Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL)

About the program

Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a model of collaborative learning that supplements large lecture courses, typically in science and mathematics. In PLTL, 8-10 students work together on a packet designed to develop course-relevant problem-solving skills in a study group facilitated by a Peer Leader.

At Washington University, PLTL was introduced in General Chemistry in 2001 and was quickly expanded to Calculus I/II/III. New for Spring 2019: PLTL for Physics 198

Research on PLTL at Washington University has contributed to a growing body of scholarship demonstrating its effectiveness in improving student learning. Insights drawn from this research inform the ongoing improvement of PLTL programs here and around the country.

For more information about PLTL, visit

PLTL subjects

Calculus I, II, and III

General Chemistry I and II

Physics I and II

How to participate in PLTL

The PLTL application will open at 5:00 p.m. on the first day of class.

After that time, the form will be available here and via links on the Canvas sites for Calculus I/II/III, Gen Chem and Intro Physics.

  • Chem 112 students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Thursday during the first week of class are guaranteed placement into a Chem PLTL group.
  • Calc I/II/III students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Friday during the first week of class are guaranteed a spot in a Calc PLTL group.
  • Physics 198 students who sign up before 5:00 p.m. on Friday during the first week of class will be given priority for placement into groups. If there is more demand than there are spots available, students will be placed on a waitlist.
  • Students who contact the program directors after that time will be put on a waitlist and placed into groups if spots become available. Each program has different rules and/or deadlines for processing late additions.

PLTL groups begin meeting the weekend after the second week of classes each semester. Attendance is mandatory to promote a productive group experience for all students.



Calculus: Lisa Kuehne,

Chemistry: Megan Daschbach,

Physics: Nicole Hudson,


Meet the Mentor: Rachel Ockner

“I am a rising senior studying math, secondary education, and Spanish. This is my 4th semester as a PLTL leader! What I like about the program is that it turns studying math into a more social activity, fostering not only confidence but also friendships.”

Rachel worked as a Lead PLTL Mentor in Fall 2018, a position she held in Fall 2017 as well. In this role, she provided support to the program director by observing and providing feedback to the new PLTL leaders, developing training materials and collecting, evaluating and presenting survey results to improve programming.

PLTL leaders standing

Peer-Led Team Learning Leader Recruitment

Invitations to apply for PLTL Leader positions will be sent out in January. Students who have participated in PLTL and earned an A- or better in a relevant course who are interested in developing leadership skills in an academic setting are encouraged to apply. Application review, interviews and selection will be completed during the spring semester.

Link to Spring 2019 PLTL Leader Application (position would start in Fall 2019):

The People Behind PLTL at Washington University

Instructors (Leader Training)

  • Chemistry: Megan Daschbach, Gabriela Szteinberg
  • Mathematics: Lisa Kuehne, Jay Sriram
  • Physics: Nicole Hudson

Other Collaborators

  • CIRCLE/Chemistry: Gina Frey
  • CIRCLE: Siera Stoen

Past Collaborators

  • Chemistry: Susan Hocking, Sarah Luesse
  • Cornerstone: Harvey Fields, Karen DeAngelis
  • Mathematics: Blake Thornton
  • Physics: Jason Woods
  • The Teaching Center: Patrick Brown, Mitch Kundel, Bryn Lutes

What students say about PLTL

The PLTL program was extremely beneficial because I could ask questions about problems that I didn’t understand and someone would be able to help me in a way that I could understand easily.”

PLTL is the only place where the problems make you actually think about what you are doing and understand the concepts behind the problem solving.”

I enjoyed how friendly my PLTL leader was and how willing other kids were to help me out.”

It provided me with practice I probably would not have done otherwise and introduced me to problem-solving strategies I did not know.”

The environment we had set up where we worked through the problems together, and then if anyone didn’t understand something, we remained on that problem and helped them until they got it. Also, if there was a problem that stumped us all, we all worked together suggesting different ideas to try to figure it out.”

Walk-In Help for Calculus

Between PLTL meetings, students are encouraged to visit walk-in help for questions about topics covered in class, homework problems and test preparation.

PLTL Application Procedure

Applications for PLTL groups are submitted online starting on the first day of class during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students in Calculus, Chemistry and Physics will be provided with sign-up instructions and deadlines via email,  Blackboard/Canvas and in-class announcements.

Spring 2019 PLTL Group Application:


student mentoring session