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Peer Learning Then and Now

Discuss About The Cognitive Perspectives Learning Rutledge?

Peer learning indicates students teaching or learning from other fellow students. Peer learning is not a new concept in education it involves a broad range of activities. accounting to the researchers of University of Ulster there are ten models of peer learning, with the oldest one being the Proctor Model in which the junior students are taught by the senior students. The innovative current form of peer to peer learning include innovative learning cells where students from same year form groups to study together and also share personal problems. The other models of peer learning include discussion groups, self-help groups, private study, seminars, peer assessment, mentoring at workplace, and various community services. This report is going to focus on the fact that how peer to peer learning can make the students independent learners. The following paragraphs will talk about peer to peer learning and how it can benefit the students and the ways through it will make the students independent.

Peer learning is not at all a new concept, throughout the history peer earning has been encouraged, it can be seen in Aristotle’s idea of Archons or the student leaders and in the letters of “Seneca the Younger” (Brown 2015). The theory was first organized by Andrew Bell, who was a Scotsman in the year 1795 and later this organized theory was implemented in the French and English schools. Over a period of time peer learning methods has become popular and the educational institutions has taken interest in finding better and more efficient methods of teaching (Boud, Cohen and Sampson 2014). Peer learning is different than peer instruction, which is a relatively recent concept, while peer teaching or learning means that one student will teach another student or they will both learn together by sharing their respective knowledge.

According to Goodlad and Hurst there are several peer learning methods at college level. In reputed universities, surrogate teaching is a common method of peer learning, in this method the older experienced students teach the younger students or take responsibilities to mentor some of the undergraduates. Students who are ahead in studies than their batch-mates or have recently have done quite well in their academic front they participate in one to one tutoring programs or proctoring programs (Chiu and Hew 2017). In cooperative learning method, classmates divide themselves into small groups and everyone in each of the groups take responsibility to teach others, each of the members contribute something unique in the group. There is another type of peer learning in which is more specific in nature in terms of co-operative learning; in this process, the entire class is divided into pairs where both of them tutor each other  it is called Reciprocal peer tutoring (Kulkarni et al. 2015). According to research, peer learning encourage spirit of team building and students learn to become supportive; improves psychological health, increases social skills, communication skills and self- confidence; and ensures higher chances of achievement and enhances productivity through advanced learning outcomes.

Benefits of Peer Learning

Peer learning becomes advanced when solidified as an irreplaceable piece of an instructive projects, giving watchful thought to influence a good figuring out how to condition. Understudies must frame shared respect for and trust and trust in each other, with the objective that they don't falter to express suppositions, test contemplations, and demand, or offer help when it is required (Kupczynski et al. 2014). Companion learning can be also enhanced if nature of shared help continues after some time and past the classroom. In this way, understudies are independently and overall in charge of streamlining their own particular learning and achievements.

There are several benefits of peer learning, they are as follows:

  • Individual learning is an important part of gaining knowledge it enhances self-confidence and promotes individual thought process (Richards 2015). Peer learning helps in individual learning, thus in a way peer learning leads to honing of individual skills.
  • The students have to interact with one another to take part in peer learning, this ensures gaining knowledge in an active way (Lundberg 2014). Students take individual initiative to learn new things, it can be said that peer learning methods management active learning.
  • Peer to peer learning leads to better form of interaction between the students, this enhances communication skills and this prove beneficial for the students in their respective future.
  • The tutors who participate in peer learning activities also at the same time revise the things that they have learned while teaching the others, it becomes beneficial to both the tutor and the student.
  • Most of the times the students feel uncomfortable to approach the professors or their respective teachers to ask any questions or to clear any doubts but this does not happen in peer learning (Taylor 2017). In the case of learning from their peers the students feel free to communicate with them, thus there are no gaps left in their knowledge.
  • As the students and the peers have the same mindset and similar level of understanding thus it become easier for them to communicate and understand the knowledge process.
  • While providing the above-mentioned benefits peer learning also provides financial advantage (Mastropieri and Scruggs 2017). The institutions does not require hiring more staffs, instead the students can act as teachers to their fellow batch mates or the juniors.
  • In cooperative peer learning and group learning  the students can clear their doubts with their peer tutors so the teachers get more time to move on to the next chapters or lessons.

