Sustainability and innovation: a blended approach to peer mentor leader training

Jason John Hettrick, Linda Moses-Allison

Abstract


Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) is an established part of widening participation and retention activities at the University of Cumbria. In October 2013, the question of sustainability and growth of the scheme was addressed. The small team of PASS supervisors needed to create an effective and innovative way to meet the challenges of growing and maintaining the universityââ¬â¢s most successful peer mentoring scheme. To this end a new blended approach to PASS training was trialled in 2014. The training combined a range of face-to-face support, training and debriefs (plus online elements), via a virtual learning environment (VLE) and Facebook. Having been successful in both implementation and outcomes, this new blended approach to delivering training has now been adopted by the PASS supervisor team.

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The purpose of this paper is to give an overview of the approaches and methods taken at the University of Cumbria in delivering this blended approach to PASS leader training. Initially it addresses the motivation behind the need for change, in an institutional context. It then explores some of the challenges faced during the implementation and delivery of training. Finally, it reflects on the evaluation and acknowledges future developments for leader training.

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Keywords


peer mentoring; PASS; peer assisted study session; peer assisted learning; sustainability; widening participation; student support.

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ISSN: 1759-667X