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Peer-to-peer learning occurs when students engage in collaborative learning.Any strategy involving the collaboration of peers in a learning situation could be called ‘peer learning’.

Peers can:

  • Learn with each other.
  • Learn from each other.
  • One learn from the other.

Peers should:

  • Both be students.
  • Each get something educationally beneficial out of the collaboration.
  • Be equals either in terms of ability level or status as ‘students’.


9 Examples & Types Of Peer To Peer Learning

1. Proctor Model.

The proctor model involves senior students tutoring junior students.

The senior student can be:

  • An older student from a higher grade level.
  • A more skilled student helping a less skilled student in the same class.

2. Discussion Seminars.

The purpose of the discussion seminar is for peers to talk together in a group about the topic they have just learned about.

Discussion seminars tend to be unstructured and designed to have students jump in with thoughts or contributions when they feel they have something important to add.

3. Peer Support Groups.

Peer support groups are also known as private study groups. These tend not to have a teacher’s presence and are often organized by peers themselves.

Common peer study groups take place during free time, after school or on weekends.

A peer study group can be beneficial for motivating students in the lead-up to exams or assignment due dates.

4. Peer Assessment Schemes.

The benefits of peer assessment schemes involve:

  • Being able to see how other students have gone about the task.
  • Getting insight into the cognitive processes and study strategies other students used.
  • Learning diplomatic communication skills.
  • A requirement to think critically about how to address a topic or task.

5. Collaborative Projects

Collaborative projects are very popular in 21st Century approaches such as problem based learning and problem posing education.

When students work together on longer-term projects, additional benefits may arise such as:

  • Negotiation skills.
  • Skill sharing capabilities.
  • Setting and meeting deadlines.
  • Interdependence

6. Cascading Groups.

Cascading groups involve placing students in groups that are either successively smaller or successively larger:

  • Successively smaller: The class starts out as a large group then splits in half for a follow-up activity. Then, those two groups split into halves again, and then again, until students end up in pairs or as individuals.
  • Successively larger: Often called ‘think-pair-share’, this method involves starting out as an individual, then pairing up, then going into a group of 4, then 8, and so on.

A cascading group lesson has several benefits:

  • In successively smaller groups, students can nominate areas of a topic they want to specialize in. They start with a general overview in the large group, then become experts on their small piece of the pie when they pair off to work alone.
  • In successively larger groups, students start off with their own thoughts which they then contribute to the larger group. As the groups get larger, students can pick up other students’ ideas and perspectives and build their knowledge more and more ‘from the ground up’.

7. Workplace Mentoring.

  • Mentor-Mentee Relationship: A more established member of the workplace team mentors a new member of the team. This method closely mirrors the situated learning approach, whereby an apprentice is slowly absorbed into the workplace by observing their peers go about their work.
  • Peer Support: On a regular basis, peers will watch one another go about their work to provide and receive tips and help on how to do the tasks more effectively or efficiently.

8. Reciprocal Teaching.

Reciprocal teaching involves having students develop skills in scaffolding their peers’ learning. It has four skills that students should develop:

  • Questioning: ask each other questions to test knowledge.
  • Predicting: ask each other to predict answers based on limited knowledge.
  • Summarizing: ask each other to sum something up in shorter terms.
  • Clarifying: ask for help when you’re not sure about something.

9. Expert Jigsaw Method

The expert jigsaw method involves getting students into two successive groups:

  • Session 1: In the first instance, each group focuses on a different aspect of a topic.
  • Session 2: Then, students peel off and re-form new groups. Each new group should have one member of each of the previous groups.

Theoretical Foundation

Central aspects of the theory include:

  • Scaffolding: Students can learn better when support is provided by a ‘more knowledgeable other’. When a student’s skills have developed sufficiently, the support is removed.
  • Language Acquisition: Through social interaction, students develop the domain specific language required to discuss topics like mathematics, history, etc.
  • Multiple Perspectives: By interacting with others, we see things from their perspectives which can open up new understandings about topics.


  • Students see each other’s perspectives to help them progress their knowledge.
  • Teaching others helps us to learn a topic in even more depth.
  • Social interaction may help motivate students to learn.
  • Studying together can become ‘fun’, which in turn may encourage students to continue to focus on the topic for longer.


  • Working in groups can be distracting for students, especially if some members of the group are not as focused as others.
  • Some students work better in silence or isolation where they have time to think and focus.
  • Students with sensory or behavioral challenges may struggle in peer-to-peer interactions.
  • Students need to be explicitly taught group work and self-regulation skills before group work is a success.