Learning Assistant Program

Applying to become a Learning Assistant

The specific requirements and application process may vary from one department/program to another, but common steps to become an LA include:

  • Meeting academic eligibility criteria (such as a minimum GPA).
  • Applying for the LA program during the designated application period at Learning Assistant Alliance
  • Participating in interviews or training sessions, if required.
  • Being selected by instructors or program coordinators.

North Dakota State University offers a Learning Assistant Program as an additional resource for student learning.

A Learning Assistant (LA) is an undergraduate student who works alongside an instructor to support the learning experiences of their peers in various courses and who has successfully completed the course in which they are serving. LAs assist with classroom activities, facilitate discussions, provide one-on-one or small group support, and offer guidance to fellow students.

LAs have a range of responsibilities, including:

  • Assisting instructors during lectures or lab sessions.
  • Holding student help hours to provide one-on-one or group support to students.
  • Leading study groups or review sessions.
  • Providing feedback on student work under the guidance of the instructor.
  • Offering insights and helping to improve course materials.
  • Encouraging student engagement and participation.


Course Support

Instructors can integrate LAs in multiple ways to enhance the educational experience for both students and LAs, including:

  • Assisting During Lectures or Lab Sessions: LAs can help manage large class sizes by assisting with logistics during lectures or lab sessions. They can distribute materials, set up equipment, and ensure a smooth flow of the class session, allowing instructors to focus on teaching.
  • Leading Discussion Sections: LAs can facilitate discussion sections or breakout groups where students can engage with course material more deeply. They can encourage participation, answer questions, and provide additional explanations or examples.
  • Hosting Student Help Hours: LAs can host their own student help hours to provide one-on-one or small group support to students. This personalized attention can be especially beneficial for students who may be hesitant to approach the instructor.
  • Conducting Review Sessions: LAs can organize and lead review sessions before exams or major assignments. These sessions can help consolidate key concepts and improve student performance.
  • Providing Feedback: LAs can provide feedback on student work under the guidance of the instructor. This not only lightens the instructor's workload but also provides students with timely feedback.
  • Creating Learning Materials: LAs can collaborate with instructors to develop supplementary learning materials such as practice problems, study guides, or online resources tailored to the course content.
  • Mentoring and Peer Support: LAs can serve as mentors to their fellow students. They can share their experiences, offer academic guidance, and provide tips for success in the course.

Benefits for Students

Integrating LAs into courses offers several benefits to students and their learning experiences:

  • Increased Accessibility: LAs provide additional opportunities for students to seek help and clarification, making the course content more accessible to a broader range of learners.
  • Enhanced Engagement: LAs can create a more interactive and engaging learning environment by facilitating discussions, group activities, and peer-to-peer learning.
  • Individualized Support: LAs can offer personalized support to students, addressing their unique learning needs and helping them overcome challenges.
  • Improved Learning Outcomes: Studies have shown that courses with LAs often have higher pass rates and improved student performance on assignments and exams.
  • Skill Development: LAs gain valuable teaching and leadership skills, which can be applied to their own academic and professional development.
  • Confidence Building: LAs can boost students' confidence by providing encouragement and constructive feedback, helping them succeed in challenging courses.
  • Diverse Perspectives: LAs bring a diversity of perspectives and experiences to the learning environment, which can enhance discussions and promote a richer understanding of course material.
  • Reduced Instructor Workload: By sharing responsibilities with LAs, instructors can focus more on designing effective curriculum, conducting research, and providing mentorship to their LAs.

LAs play a vital role in supporting instructors in delivering high-quality education. Their contributions lead to improved learning outcomes for students and provide valuable skill development for LAs. Collaborating with LAs can transform the educational experience into a more dynamic, engaging, and accessible one for all involved.

What are the benefits of being a Learning Assistant?

Becoming an LA offers several benefits, including:

  • Gaining teaching and leadership experience.
  • Strengthening your understanding of course material.
  • Developing communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Building strong relationships with professors and peers.
  • Earning a competitive wage.
  • Enhancing your resume and future career prospects.


Do LAs receive compensation or academic credit?

Yes, LAs earn an hourly wage of $17/hour for approximately 8 hours/week during a 16-week semester. In addition, students who are serving as an LA for the first time are required to enroll in a 1-credit seminar (STEM 303: The Science of Learning).

How can I balance my LA responsibilities with my coursework?

Balancing LA responsibilities with coursework can be challenging but is manageable with good time management and communication. LAs work closely with instructors to schedule their commitments and ensure they don't conflict with classes or other responsibilities.

Is prior teaching experience required to become an LA?

No, prior teaching experience is not required to become an LA. However, a strong understanding of the course material and effective communication skills are essential.

Can international students participate in the LA program?

Yes, but eligibility depends on visa status and other university-specific requirements. It's essential to check with the LA program coordinator to confirm eligibility.

How can I make the most of my LA experience?

To make the most of your LA experience, consider the following tips:

  • Attend training sessions and workshops offered by the program.
  • Communicate regularly with the course instructor.
  • Be proactive in helping your fellow students succeed.
  • Seek feedback from instructors and peers to improve your skills.
  • Reflect on your experiences and consider how they align with your future goals.

Faculty and students may contact Dr. Warren Christenson for more information about the Learning Assistant Program at (701) 231-6744.