What is Peer Learning?

A modern approach to learning from others in the flow of work.

A Senior Engineer mentoring a Junior.

A student nurse doing rotations under a Nurse.

An apprentice electrician learning from an Electrician.

An Executive coaching a Senior Manager.

A Senior mentoring a Freshman in college.

CEOs sharing their experiences at a conference.

Peer learning is a method of learning from your peers, in a formal or informal context.

A lot of peer learning happens at work, and in a learning context, peer learning requires structure, rules, facilitation, and monitoring.

Peer learning is often one of the things students enjoy the most.

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Peer Learning is Already in Our Daily Lives

We learn from our peers everyday – from articles, online forums, social media, on the job, and more.

Peer learning is a decentralized version of the classroom where learning is centralized on the instructor.

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. In engineering, this could be via debugging, sharing resources, troubleshooting an incident, etc.

What is Peer Learning and How Does It Happen at Qwasar?

  • Peer code reviews
  • Student small groups
  • Group work and assignments
  • Case studies and discussions
  • Engineering Labs and group work
  • Discord channels
  • Stack Overflow, Youtube, and other online resources

Peer Learning is Backed by Scientific Research

Below we share selected academic research articles on peer learning.

Peer Code Reviews Improve Code Effectiveness

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.

Trends in Peer Learning Over Multiple Decades

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

Peer Assessment in Project-based Learning

A constructivist perspective on peer assessment in project-based learning.

Peer Learning Outcomes

Improving the outcomes in software engineering education through problem based learning and peer learning.

Peer Reviews

Explore the value of peer reviews in software engineering and their effectiveness.

Peer Reviews Are a Learning Tool and Industry Standard

Peer code reviews are an industry standard and part of every engineer or developer’s job. They help maintain high quality, decrease bugs and errors, reduce future tech debt, and more.

Students learn in being reviewed and in reviewing, and are operating at the top four levels of the skills pyramid. Reviewers must evaluate, analyze, think critically, and create ways to break the submitted solution and construct tests.

Reviewers 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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How Peer 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.

“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.”

-Hung, Qwasar Alumni

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.
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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.