Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


Supplemental instruction (SI), a peer assisted learning model, improves course performance, retention, and graduation rates of post-secondary education students. Researchers have questioned if the success of SI is due to students becoming more aware of assessment demands or if SI also promotes construction of new knowledge. The purposes of this case study were to describe techniques utilized by SI peer leaders, explore how sociocognitive learning techniques are implemented, and explore the perceptions of supplemental instruction program stakeholders regarding sociocognitive learning techniques. The research questions focused on what techniques peer leaders are trained to implement and what peer leaders' perceptions of sociocognitive learning techniques are. Piaget's theories on cognitive conflict and construction of knowledge, Vygotsky's theories on zone of proximal development and sociocognitive learning, and Chi's framework on interactive learning provided the conceptual framework for the study. The case study was conducted at a Northeast United States community college, using interviews with SI administrators and peer leaders (n = 8), voice recordings of SI sessions, and review of training material. The constant comparative method analysis of findings suggest that peer leaders trained in traditional tutoring and sociocognitive learning techniques promote construction of knowledge, and while programmatic and peer leader goals align with sociocognitive learning techniques, student goals do not. One recommendation is to clarify the distinction of SI versus traditional tutoring. This study could lead to positive social change by contributing to expanded goals of SI resulting in enhanced quality of learning for student participants at higher education institutions.