Learning Sessions (PALS)

Skill Building for Postdocs

During our course runs on edX, learners can join an optional institutional- or discipline-focused Postdoc Academy Learning Session (PALS). PALS are small groups of postdocs who meet once per week in-person or virtually throughout the six-week course.

Learning Sessions

These learning communities enhance online learning by connecting content directly to the postdocs’ local context & community and promote deeper reflection of the material.

Each group is led by a facilitator (a postdoc or a faculty/staff member supporting postdoc) and will uphold the following standards:

  • Create an environment for learning through reflection and discussion
  • Promote equitable participation of all members
  • Build trust and create a sense of community
  • Uphold the norms and standards of the Postdoc Academy community

Facilitate a Learning Session

If you are interested in facilitating a discipline- or institutional-focused PALS, please complete the form linked below. The information collected helps us learn more about your institution and postdocs for reporting and tracking to NIH.

You can select your preferred level of involvement and have the option to join our community of facilitators. This community is focused on supporting practitioners through creating an open discussion space and continued professional development. Community benefits include:

  • Learning from other facilitators and network with other practitioners
  • Access to online facilitation trainings, held quarterly
  • Attending a day-long facilitation training, held yearly at the National Postdoc Association Annual Conference
  • Access to evaluation tools, including pre-session and post-session surveys

Facilitator Guide

The Facilitator Guides are specific to each online course and contains suggestions for discussion topics, reflection prompts and learning activities designed to explore the content and encourage postdocs to situate the learning within their context. We encourage you to use the guide flexibly to fit the goals, purpose and needs of your community. The guides can be downloaded using the following buttons.

Facilitator Training

The Postdoc Academy is pleased to partner with the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) to host an annual train-the-trainer style program as part of the NPA Annual Conference. This interactive training is for those interested in facilitating postdoc learning communities at their institutions or within their disciplines. In addition to hands-on training, participants are provided professional development resources and are introduced to the community of PALS facilitators.

Training is open to postdocs and faculty or staff, and is designed specifically for those interested in adapting our content to local programming and who have some prior facilitation experience. We expand on traditional programs by working through inclusive facilitation strategies and assisting participants with strategies for capacity building in their learning communities. We focus on developing and practicing facilitator skills, creating a community of practitioners, as well as disseminating our materials and content. Please note that you are not required to attend facilitator training to lead a PALS or join our facilitator community.

Adapt and Use Our Materials

The content in the Postdoc Academy online courses is freely accessible under “Courses” on this site and via the EdX platform. We encourage institutions to adopt and adapt our open educational materials to serve the professional development needs of their postdocs.