The term ‘Peer Learning’ refers to many different strategies that can be incorporated in education system to help learners. It isn’t a new concept. It dates back to Aristotle’s use of archons, or student leaders, and to the letters of Seneca the Younger. It was first organized as a theory by Scotsman Andrew Bell in 1795, and later implemented into French and English schools in the 19th century. But, in recent past, Peeragogy lost its importance by implementation of other strategies or may say, due to less focus on student’s need in the academia. It was replaced by ‘Bullet Theory’ where receivers were inactive, and had to accept all the information delivered by the educators, blindly. Students were accustomed to grasp all the information without objecting or exploring it to a farther extent.
But, gone are the days of such practices. Students now, are more engaged in their studies. All thanks to various learning strategies and educational technologies that came into being. Peer to peer learning is one such innovation which has gained a momentum back and is widely in use.
What is Peer to Peer learning?
Peer learning is a process of “students learning from students in formal or informal way”. According to professor and author David Boud, peer learning is “a way of moving beyond independent to interdependent or mutual learning.” This learning embroils individuals exchanging knowledge and experience with each other, and diffusing this learning back to their organizations to ensure an impact—at scale—on reform initiatives. It entails complex organizational logistics, avoids the risk of focusing on process rather than product. Further, it recognises that ultimately learning that takes place between individuals and it facilitates interpersonal interchanges that are well-matched and based on trust and commitment. It is part of an active learning strategy, which is being increasingly used in schools around the world. Here, students interact with their peers and learn from each other without any supervisor.
Why Peer to Peer learning?
This process enhances deep learning, wherein the information is retained in long-term memory, rather than surface learning, where information can dissipate very fast from memory retained in the class.
Furthermore, some more benefits of Peer pedagogy that exemplify the importance of peer teaching comprises of the following:
Increase Literacy Scores
Several studies, alike Ohio University pilot study have demonstrated that the cognitive process of doing exercises together, raising questions and arriving at conclusions greatly help assimilate knowledge, which automatically enhances a student’s understanding of the lesson. So students who study together grasp more which help them bettering their performance and grades.
Develop Reasoning and Critical Thinking Skills
Students who work in either a big or small group typically perform better in tests that involve reasoning and critical thinking. This helps them think differently and deeply , they become active learners, discusses and rationalizes lesson concepts in their own words before coming to a conclusion and this in turn develop their reasoning and critical thinking skills. In addition to acquiring knowledge, a collaborative peer learning group develops self-directed learning skills, laying the foundation for lifelong self-education.
Increase Comfort and Openness
It is observed that students generally grasp more of information when they interact with their peers rather than being taught by a teacher. In fact, few students do not participate in class due to the fear of answering teacher incorrectly and this hinders the learning process. Herein, they don’t have such fears. So, they learn and identify more easily with their peer helpers in a self-made comfortable environment.
Peer learning provides a holistic and qualitatively enhanced education that prepares students for the needs of the workforce, they will join in future. This peer to peer learning help them come up with a variety of ideas and solutions for one subject matter which help them explore differently.
Becomes a source of encouragement
This learning process encourage students to take up challenges, build an active and cooperative learning environment, to give and receive feedback and evaluate each other’s' learning, promote positive interdependence and accountability, improve communication skills, achieve set goals and promote ownership of learning and most importantly develop deeper understanding of new concepts.
What tools can do wonders to peer to peer learning?
There are a number of tools available to facilitate peer to peer learning but here, we bring to you some of the highly recommended tools for a better performance and easy –learning experience for the students.
If you’re looking for simple and straight-forward online platform to get a tutor instantly, then, instaedu is the right choice. It is a new spin to tutoring services, students don’t need to go on searching or wait for days to get a tutor. On this platform, they just have to put on their requirements and a tutor will pop out at the earliest. It offers hundreds of subject for both school and collegiate level. Most importantly, it is affordable and user-friendly.
San Francisco based StudySoup was founded in 2014 with a motive to establish a peer to peer learning market place for students for both learning and selling contents. It offers college students an opportunity to make money by selling study guides and lectures notes online to their classmates. Furthermore, StudySoup provides elite note takers with a platform to create, upload and connect with their classmates. Top students are earning more by selling their study guides etc. in comparison to average rank holders.
It is a fun-based learning platform, alike the music platforms where you make a playlist of our favorite songs. Here, educators upload a series of learning materials, where students can learn and understand the topic easily. Moreover, they offer exemplary contents at zero cost.
This is world’s largest teacher-student online learning community, crowded with flashcards and study materials for anyone, anywhere across the globe. It is mostly loved by apprentices of middle school, high school and college because it allows you to create flashcards to test yourself and share with others. Students can find study materials on almost every subject.
In this new era of Peeragogy, Tynker brings on an exciting technique of peer learning, designed particularly for making kids learn- Coding. It is an online platform where through its self-paced online courses children can learn coding at home, as well as an engaging programming curriculum for schools and camps.
Very often, we have seen children being dependent on either elder siblings or someone else to learn coding but Tynker allows them to make something of their very own; be it correct at first or not. It helps them grow and learn more day-by-day. Also, kids who code cite benefits like expanded creativity, a greater sense of perseverance, focus, etc. Hereby teaching and learning together, they gain all these skills and more – they stay engaged, form connections, and enhance their learning.
Founded in 2009, Brainly provides a platform where middle and high school students can ask each other for homework help from any corner of the world. Students can easily post their questions or queries on its portal and get instant answer from other students within a couple of minutes. With Brainly, students combine their strengths and talents to tackle problems together and come up with a probable solution to it.
It has 150 million users monthly, mainly in the US, India, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Poland and 50 million answered questions.
However, we may say, in this day and age, information technology is rapidly changing education and it cannot be overlooked anymore. Educators have to have stand tall with such innovations and techniques to provide the best opportunities and learning experience to make students competitive enough. So, they ought to incorporate such amazing tools and techniques into the education system for enhancement of the overall experience of apprentices.