Peer-supported learning models

I’m interested to know in all the ways, terms, or processes that could conceivably be organized to facilitate a peer-led or peer-supported learning program or one-off learning event, particularly in a public library space.

The idea here, as we’re exploring with the IMLS Pittsburgh project, would be that a volunteer at the library would be introduced to some of these models, processes, practices, and based on their interest or local need, they could introduce and facilitate these as a local one-off event or as an on-going program.

There might be better ways to frame or organize these models, but I chose to think about the type of interaction that takes place in the learning environment. Another way could be from high peer support required to low. I included more traditional non-peer led learning examples too as I think there is a role for a volunteer to organize/host/facilitate these types of learning activities as well.

Learner - Learner:

  • No particular resource used.
  • Peer-led learning groups with a common interest or need.
  • Regularly attendance not required
  • Most informal type of interactions

Examples: Meet-ups, maker spaces, local action groups, support groups, repair cafes, conversation circles.

Learner - Content :

  • A particular resource, content or experience is chosen in advance.
  • Peer-led learning group or event with a common interest or need.

Examples: Discussion groups, learning circles, study groups, book clubs, human library, focus groups, walking tours, Socratic circles, citizenship circles, franklin circles, popular theatre, community conversations.

Learner - Expert:

  • Expert or teacher-led group or meeting.
  • Most formal learning environment

Examples: lecture, mentorship, drop-in office hours, tutor, workshop, skillshare, debate

Learner - Facilitator:

  • Learner-led meeting or event with facilitator.
  • Facilitator trained in dialogue or activity process
  • Facilitator is not a subject expert

Examples: coaching activities, project feedback, goal-setting, accountability buddy

What do you think of this list? Is there a better way to frame this? Are there other processes that should be included for new peer learning facilitators?

42%20AM

2 Likes

Nico, I think that this is a very helpful way of thinking of it. I immediately thought of where to place each of these (what’s the noun here? Dynamics? Modalities?) on a quadrant with “topic mastery” and “facilitation skill” axes.

I think that, as part of this project work, we could contribute a tool to help people who organize learning decide on a format that is appropriate. It might be as simple as a brief questionnaire to guide reflection about how much you know about a topic and how much experience you have as a facilitator.

A bigger question is what are the practical considerations for organizing learning in each of these modalities.

I think we should focus entirely on “Learning-Content” as this is the clearest interaction where an peer facilitator, in terms of facilitation as dialogue process, could take place. All the other interactions are great to have in the library, but for the purpose of this project, we should focus on one kind.

Learner - Content :

** A particular resource, content or experience is chosen in advance.*
** Peer-led learning group or event with a common interest or need.*

Examples: Discussion groups, learning circles, study groups, book clubs, human library, focus groups, walking tours, Socratic circles, citizenship circles, franklin circles, popular theatre, community conversations.

Out of these (and thinking through any other processes that take clear shapes and have different objectives), I think the 4 best to present to a group are:

  1. Learning circles: peer-led study groups guided by a particular online course or resource. regular attendance required, clear individual goals stated, set number of meetings with a beginning and end.
  2. Reading groups, discussion groups: peer-led discussion groups based on a particular topic or interest, regular attendance not required, common theme stated, no set number of meetings
  3. Focus groups, reference panels: peer-led meetings meant to receive feedback and input from local community members on a particular issue
  4. Community conversations: peer-led one-off events focused on discussing local issues

I can’t say I know much about the community conversation model, but NYPL has done a lot to move this idea forward: https://www.nypl.org/events/community-conversations as well as the ALA http://www.ala.org/tools/programming/libraries-transforming-communities-session-1-6-hosting-and-leading-community-conversations