Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Supplemental Learning?

    Supplemental Learning (or SL) is a series of weekly review sessions for students enrolled in historically difficult courses. SL targets tough courses!

    SL provides a chance for you to get together with other students in your class to compare notes, discuss important concepts, develop strategies for studying the subject, and test yourselves—before your instructor does—so that  you'll be ready at exam time.

    SL is provided for all students who want to improve their understanding of course material and improve their grades. The sessions are facilitated by a trained SL leader.

  • What's the history of SL?

    SL is based on a program known as Supplemental Instruction (SI). Developed at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1973, Supplemental Instruction is an academic support program that targets historically difficult courses. SI was developed as a non-remedial approach to learning enrichment that increases student performance and retention. There are SI programs all over the world now, often known by different names, but based on the same core principles. The first year for SL on our campus was 2004. At that time, we were one of four Canadian post-secondary institutes with a program.

  • How does it work?

    At each session you will be guided through course concepts by your SL leader, a knowledgeable student who’s already taken the course and has been trained in group facilitation techniques.

    Your leader will not re-lecture or give you his/her class notes. Your leader will not do your homework or your thinking for you.

    Your leader will help you make good use of your study time. After all, you have to study anyway. You might as well do it with friends so that you can share your knowledge and figure things out together, right? Your leader will share with you the strategies he/she used to be successful in the course. Your leader's job is to help you think about he lectures you hear and the books you read, and then put it all together into some kind of perspective during SL sessions so you can learn it more efficiently.

    SL sessions are informal.

    • Bring your notes;
    • bring your textbook;
    • bring your questions.
  • What is an SL Leader?

    Have you ever wished you could do something over again, knowing what you know now? That's impossible, but you can come close in SL. SL leaders are students who have taken the class before and earned a high grade. They are prepared to share with you what they’ve learned about how to study effectively for this course. They know the course content and are eager to help guide you through it. They'll also be in class with you, hearing what you hear and reading what you read.

  • What is in it for me?

    If you attend SL sessions regularly, chances are you'll earn a better grade. Research shows that students who attend SL regularly average one half to one letter grade higher than their classmates who choose not to attend. When you attend SL, you'll develop a better understanding of course content as well as more effective ways of studying. You'll very likely make a few new friends, too.

  • When do sessions start?

    SL sessions usually begin the second week of classes, as soon as the SL Leader has scheduled the sessions. The survey you may be asked to fill out on the first day of class seeks scheduling information. The SL leader and Coordinator will attempt to find session times that work for as many of you as possible. (If session times don't work for you, and you would like to attend SL, email your leader, and/or the SL Coordinator ( to see what we can be done.)

    Remember, the secret of success is to study proactively! Don't wait until the night before the test!! Since you have to study anyway, why not come to SL and make efficient use of your study time? Your SL leader will keep you informed about the times and locations for sessions.

  • What does it cost?

    SL sessions cost you nothing except your time. Come as often as you like. Keep in mind, though, the statistics show that the more you come, the better your grade will be.

  • How will I know if SL is offered in my class?

    On the first day of class your SL leader will make an announcement about SL. You may be asked to fill out a short survey to let the SL leader know your class schedule. Each SL leader will set up two or more review sessions a week. You can attend one or all sessions. Every session will be different because you'll have new material to discuss.

SL workshop
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