What is peer learning

What is Peer Learning?

Uncover how peer learning works at Qwasar and its role in learning development and understanding.

Peer learning has high engagement, is much more social and interactive, and more fun than passive learning in a lecture.

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Peer learning is how and why learners learn from their peers, whether it’s in a formal learning context or not.

In today’s world, access to knowledge has changed and people are continually learning, growing both their knowledge base and their skills base. In a work environment where projects are king and collaboration is key, people have many more opportunities to learn from their peers naturally as part of their work.

Learning from peers could come in the form of asking for help to debug, sharing useful resources for a given project or exercise, peer code reviews that look at functionality and code quality, or working on a project together and sharing different approaches to the same problem.

Why Use Peer Reviews

Students learn in being reviewed and in reviewing, and are operating at the top four levels of the skills pyramid. They must evaluate, analyze, think critically, and create ways to break the submitted solution and construct tests. The peer review process naturally fosters 21st-century skills. Project-based learning and peer code reviews are part of active learning: learners must actively participate, engage, and respond. This is different from passive learning such as lectures, presentations, MOOCs, or watching online videos.

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What is peer learning spectrum

The Peer Learning Spectrum

Many learning systems use a single source of truth or knowledge – a professor or an instructor – as the person who provides answers to particular problems, system designs, or questions. This discourages critical or analytical thinking and creativity.

In a peer learning system, having multiple sources of truth, in addition to significant knowledge access via the internet, learners need to think critically about what is important and why, possible solutions and why they would or would not be good choices, and different ways to solve the same problem.

Using a peer code review system exposes learners to new ways of solving the same problem or different architectures and code structures.

“I think I should do more peer reviews. They’re an opportunity to learn. I get to see how someone else has done their algorithms or solution and learn other ways of solving the problem differently than how I did it.”


How Peer Learning and Code Reviews Work

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Participants who have already displayed competency and mastered the particular project are assigned to review the submitted work.

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Reviewers analyze the submitted work against the assignment, its requirements, and its restrictions. Evaluation criteria is provided by our software for each project.

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The reviewer creates tests in order to break or hack the submitted solution. This often requires creativity. The reviewer analyzes results and identifies problems with the software under multiple scenarios.

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Reviewers examine the code quality, looking at architecture, functions, and code quality and readability, using data provided by the Qwasar platform and a Git repository.

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Reviewers discuss or comment on the submitted code and project, ask questions about different approaches, and share how they may have solved the problem differently.

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Learners have either passed and met project requirements, or have to go back and fix their code until it is up to professional standards.

Peer Learning and the Learning Community

In giving and receiving peer reviews, students learn how to communicate about their work and how to give and receive feedback. This is important for developing soft skills as well as preparing for the workplace where peer reviews are generally part of tech jobs.

By participating as a reviewer and a reviewee, learners contribute to the overall learning community. Reviewers also receive feedback from reviewees, providing motivation for reviewers in a manner similar to what occurs in the workplace.

Similar to the process for reviewing academic articles, the peer review process is the evaluation of submitted work by your peers who are competent in their field of knowledge. The peer review process requires analysis, critical thinking, and creativity in order to evaluate submitted work.
The reviewee may have to explain what they have done and why, which helps them to develop communication skills. Reviewers need to understand quickly and identify possible areas where the submitted work does not meet project criteria, standards, or best practices.

Selected Research

Below we share selected academic research articles on peer learnnig.

Code Reviews

Tool-assisted code review improve the efficiency and effectiveness of code reviews – part of the Qwasar platform.

Peer Learning Overview

Take a comprehensive look at peer learning from an academic point of view in Boud, Cohen, and Sampson’s book.


Keith Topping looks at the trends and progress of peer learning over a couple of decades.

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Our Platform

Check out the platform that drives all of our project-based learning programs.

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Discover how and why we use gamification in our programs and platform to drive learner motivation.

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Project-based Learning

Uncover one of the foundational elements of the Qwasar platform and programs.