There are certain disadvantages of peer learning as well:

  • As the students work with their friends or people of same age they may not give that much importance and can ignore the tasks or lessons.
  • There can be gaps in learning as the tutors are themselves students and they do not have that much experience in teaching or much knowledge about the lessons.
  • Peer learning does not promote healthy relationships between students and teachers, if the students can discuss on their own and learn their lessons, this practice does not promote proper learning with adequate help from the teachers (O'Donnell and King 2014).
  • The students can become overconfident, as they are learning on their own without any help from the teachers they may start to believe that they know everything and they do not need any help from the experienced teachers and professors.
  • Within the student groups, the individuals who act as peer tutors may take charge up to a greater level and thus the others might not get any chance to do anything or contribute in the activities of the group.
  • Peer learning helps the students to communicate with one another and learn about their own mistakes and understand their own strength and weaknesses. Through peer assessment the students will learn whether their goals, aims and strategies are on right or not, from the peer tutors the students can take independent decision about which path to follow
  • Asking questions is very important to gain complete knowledge about something, in a class a student may feel shy or feel awkward to ask any question directly to the teacher (Reid, Chau and Thalluri 2016). In case of peer learning the students will not feel shy to ask questions and they will feel free to ask questions to their tutors who can be their friends or seniors and thus they will not stay depended on their professors to answer their questions.
  • Peer learning will help the students to deal with their problems on their own, to analyze their own situation and to find out a solution with the help of their friends (Reinholz 2016). This will also help them in their future to understand and judge their own problem and to solve them on their own. Thus peer learning makes a person learn to be independent in their future as well.
  • While learning with their friends the students plan everything on their own, the lesson plans, the ways to execute it, all are decided by the students independently.
  • The students also monitor their own academic progress. In peer learning the students monitor their own academic progress and they can improve accordingly on their own. They become the judge of their own work and they do not depend on others.


To conclude it can be said that peer learning is very important for the students to learn to work with one another grow their communication skills and to learn how to work as an independent individual. Peer learning makes one learn with the help of their fellow mates through exchange of knowledge and discussions. Learning to be an independent person is the most essential part of growing up thus peer learning should be encouraged in order to make a person a complete individual completely capable of making their own choice and learn from others, choose their own dreams and one who knows how to achieve those goals.

Reference List

Boud, D., Cohen, R. and Sampson, J. eds., 2014. Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. Routledge.

Brown, G., 2015, October. Self and peer assessment. In Assessment & Grading Seminar Series.

Chiu, K.F. and Hew, K.F.T., 2017. Asynchronous online discussion forum in MOOCs: Does operating matter for peer learning and performance?. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.

Kulkarni, C., Wei, K.P., Le, H., Chia, D., Papadopoulos, K., Cheng, J., Koller, D. and Klemmer, S.R., 2015. Peer and self assessment in massive online classes. In Design thinking research (pp. 131-168). Springer, Cham.

Kupczynski, L., Mundy, M.A., Goswami, J. and Meling, V., 2014. Cooperative learning in distance learning: a mixed methods study. International Journal of Instruction, 5(2).

Lundberg, C.A., 2014. Peers and faculty as predictors of learning for community college students. Community College Review, 42(2), pp.79-98.

Mastropieri, M.A. and Scruggs, T.E., 2017. The inclusive classroom: Strategies for effective differentiated instruction. Pearson.

O'Donnell, A.M. and King, A. eds., 2014. Cognitive perspectives on peer learning. Routledge.

Reid, P., Chau, M. and Thalluri, J., 2016. Students' experience and evaluation of peer-to-peer learning innovation. Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-disciplinary Journal, 17(1), p.101.

Reinholz, D., 2016. The assessment cycle: a model for learning through peer assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 41(2), pp.301-315.

Richards, J.C., 2015. The changing face of language learning: Learning beyond the classroom. RELC Journal, 46(1), pp.5-22.

Taylor, E.W., 2017. Transformative learning theory. In Transformative Learning Meets Bildung (pp. 17-29). SensePublishers, Rotterdam.

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