The Learning and Teaching Hub

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Developing Students’ Peer Learning – a Curriculum-Embedded Approach

Peer learning is an effective pedagogy and strategy for enhancing students’ learning and supporting students in their transition, progression and retention throughout their studies (Keenan, 2014). The recent move to remote learning and blended delivery has highlighted the increasing importance of students’ having a sense of belonging to their course community as many have reported feeling lonely, isolated and demotivated in their studies. The absence of social connections on campus has highlighted the vital importance of students having positive learning relationships with their peers and tutors to feel connected and supported.

Inclusivity is one of our Core Values as an institution at Brighton, and recently we have been considering how to ensure that the opportunities for students to learn together and support one another are available and accessible to all. This work is informed by a transition pedagogies approach (Kift, 2009), which highlights the uniting role of the curriculum in bringing together diverse student cohorts, focused around the common interest of the course curriculum. This enables a less remedial perception of the peer-to-peer activities, avoiding being seen as ‘extra support’ and encourages greater participation. Therefore, we are taking an institutional approach to more broadly and inclusively embed peer learning within the curriculum.

The Learning and Teaching Hub are currently designing a research-informed ‘Peer to Peer Model’ and guidance for developing students’ peer learning within UG and PG Courses, with an accompanying set of resources for professional development and for staff to use within their teaching.

Topics covered include:

  • Facilitating Group Work e.g. reading discussions, group research and presentations
  • Action Learning Sets and Problem-Based Learning
  • Peer-Led Reviews and Peer Assessment
  • Facilitating student-to-student interactions in remote learning and blended delivery modes
  • Co-curricular approaches being coordinated at a Course/ School level e.g. implementing Peer Mentoring, Coaching and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS)

These resources will be available to underpin and support the Curriculum Design Framework refresh, launching in September 2021.

The L&T Hub continue to offer staff consultation, support and guidance in developing your students’ peer to peer learning. Additional resources are contained within the Digitally Enabled Learning (DEL) CDP area on My Studies for developing peer-to-peer interaction within a blended learning context. We will also continue to deliver ‘Developing your students’ Peer Learning’ workshops and asynchronous materials via the Course Leaders’ Course and the PGCert in Academic Practice.

Resources are also available for staff to support their training and development of students undertaking any form of peer leadership roles (e.g. Peer Mentors, Coaches, PASS Leaders, Student Ambassadors) via our MyStudies ‘Peer Leader Training Resources’.

If you would like to find out more, share with us your own peer learning practices, or to be enrolled as a staff ‘instructor’ on the Peer Leader Training resources, please get in touch with:

Lucy Chilvers
Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Fiona Handley • June 25, 2021

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