The Undergraduate Learning Assistants (LA) Program in the Sciences at UCLA is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary instructional strategy, in which undergraduate students who have succeeded in a course receive credit to learn how to help the next group of students succeed in that course. It is specifically geared toward large introductory science, engineering and math courses. LAs thus help facilitate active learning and collaborative instruction in discussion, lab, and/or lecture.
The mission of UCLA’s Learning Assistant program is to EMPOWER STUDENTS through inclusive STEM teaching. By facilitating collaborative and inclusive learning, LAs transform the STEM classroom into one that encourages EVERY student to ask, interact, explain, and deepen their own understanding.
The LA program aims to strengthen a few key aspects of UCLA courses:
- Enhance the ability of faculty to scale active and collaborative learning, to more equitably and effectively teach a large and diverse student body.
- Increase the level of student satisfaction and belonging in these courses, and for the LAs themselves.
- Provide feedback to instructors and TAs about ways to improve instruction, since LAs are often more aware of student perspectives and interests than the faculty and TAs teaching the courses.
- Increase the success and skills of the LAs themselves, as they refine their own content knowledge, while gaining new communication skills and a sense of community.