peer to peer learning

Why is Peer-to-Peer Learning Highly Beneficial to Students?

The concept of peer-to-peer learning has been making rounds for ages and includes students teaching each other in an informal setting. Earlier, students used to gather in person and work upon doubts they had. Now, the same has been replaced by small group sessions and online communities. Nonetheless, the basic purpose remains the same, and students have also found adequate results. So, let’s look at the origin of Peer-to-Peer learning and brush up on your ideas regarding the same.

Origin of Peer-to-Peer Learning

Back in 1991, Eric Mazur started with the concept of peer learning during his days at the university of Havard. In the initial stage, he found out that the students could find relevant solutions to basic problems but could not gain a detailed understanding of the actual content.

At the initial stage, the concept of peer learning was used to elaborate on the basic concepts relevant to different modules. From there, the concept has evolved with time and has now been established as one of the most reliable learning methods. Finally, in 1997, Eric Mazur came forward with his writing in the form of the book “Peer Instructions: A User’s Manual”. Here, he has tried to find the significant peer learning techniques and how one can work on them with time.

Why Is Peer-To-Peer Learning Meaningful?

As per research, the results are found to be more fruitful when learning from a peer or someone of the same age. And researchers have done their best to find out why. The following points are thoroughly developed as an answer to this ‘why’ question.

1:1 contact is established

While it is not at all possible for a teacher to channel her undivided attention to every student in a class, things are accessible for a peer of the same age. Further, with online options being available, students find it easy to connect at any time and work on their doubts.

They can also offer feedback on each other’s performance and help with repeatedly popping up problem areas. Also, with a peer providing the right kind of solution, it has been noticed that the student on the receiver’s end feels free to address his/her shortcomings. The latter is no longer ashamed of being judged or shut down by a higher authority.

Develops a sense of responsibility

Secondly, peer-to-peer learning has established a sense of responsibility among students. From here, they understand what it takes to address their issues and find relevant solutions. Moreover, it is a two-way learning opportunity, and the student on the explaining side gets to learn.

As per research, peer learning nurtures great levels of confidence among students. They are found to be scoring improved grades, and their participation levels have increased in class. Various institutions nowadays encourage this very system, eliminating the extra burden on the teachers and facilitating greater communication in class.

Helps in the development of appropriate reasoning and critical thinking skills

Students develop adequate reasoning skills and work on critical thinking when learning all by themselves. The complexity of being wrong does not affect the way they share their thoughts. Further, when working together, they are seen to come up with new topics that no one else would have guessed otherwise if it was in the class.

As already discussed, the peer-to-peer learning experience develops a sense of responsibility in the learners. As a result, they tend to work upon more complex challenges and make sure that all the criteria are rightfully met. In the long run, these skills tend to encourage leadership qualities and the scope of self-education among students.

Learn about new techniques and tools

With so many learners sharing their study techniques and day-to-day curriculum, everyone eventually lands on the same page. They learn to use adequate summary generator tools online and work on writing skills accordingly.

Also, new study techniques come up in the process, and people can start finishing tasks much earlier than they used to. All in all, it is a win-win situation, and learners find it easy to share their thoughts on a particular situation and brainstorm accordingly.

Cognitive enhancement

We all are well accustomed to the word “brainstorming”, and small group sessions are the very place of its origin. When a group of learners sits with fellow individuals of their age, they tend to find greater solutions to the existing problems and develop adequate goals.

Asking questions and coming up with adequate answers facilitates greater understanding, and the outcome is improved grades. In addition, teachers now have a whole class of responsive students who are responsible as well. Moreover, students can learn more about various technical aspects and use comprehensive tools like a citation machine or an online plagiarism checker for accuracy.

Gives rise to team players

It is easy to work upon oneself and look after the loopholes. However, things are a bit different when working with a team; not everyone is a team player. Peer-to-peer learning facilitates the sense of what it needs to be working within a team.

Students are found to be open to feedback, considerate about other members’ ideas in a team, and think out of the box where the sense of ‘me’ is comparatively vague. They learn to bring down their needs and work on their team’s shared dreams and goals.

Leads to greater academic achievement

With peer learning becoming an easy resort for individual students, they are more engaged in daily tasks, which fetches greater outcomes. As a result, the grades increase, and the overall performance in class is seen to upgrade.

Also, students are now more into sharing the skills they have and developing a mindset where everyone is on the same page, and no one lags. In the long run, this mindset gives rise to great leaders with cognitive minds.

Enhanced organizational skills

Learning from a peer is always helpful as students get to work on their organizational skills. Nonetheless, learners are finally led towards a holistic approach, with everyone sharing their ideas. Also, this is when the future teachers get marked and finally realize their true calling.

As per research, learners helping others with their day-to-day tasks tend to learn a lot about their shortcomings and rectify themselves accordingly. Moreover, when learning with peers, students are free to voice their mindset and make decisions themselves.

So, until here, it was all about deciphering the very concept of peer-to-peer learning and discovering its benefits. Now, it’s time to look into how you can encourage peer-to-peer learning in class.

Over video-based homework: Make your class come up with video-based homework describing a particular topic. It will enable them to brainstorm new presentation skills and help them overcome doubts if any. With time, you will notice enhanced confidence in these students, leading to the rise of great speakers shortly.

Facilitate group discussions or debates in class:

Discussing a particular topic leads to a clear understanding of the basic concepts. Students feel more enthusiastic and invested in the class. As a teacher, you will come across new vertices of explaining a concept when listening to the concepts discussed by individual students.

Assign group projects: You can divide the class into several groups and make each group work on a specific topic. This will inculcate a sense of belonging in them. Also, you will notice leadership skills in some, giving rise to future leads. Projects help students work on their communication skills, managerial ideas, and time when done in groups.

Make students check each other’s work: This is mostly possible in the primary levels when you make your students appear for a spelling exam and interchange their copies after everyone has finished writing. It will inculcate a sense of accountability in each student, to be honest, and help their peer learn the correct spelling. Also, you will notice some serious friendships building up this way.

Final thoughts

The concept of peer learning has developed with time and has made an adequate contribution to the field of education. For example, they are making students self-reliant and more outspoken about the situation in their minds. Also, students find it easy to brainstorm ideas and generate a gradual understanding of the concepts they were doubtful about.

Author Bio: Raymond M. Fernandez lives in New York, USA, and is well-versed in various essay writing tools online. Students reach out to her for adequate help with grammar checker tools and plagiarism detectors. Also, she has recently joined the core team of as a visiting advisor in internal affairs.

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