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How did you realise peer learning was useful to you?

Gerwin over at YES!Delft had a nice suggestion - instead of the part where we list a bunch of archetypes we had in mind when writing the book, why not share a few ideas of how peer learning became important to different people?

Like when Eric Mazur realizes his students aren’t getting his blackboard example so asks the students to explain it to each other.

For me, it was seeing Talkaoke in London, a round-table pop up talk show where anybody with something to say could join in. It was being used in art museums, festivals and local neighborhood events to understand what people thought. After hours of conversation all these random, meandering topics could be visualized to show clear connections and and a coherent community perspective.


For me it was the business model training I co-hosted with Bart Doorneweerd. Bart managed to get the participants to work on exercises after only 5-10 minutes. The participants worked their way together through the concept of the business model canvas and what it could mean to them. This session showed to me that it is more valuable to get them to work right away instead of assuming they can only have a good start after a thourough content introduction (often to long, although you tried to keep it short).


That is the way to work with groups who have varying levels of experience/skills on a topic. You get people to instruct each other. You also have the added benefit that the more skilled participants also understand better how a beginner thinks, and can better instruct them; better than the workshop facilitator in front of the room even (in this case myself :slight_smile:)

Have you applied this way of working anywhere else after @gerwinnaar ?

On the same wavelength, Bart. Diversity and the right balance in terms of roles, nationalities, industries, level of experience / mastery / knowledge, ages matter when it comes to form peer learning groups to enable and facilitate peer learning. The facilitator of peer learning circles / sessions needs also to be the person who knows and / or has worked on the topic. Otherwise subject matter experts and / or networks would be requested to join the session.


Indeed. The educator doesn’t always need to be the domain expert too. Particularly when new domain expertise is emerging quickly, the most effective approach is to actually bring that person in who has the experience, rather than trying to play catch up to the latest yourself as an educator.

In your experience @rotanarotana, in what situations is Peer Learning the most useful to apply? When did you see results improve by switching from one approach to peer to peer support?

“In your experience @rotanarotana, in what situations is Peer Learning the most useful to apply? When did you see results improve by switching from one approach to peer to peer support?”

Well, when it comes to map soft and hard skills of people to help them to: 1. be aware of their strength 2. figure out learning ways and produce multimedia resources to develop and hone it. Better engagement and energy of peer learning sessions. Useful for participants and caring atmosphere.

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Peer learning started naturally in a community I used to manage, individuals would share their work and others would share reviews or answers to questions that had been asked. In this community we also held experience sharing sessions where individuals with more experience talked about their learnings around questions posed by others.

I ended up designing different workshops outside that initial community to help people learn a skill by working together and for those who have gone through the workshops, they loved it. The first workshop I did was a remix of Stanford’s crash course on design thinking, then I did another for Project Management.

Now it seems like a less expensive and easier way to help people learn and gain confidence in a distributed community.

Interesting! I have a couple of questions here. I hope you don’t mind…

Did your group focus on a specific domain? Or did everyone have different kinds of projects they were working on?

How did you involve the people with less experience in the discussions? What did they get out of it?

Also, how did you collect what would be shared, as well everyone’s questions? Did you do that beforehand? Or on the spot when you got everyone together?

Interesting. What are you comparing here to determine the difference?

Lastly, I know that @boyana is starting up with a group on User Experience design. Perhaps you should trade notes on this :slight_smile:

It started out as a community for developers working on open source projects, then a QnA trend started where developers with less experience would ask for help with their personal projects and others would share their opinions. We created separate channels for these discussions.

After a while other software-based technical roles started to spring up and we created channels for them. These roles include designers, ML engineers, algorithm enthusiasts, general techies, and the likes.

The sessions were announced before hand and the messaging was that it was an opportunity for less experienced individuals to interact, ask questions and learn from more experienced individuals.

For people who attended and asked questions, they got varying returns. We did not collect feedback per se on what exactly they got back as the program was designed to increase community engagement, but looking at people’s responses in the channel the phrases/sentences “I learned a lot”, “thank you”, “I enjoyed this”, “oh I can do it that way”; were very common.

We used a Google sheet to collect questions from everyone and the moderator shared the questions in the Slack channel were the guest sharing their experience answered. We modelled it after Product Hunt’s Live Chats.

People shared follow up questions as threads to the initial question and conversations went on naturally.

The Google sheet was shared before hand and some people filled the sheet before hand. Others dropped their questions as the session was in progress and some asked their questions in the channel as I mentioned above.

I can’t share links yet, else I’d have shared links to recaps about the session.

I am comparing to the offline learning programs that are prevalent in my locality and the online ones that require a strong internet connection to download or watch the learning materials/videos.

The offline programs usually have a paywall or individuals have to spend time in traffic and pay transport fare that may be expensive for them.

Also, for the companies running these training programs, the cost of the venue and the materials required to ease the learning also creates cost.

There is only so much I can type out about how it is cheaper in terms of time and money, but I wrote about the whole process, you can DM me for the link.

Sure! @boyana just DM when you’ll be free and we can get on a call, chat and share.

I am more than happy to answer more questions and to even get on a call :slightly_smiling_face:. Thanks for the opportunity to share.

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Well it’s not a UX group. It’s a group of a few women who have side projects that are their passion, and want to quit their job (or have quit already) or are mothers. The common thing between us was that we all feel isolated and need support (in any form) to keep going on our passions. The passions vary between screen writing, parental psychology etc. And we try to help each other to progress our projects with whatever anyone needs.

I don’t know if that would be useful for you.

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Sure! Your community sounds awesome. The way you described it has already given me insights on how to go about a similar project I am working on.

We should definitely talk :slightly_smiling_face: