SOAS University of London

Administration and Professional Services

Collaborative Student Learning

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Applications to become a CSL Facilitator for 2021/22 are now open. If you are a second, third- or fourth-year student, please click here to view the role profile, or click here to access the registration form.

If you are a first year undergraduate student, please click here to opt-in and be matched to a trained CSL Facilitator. Your assigned Facilitator will be in contact to organise your first CSL session.

What is CSL?

Collaborative Student Learning is a peer-to-peer learning initiative started at SOAS in 2019. Students in their second, third- and fourth-year students are trained to facilitate weekly 1-hour collaborative learning sessions for groups of first-year students studying the same degree programme.

CSL Facilitators are not expected to teach content. They instead facilitate group collaboration amongst first-year CSL Participants, enabling them to ask better questions, adopt better learning strategies, and work together to find solutions to common problems.

Who can attend CSL?

CSL sessions are subject-specific and run on a weekly basis alongside lectures and tutorials. CSL programmes are centrally co-ordinated, department-owned and student-led. In the academic year, 2019-2020 successful pilot schemes ran for first-year modules in Swahili, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Persian, Anthropology, Law and Development studies.

For 2021-22, CSL has a goal to run in all departments* and will be focusing on pre-selected modules to ensure the maximum amount of students benefit from the scheme.

What are the benefits of CSL?

Reported benefits for students who participate in peer-led learning sessions:
  • Subjects that run peer-led learning sessions attain lower failure and attrition rates (students dropping off the course), a higher percentage of first-class grade attainment & higher mean grade.
  • Academically, students take greater ownership of their learning experience, develop a deeper understanding and personal interest in their subject, and refine there own learning strategies and study skills
  • Reduced anxiety associated with transition into HE, have a greater sense of belonging and improved academic confidence.
  • Enhanced friendship and community development, greater confidence in social integration and participate more fully in the wider SOAS community.
  • These factors additionally contribute to better student retention (academic success and completion).

Reported benefits for CSL Facilitators :
  • Acquisition of higher-level transferable skills and leadership experience that are recognized by employers and accreditation bodies, improving students employability.
  • Developing a deeper understanding of their subject, and opportunity to review foundational knowledge, impacting positively on attainment.
  • Developing relationships and academic support networks, as well as enhancing intercultural awareness, leading to greater sense of belonging.
  • Develop metacognitive/meta-learning skills - 'learning how you learn/think’ impacting positively on attainment.
  • Become a part of the growing SOAS CSL Facilitator network, with social events, special support and other benefits, including:
    • A personalised CSL hoodie.
    • A certificate and reference recognising your involvement.
    • A role-specific Careers session and further development opportunities.

For more information on how to get involved with future CSL programmes or to inquire about CSL on your course please email

*Please note: departments that do not have sufficient numbers of Facilitators may be unable to run. Please check this page regularly for updates.