Using facilitated study groups to improve student retention
Attrition is a problem of concern in many higher education institutions. Research has shown that retention can be improved if students experience social and academic integration.
This paper presents results from a project aimed at using peer learning to increase students’ social and academic integration and thereby retention. A second aim was to achieve this with minimal faculty involvement. Social and academic integration is often seen as restricted to happen in the classroom and being facilitated by teachers. However, faculty resources are often limited and therefore we posed the challenge to minimize teacher involvement in the project. By teaching students how to facilitate peer learning in study groups, academic and social integration was obtained outside the classroom. The work in the study groups was facilitated by ‘real’ peers – not older students. The paper shows that it is possible to obtain academic and especially social integration outside the classroom.