Peer-to-peer learning (also known as peer learning) is an excellent way to study, whether for an exam, a class, or a new skill.
Many studies have shown the effectiveness of peer learning, so keep on reading to find out more about it and how you can include it in your learning!
What is peer-to-peer learning?
Peer learning is where people learn from their peers rather than a teacher. Perhaps you remember school days where you’d have to stand up in front of the class with a small group and present a subject? That’s peer learning!
It’s a great learning technique to use as it can boost self-esteem and improve teaching and communication skills. It can also create a positive impression of teamwork and enhance collaborative abilities, which is a lifelong transferable skill.
Teaching is an excellent way to truly understand a skill: you need to know your subject inside out to teach it well! Peer learning reinforces the subject for both the “teacher” and the learner, ensuring they both know the topic well, as it can also identify knowledge gaps.
Five benefits of peer learning
- Students may be more interested in learning
- It teaches collaborative skills
- It encourages giving and receiving constructive feedback
- It helps students assess their learning
- It creates a community feeling while learning new skills
Why does peer-to-peer learning work?
Peer learning is effective because peers are on the same level, so they share similar learning experiences. They’ll understand the challenges their peers will face, and they will explain things in simple terms. They’ll also be able to avoid any stumbling blocks they may have found on their way to learning a subject, meaning their peers will learn faster and more effectively.
This learning style can feel more comfortable for learners; subject experts aren’t usually as approachable as fellow students. Often, outsiders come in to teach skills, which can exacerbate this feeling. Asking questions may feel silly, whereas asking a peer will feel more natural, and it’s a safe space to ask questions.
Peer-to-peer learning also increases engagement. How many times have you sat in a class and not asked a question or even said a word? Probably too many! Peer learning encourages discussion, questions, feedback, and collaboration. It’s a setting where a teacher doesn’t talk at you, but you’re talking with your peers.
Where can you find peer learning?
Of course, peer learning isn’t just in the classroom: it’s online, in workplaces, and even in unstructured conversations. After all, it’s just about learning from the people on your level around you. Mentoring is another way to learn from peers, whether shadowing a colleague, a student in your class, or joining an online skills class.
Speaking of online skills classes, it can feel less intimidating to learn from peers than from an expert. You’re not going to feel as ridiculous butchering the pronunciation of a Spanish word in front of someone else who’s learning the language as you might with an expert. Nor are you going to feel as embarrassed if you fall over from a basic yoga pose! You may feel less pressure when learning from your peers and be more willing to learn, too.
Online classes create an amazing community feeling as everyone is bonding over a topic of interest and learning something new. Remember, there are no silly questions when you’re learning! It’s great to speak up with any thoughts or doubts you have about your knowledge, as others may be wondering the same.
Want to learn and practice skills with others? Swyvl is the skill-sharing platform that helps you learn and trade skills with your peers.