What is Center for Learning Support?

 Center for Learning Support (CLS) supports first- and second-year university students during General Education program in their studies. We are assisted in this work by senior students, known as Student Learning Advisors (SLA). We provide a wide range of learning support activities, from remedial help to “level-up” support, taking advantage of the power of mutual learning among students.
 Our mission falls into four categories: (1) individualized learning support, (2) project-based learning support, (3) class cooperation learning support, and (4) voluntary seminar support.

individualized learning supoort, project-based learning support, class cooperation learning support, voluntary seminar support

What is SLA?

SLA image illust

 SLA(Student Learning Advisors)is our learning support staff that run for students by students at Tohoku University. It is composed of a broad range of students, from third-year undergraduates to graduate students who provide support to first- and second-year students in general education courses. The guiding concept is to enable mutual learning among the students. With the motto of “Together we learn, Together we grow, TOMOSODACHI!”, SLA conducts daily activities in its lounge on the first floor of Multimedia Education and Research Complex (Building M).

The thinking behind “the power of senior students”

 The learning support at this center, of which SLAs are the core, is characterized by use of “the power of senior students.” We have come to understand from past experience that deploying senior students in this way offers the following possibilities.

1.An understanding of what is difficult to understand and what is interesting

 Senior students, who have experienced first and second years, are more likely to know what parts of a course are difficult and where it is easy to trip up. In addition, senior students are more approachable for younger students for clarifying questions that they may find difficult to ask their teachers. Furthermore, senior students may share the same interests with their juniors and because they are of the same generation, they work on the same wavelength. Students who use the service often comment that they are happy with it because it brings students together. We believe that senior students have the natural power to give this happiness to younger students.

2.Senior students as role models

 In a university such as Tohoku University, where the campus is scattered, it can be difficult to come into contact with senior students who provide models in term of university learning. All the various senior students who gather together in SLA, whether they have struggled with learning at the university or enjoyed their experience, feel that succeeding as a university student has great significance and therefore they wish to contribute in some way to other students’ success. By getting to know these senior students and learning from their experiences, younger students can receive hints, which can help them with their own learning processes.

3.Thinking together

 Even SLA cannot provide the best answers to questions or teach the best methods for learning; however they can sometimes think and “brainstorm” with students who bring questions to them. This experience occurs naturally and in a unique way among groups of students who are teaching and learning from one another. Students who use the service often sense the value of this process and express their gratitude by saying things such as “they didn’t just teach me the answer, but they taught me the way of thinking,” or “I am really happy because I feel as though I have been able to grow as a person.”


2010 The beginning of SLA system – the university education learning support project – as a part of education reform in the Tohoku University action plan. SLA support room was installed and activities began.
2014 Relocation of SLA to the Center for the Advancement of Higher Education.
2015 Along with reorganization of the Center for the Advancement of Higher Education, SLA relocated again, to the Institute for Excellence in Higher Education. The Learning Support Center was established at this time.