, and across the world, through the Learning Assistant Alliance website. Through this site you can learn how other institutions are working with Learning Assistants as well as access an online undergraduate assessment tool (LASSO). OSU Faculty working with LAs can find opportunities for training and mentorship at local, regional, and national workshops. Contact program coordinator Devon Quick ( to learn more!

    Future directions

    The LA Program hopes to develop an Ecampus pedagogy course, enabling Ecampus students to become LAs for Ecampus courses. This would support experiential learning opportunities for non-Corvallis campus based students.

    The LA Program would like to continue to grow, offering more faculty opportunities for working with LAs and transforming their courses for student success.

    LA program goals

    1. Improve student success and learning in undergraduate STEM courses, other courses
    2. Support curricular and course transformation efforts in undergraduate science and math courses
    3. Provide experiential learning opportunities for OSU students to learn about science teaching and research as they develop their professional science and interpersonal skills
    4. Promote institutional change and faculty growth