“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler
Classroom learning has witnessed exponential change worldwide. Unfortunately, conventional “I teach, you learn” style has survived the time. Information “at the tip of the finger” has empowered the learner and challenged the monotonous delivery of content in a classroom.
The modern-day classroom challenges everyone everywhere. Concepts, theories and perceptions have evolved. Innovative and interactive models of effective learning have been explored and experimented. Some have failed. Some have succeeded. Some are in the cold storage. One of them that has been universally applied and tasted success is “Peer to Peer Learning” (P2P Learning).
P2P Learning has been a particularly successful model at Business schools (offering MBA and equivalent master’s program in business management). The diverse work experience and expertise that every MBA student brings in the classroom juxtaposed with a learning instructor (not just teaching) has transformed the landscape of the learning environment.
P2P Learning explores a broad spectrum of possibilities. Researchers from the University of Ulster identified 10 effective approaches to P2P Learning (Griffiths, Housten and Lazenbatt, 1995). These included the traditional senior students teaching junior students (proctor model) and other models like discussion seminars, private study groups, buddy system, peer-assessment schemes, collaborative project, cascading groups, workplace mentoring and community activities.
P2P Learning emphasizes being mutually beneficial reciprocal learning. Knowledge, ideas and experience beyond the textbook and academic scope are shared with each other. The learning paradigm is taken to a more enlightening and interdependent level.
At Westford University College, we enjoy the luxury of accommodating learners with utmost diversity (rather interdependent learners that include the designated Professors). They are generally in the age group of mid-twenties to late forties. They represent more than 60 nationalities and with work experience ranging from five to twenty five years across a wide range of industries and work domains. It would be absolute injustice not to tap this enormous wealth of experience, energy, ideas and expertise in a vibrant classroom. The instructor experiences a metamorphosis from a teacher to a facilitator, from a “you learn from me” to a “we learn from each other” approach.
Our classroom experience at Westford encourages students to learn from each other. We use the more tested methods and pedagogies (case studies, simulations, experiential learning, individual and team presentations and other games and activities). However, P2P Learning is the fulcrum where we align both conventional and innovative learning approaches.
Organizations worldwide are restructuring their workplaces from a more hierarchical to flatter structures.
We are busy building FLAT classrooms. P2P Learning surely helps us bridge this gap!
“Tell me and I Forget. Teach me and I Remember. Involve me and I Learn”…….. Benjamin Franklin
Griffiths, S., Houston, K., & Lazenbatt, A. (1995). Enhancing student learning through peer tutoring in higher education. Coleraine, Northern Ireland: University of Ulster.
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Westford University College