Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Information science (social aspects), Library science

Publication Details

Paper presented at LILAC (Librarians Information Literacy Annual Conference)


This paper presents the work of the Peer Assisted Learning Support Programme (PALS) at the Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT Dublin) which was initiated in September 2014.

All first year students at ITT Dublin must complete a five credit module called Learning to Learn at Third Level (L2L). This module was introduced in 2012 to develop a range of core academic and information and digital literacy skills including research, writing, critical thinking and referencing skills. Collaborative work between the Library at ITT Dublin and the Department of Mechanical Engineering on this module has focused on the development of a range of digital learning resources and a Peer Assisted Learning Support Programme (PALS) in which students from second, third and fourth year work with students in the L2L class as they develop their literacy skills. The aim of the PALS programme is to develop a support structure for first year engineering students, which will enhance student transition into Higher Education and provide learners with an environment to develop key academic, information and digital literacy skills.

This paper will outline the structure of the PALS programme, how it has been implemented and will discuss some of the key observations and findings. Lessons learned on the project so far have concluded that in the L2L classroom the peers have a critical role in the development of a first year student’s awareness of their metacognitive processes. Peers can act as role models and guides and can help students form the essential linkages between the different methodologies and resources they will need to be successful in Higher Education and beyond. The paper will discuss how the PALS programme has provided students in ITT Dublin with a distinctive first year experience, deepened information and digital literacy skills, and created a collaborative culture that supports student centred lifelong learning.

The PALS programme has proved to be a great success and the paper will describe how aspects of the programme can be further developed and how this initiative can be applied to other modules in the Institute.