A New and Improved "Theory of Learning" on info.p2pu.org


Full post now at http://info.p2pu.org/about/how-we-learn/

Welcome to Peer 2 Peer University. We’re so glad you are here.

One of our core values is “peer learning.” It’s kind of a wonky term, but we’ve grown to love it. Generally we use it as a shorthand for the following framework for learning:

  • Everyone has expertise.
  • We learn by connecting and sharing what we know.
  • We give helpful feedback to each other to improve.

Everyone has expertise: in the average P2PU learning group, you might have a super-organized project manager, a whip-smart headline writer, a shark of a negotiator and an exhibition designer. No matter what the subject of the course, everyone brings their suite of skills and experiences to the team. In this light “expertise” doesn’t necessarily mean a skill that is recognized by a degree or a job title, but instead refers to a more informal definition of talent. What is the ability to bake a cake, anyway, if not an arena of expertise?

We learn by connecting and sharing: every single P2PU experience will ask you to work on something together and share it. Whether it’s a team-based project such as the Data Explorer Mission, a peer review team such as Copyright 4 Educators, or making an HTML file with the School of Webcraft, interacting with others, sharing your work and imparting your knowledge is part-and-parcel of the learning experience.

Giving feedback to improve: at P2PU, we believe that delivering feedback is a kind of learning. We built our friendly assessment platform badges.p2pu.org around that very principle. When you submit a project, another P2PU community member will give you feedback to help extend your learning. Here’s an example from our Data Explorer Mission:

The feedback helps you by honing on your individual needs, and helps the P2PU member learn more by diagnosing where you’re at with the project.

Those are the core elements of what you can expect from every peer learning experience, and they can take many forms. How will you peer learn today?


Well done. I need to explain more and more often to people what it is that we do and why it is different from a normal school/online course/universtiy. This will definitely help me do that!


I really love your train of thought on this!

Vanessa, I apologize if I stepped out of bounds but your comment in the last community call really resonated so I clipped it and posted your explanation of peer2peer learning.

And I look forward to sharing these ideas and P2PU at the Podstock conference in Wichita, KS next month!


Connecting is important for many reasons: Sharing is one, but that is a little directional for me. We also get supported as learners by being witnessed and affirmed as we deal with uncertainties, confusions, and letting go of old scripts. More generally, I suggest that any peer learning activity should be informed by the sequence of 4Rs, http://wp.me/p1gwfa-og