Supplemental Learning at UBC

SL Wordle sml

What is Supplemental Learning?

Supplemental Learning (SL) is offered in historically difficult first- and second-year courses, such as Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus.  These courses traditionally have a high D, F and W rate and usually a high enrolment of more than 150 students. 

SL provides an opportunity for you to get together with people in your class to compare notes, to discuss important concepts, to develop strategies for studying the subject, and to test yourselves before your professor does, so that when he/she does, you'll be ready.  

Attendance at sessions is voluntary and is for any student wanting to improve their understanding of the course material.

How does it work?

Supplemental Learning can help you learn course material more efficiently.

Under the SL model, an SL leader is placed in your class to listen to the lectures. Then at each SL session, your SL leader will guide you through the lecture material with practice problems and other opportunities. With the SL leader’s support, you will work collaboratively in small groups with the material, answer questions, and learn challenging class concepts.

What's a Supplemental Learning leader?

Have you ever wished you could do something over, knowing what you know now?

SL leaders are students themselves and are prepared to share with you what they have learned over the years about how to study.  They are competent students who have previously taken your course.  They know the course content, have done well in class, are recommended by the faculty, and want to help guide you through your class experience.

Your SL leader will be in class with you every day, hearing what you hear and reading what you read, and know the important stuff to focus on.

Leaders love their subjects and often they have some pretty creative ideas and strategies for how to learn chemistry, physics, or any other SL-supported course. They also work with the faculty member to ensure every session aligns with every lecture.

SL leaders will not: SL leaders will:
  • Lecture
  • Re-lecture – you can’t skip class and expect an SL session to replace it
  • Evaluate your work (they are not tutors or TAs)
  • Solve problems for you
  • Help you think about the lectures you hear and the books you read, and then put it all together
  • Provide sample questions and activities that help you work with class concepts
  • Facilitate learning sessions highlighting the key points from lectures to help you develop the skills to do well
  • Get you thinking about how to solve problems for yourself

What's in it for me?

If you attend SL sessions regularly, chances are you'll earn a better grade.   You'll develop a better understanding of course content, and more effective ways of studying.   This will help you in other classes also.

We know through tracking attendance at SL sessions than students who attend five or more times throughout the semester rarely fail and will do significantly better than those who do not attend. This is regardless of incoming grades.

Who goes to SL?

Anybody who wants to do better in the course!   After five years of SL on campus, we know it has impacted student success, increased retention in our most difficult courses, and become one of the most popular ways to learn on campus.   SL is established in more than 25 courses every semester and every first-year student should have access to at least one SL-supported course.

Last reviewed shim1/8/2019 2:38:30 PM

When do Supplemental Learning sessions start?

Supplemental Learning Sessions are now underway. Be sure to check the Session Schedules to see when the sessions are being offered. We look forward to seeing you in SL!

Contact Us

Breanne Molnar
Coordinator, Learning Resources
The University of British Columbia
Okanagan campus
P: 250 807-8065

Session Schedules


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