Getting Started

There are a number of considerations when embarking upon a new peer learning initiative. You might want to run a general peer learning discussion group, or you may want to consider a special focus to your group. The activities could be linked to a programme, module or specific assessment.

Planning your peer learning activities

It is likely that your group will be at least attached to a specific discipline or subject area - it could even be be that your group is linked to a particular module. You’ll need to think about:

  • Who is your peer learning initiative for?
  • Will you focus on academic content, study skills, both?
  • Will your group meet weekly? Monthly? Short-term? All year round?
  • When and where will your group meet?
  • Will you need any specific resources?
  • How will you recruit your participants?
  • How will you evaluate the success of your group?

Then you can think about drawing up your programme, session plan, communication plan, publicity materials. We have a number of useful tools available and would be happy to meet with you to talk through your plans to offer advice and guidance and share resources that we hold here at 301. Contact us at peerlearning@sheffield.ac.uk to find out more. 

Different models of peer learning activity

Peer learning can take a variety of differnet forms. We have outlined a few ideas below to get you started.

Student-led tutorials/seminars

Many academic departments already utilise student-led tutorials and seminars within modules/programmes. The Peer Learning Team at 301 have recently collaborated with the School of Law to provide additional peer learning training to the student leaders of these tutorials as part of the WiNS (Without it No Success) module. 

Revision Group

A revision group is a great way to help everyone keep revision manageable. They support participants in keeping perspective and help to prevent people from becoming overwhelmed. Participants are able to share their ideas in terms of both managing the organisational side of revision (timetables, techniques, online tools), alongside the academic content - providing an opportunity to pool ideas on tricky topics.

Reading Circle

A reading circle is a common technique to support academic study, particularly in subject areas with extensive reading lists. Here peers work together to discuss a text and develop reading and critical thinking skills. Academic reading circles work well with relatively small numbers as these present participants with plenty of opportunity to speak. Each member is allocated a role, with a clear perspective to approaching the text.  

Mini Conference

This could be held at a weekend or in an evening. Students could be invited to submit papers, produce posters or host short discussions. There are a number of useful resources available to offer guidance on successful conference organisation

You may want to run the event using the Pecha Kucha model. The model involves each presenter showing 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Schools, colleges and universities are encouraged to use the model for internal purposes and they are a great way of sharing knowledge and content.

http://www.pechakucha.org/faq

Training

The Peer Learning Team have a wide range of resources and a programme of training available to you if you are considering developing your own peer learning scheme.