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What do you mean by ‘peer to peer learning’?

It isn’t surprising that the first thing most people ask about this programme is – “what do you actually mean by ‘peer to peer’?” The Share to Know programme is interested in testing out different approaches towards informal learning (particularly peer to peer methods), with the aim of sharing our experience of what works to other European practitioners in the youth and education field. Clearly, how we define ‘peer to peer’ is at the heart of matter! Our starting point is centred on the concept of reciprocity as described in this definition:

“…it here suggests a two-way, reciprocal learning activity. Peer learning should be mutually beneficial and involve the sharing of knowledge, ideas and experience between the participants. It can be described as a way of moving beyond independent to interdependent or mutual learning”  – David Boud et al. ‘Peer Learning in Education: learning from and with each other’, 2001

Through the Share to Know programme, we will test how this concept of reciprocal learning can be practically realised in a range of youth education contexts across Europe, and how its effectiveness can be evaluated.

We’ve also asked members of our team from Berlin, Stockholm and London to share their own thoughts about what peer to peer learning is and what its benefits and limitations are. Take a look through our first few blog posts to find out what they said, and share your own comments, thoughts or suggestions for us to learn from too.

“I define peer-to-peer as learning that is learner-led, where the people in the room share the learning.  It presumes that everyone in the room has something to contribute. It is easiest for me to think about what peer to peer is NOT: it is not having a teacher directing all the learning and students taking it all in; the students are NOT empty vessels, waiting for knowledge/skills to be poured in“

“While there are numerous models for peer to peer learning in formal and informal educational institutions as well as the community sector, I am most interested in peer learning as a means to unlocking and spreading the knowledge that exists within communities in order to create relationships and empower communities to take positive collective action“

“A democratic and practical learning method from individuals to individuals“

“There are 2 principles that define peer-to-peer learning for me: a fluid relationship between the role of the ‘teacher’ and the role of the ‘learner’, and a shared identity or experience that is recognised (amongst the people who are exchanging information or skills). I think that peer-to-peer learning can happen formally or informally and in many different ways or situations, whereas peer-to-peer education is a more structured process of exchange“

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