Online Peer Learning and Peer Tutoring - A short guide

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Over the years, the Edtech industry has been steadily rising. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand skyrocketed. One of the ways teachers have tried including different academic approaches in their online classes is by ‘Peer Learning’.

Peer Learning Definition

Peer Learning can be defined as a group of students (peers) working together and learning from one another. Peer learning encourages students to be active participants and share knowledge. It is the responsibility of the student to grasp the concepts. 

Peer Learning Advantages

Performance improvement

Since peer learning and peer tutoring allows the instructors to take a back seat in class and act as mediators and students to take charge, they have to put more effort into class to understand concepts and help other students explain them. You will notice that students at times learn better from their peers. 

Peer learning promotes society building

The fundamental of peer learning is coming together and learning from each other. By sharing, working together, and understanding each other deeper, society is built as students become more aware of their biases and overcome them. 

Peer learning boosts confidence 

In peer learning, a class is split down into smaller groups that are more intimate. Students can express themselves freely in these small groups, unlike in a class where the more vocal, confident students tend to talk more than the quieter ones. The shy students will boost their confidence in the small groups and become more confident when addressing larger groups.

Peer learning is flexible

With online classes, flexibility is vital. Flexibility here refers to how the teacher can expand the class to their preferred size. It could be 20 students or even 200; all taught at the same time. With the right tools, peer learning can help you level your class easily the way you want. It has some teaching techniques already integrated.

Peer learning increases in knowledge retention

Since peer learning requires students to be responsible for their knowledge, they participate more in the lessons and improve their retention. It becomes easier for students to remember things they share amongst each other in their small groups. 

Ways of including Peer Learning in virtual courses

Group cooperation

Design your classes in such a way that it includes more group work. An instructor can use role plays or mirroring events. This is a more enjoyable way of explaining theories to students.

Coursework reviewed by Peers

In peer learning, students are given random assignments from their peers to assess and provide feedback. Students are given some guidelines on how to mark the projects. Here, students learn how to analyze theories keenly. 

Peer-led classes

With the instructor as the mediator, the students are given a chance to describe a theory. This boosts the confidence of the student. 

Companion collaboration

Two students are paired, and for the length of the course, they are responsible for each other in terms of giving feedback, providing moral support to one another, and completing the course together. 

Dialogue meetings

In dialogue meetings, students in their respective groups tackle a topic and share their views about the subject. Apart from expanding their knowledge, they will also practice active listening as they listen to other students arguing their points. 

Conclusions

This article has outlined the idea and use of ‘peer learning, its benefits, and integrating it into virtual lessons. Students are held responsible for their learning, which improves their concentration in class. Peer learning provides a balance so that students are learning from other students and there are no experts.

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