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This is Your Library: Supported Learning Groups (SLGs)

Returning students may be familiar with Supported Learning Groups (SLGs), offered in the library throughout the semester. Maybe you remember a student who stood up at the front of the lecture hall on one of the first days of classes and introduced themselves as an SLG leader. Or maybe you know friends who have attended an SLG previously, or you’ve even gone yourself! But if you’re new to U of G you might be confused as to what an SLG is. Allow us to introduce you to one of the most valued services offered at library: Supported Learning Groups.

This is your library, and these are your Supported Learning Groups.

What are Supported Learning Groups?

SLGs are weekly, peer-led, group study sessions facilitated by upper year students specifically for historically challenging courses. SLGs are dedicated study time that combine essential academic skills with a review of course content. All U of G students are welcome at SLGs!

When students attend an SLG session, they engage in active, collaborative, peer-to-peer learning, supported by strategies and techniques that help them retain course material. These sessions use a variety of methods that support student recall, transition, and social inclusion. “By attending SLGs students are more likely to get to know other people in their courses,” said Kimm Khagram, acting manager, Supported Learning Groups. Students work together to figure out what they do and don’t know with the SLG leader acting as a facilitator.

SLGs are most effective when students attend them throughout the semester instead of only attending the sessions right before their exam. We encourage students to come to SLG sessions regularly because the practice of reviewing material repeatedly is more effective than reviewing it once just before an exam.

How do you know if your class has an SLG? It’s simple—the SLG leader for your section of the course will introduce themselves within the first few days of classes, or you can check the semester SLG schedule on our website.

What happens during an SLG session?

All SLG sessions are drop in, voluntary, and anonymous. During an SLG session students are expected to do all the processing—these are not tutoring sessions. “The SLG leaders can guide you, but cannot give you the correct answers,” said an undergraduate marketing management student at U of G. Students attending a session collaborate to review aspects of the previous lecture. In an SLG session learning is active and engaged, not passive and received.

“I started going to SLGs halfway through the semester to prepare for my statistics midterms and exam,” said the student. “They were hosted in the evenings and ranged from one to two hours.” A typical session can involve working through problems on a whiteboard, playing a game, or leaving it up to the students attending the session to make decisions about how they want to review. “I personally like to work on the handouts and take up my answers with friends or other students,” said the same student.

Who are SLG leaders?

SLG leaders are high achieving, empathetic, service-oriented students who have taken the course before and have done well. SLG leaders are model students who have demonstrated skills and attitudes that lead to success in academics and other aspects of campus life. “By attending SLGs you have access to upper year students—and we hire great upper year students—who have already succeeded in the course,” said Khagram. Using their interpersonal skills and specialized training, SLG leaders facilitate SLG sessions to reflect the content taught during class.

Why might someone want to take on the responsibility of being an SLG leader? SLG leaders get a jump start on professional skills they will use in their fields after graduation. Because of this experience, being an SLG leader is a resume booster. SLG leaders also often gain valuable relationships with faculty that can lead to increased academic resources, mentorships, and even letters of reference. Interested in becoming an SLG leader in the future? Follow the library on social media—we’ll keep you updated about when new postings become available throughout the academic year! We’re on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Why attend SLGs?

SLG sessions foster connections and friendships on campus. Research shows that students who are more connected on campus are more likely to stay in school and have a positive university experience. SLGs give students the opportunity to meet others in their courses and provide dedicated study time.

SLGs also allow students to use discipline specific terminology outside of the classroom. Engaging in course content is a factor in retention and acts as a confidence booster. “SLGs are an extremely helpful resource for students to use! The handouts they give out are so helpful when studying,” said the student we spoke with. SLGs introduce students to a variety of effective study strategies that help them to deepen their understanding of course content.

If you have any questions about the library, or want further information on SLGs, please contact us at library@uoguelph.ca.

Interested in learning more about what is happening this semester at the library? Visit our Workshops and Events page at lib.uoguelph.ca