Peer Review for Professional Learning & Writing

In a previous post, we look at a concept referred to as Network Based Education that describes Self Learning, Learning from a Teacher, and Peer-to-Peer learning. That post points out that peer-to-peer learning has some of the greatest potential for improvement and is subject to the Network Effect in which more students = more knowledge = more interaction = a better experience for everyone.

To understand how the network effect creates a “better experience” through  peer-to-peer learning, let’s start with Howard Rheingold, the man behind the Peeragogy HandbookPeeragogy can be simply defined as self-organized peer learning. The handbook itself is a resource for co-learning based around the Peeragogy concept of peers learning together and helping each other to learn. The Peeragogy project seeks to empower the worldwide population of self-motivated learners who use digital media to connect with each other, to co-construct knowledge of how to co-learn.

The Handbook provided 29 chapters of information — too much to grasp at once — so the following is a summary of some of the general concepts the handbook promotes:

We are human because we learn together.  People have always gained experience, knowledge and progress by working with, collaborating and communicating with the people around them. “It is the essence of human culture”.

“Education is not an affair of ‘telling’ and being told, but an active and constructive process” – John Dewey.  Engage, participate and be present to learn.

People should be in constant and open peer review dialogue, asking questions being curios, with a desire to make yourself and others better.

Personal Supports Peer.  A “personal learning network” cultivates living, responsive webs of inspiration and support that help us be more effective learners.

Peer Supports Personal.  You have something to offer and something to learn. You can learn a lot from your collaborative efforts.

Peer-to-peer review is a teaching technique widely used in design disciplines, like the arts.  In courses where students are expected to create original artwork, it’s essential that they understand how to give and receive critique.

But peer review is also an effective way to teach writing, which is an important learning objective in CEE300.  The following video, No One Writes Alone, provides some noteworthy tips for how to be an effective reader providing feedback to a peer author:

  • Provide the experience of the reader, don’t get caught up about what you “ought to say”
  • Be constructive and provide your perspective
  • Remember that you are a collaborator – be focused and specific
  • Point out what they did well (but don’t overdo it)
  • Ask Questions, be curious – Even the most basic questions can help
  • Help improve the quality of the work



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