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‘Peer-to-peer learning is the need of the hour’

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Ujjwal Singh, VP, product & innovation, Pearson India, talks to Sangeeta Yadav about recently launched  MyPedia Reader which emphasises the importance of peer-to-peer learning model

What is MyPedia Reader about?

It is a path-breaking educational tool that enables learning by offering a unique peer-learning environment. It contains three books catering to Classes I to VIII that publish stories written by children for children. Not only do these stories come from different geographies and cultures offering a rich, eclectic, diverse and cross-cultural exposure, they stem out of children’s experiences. These are stories that children relate to. They are narratives of hope, innocence, friendship, resilience, resolve, courage and grit.

What is the USP?

It gives scope for collaborative learning through easy-to-do projects given in ample numbers in the teaching plans. These activities fit seamlessly into the structure of the course as all of them are timed appropriately which are delineated in a step-by-step manner in the robust teaching plans. Some of the activities lend themselves to peer-evaluation and that creates scope for peer learning. The concept of having a discussion forum for the teachers and students accentuates the level of peer learning with minimal intervention of the teachers.

How important is it to have peer-to-peer learning?

First, a peer speaks child’s language thus enabling easy understanding. Second, sometimes a teacher might think a concept to be very easy and hence spend little time on it, but a peer shows more empathy and explains the concept better with examples. Third, it is easier for a student to approach his peer than a teacher.

Why peer-to-peer learning has become the need of the hour?

Educators across the world have felt the need of encouraging and nourishing children’s innate creativity, imagination and critical thinking. Creativity triggers innovation, it is hence one of the 21st-century skills that are most sought by the best employers in times today. As educators, we must cultivate these in our children. Children today are capable of much more, and we must take them seriously and instill more confidence in their capabilities. Peer learning enables learners to make sense of information in an easier manner as learning becomes an experiential collaboration.

What are the challenges?

The biggest challenge in the present context is to break the traditional teaching mindset which still envisions learning as the teacher talking and children acting as near silent receptors of information. This hinders experiential and collaborative learning as rote learning becomes the order of the day.

What is the importance to teach with an interdisciplinary approach?

It creates the perfect synthesis among themes, subjects and skills. This synthesis is intrinsic to achieve measurable outcomes in learning. Subjects have evolved with a strict focus on skills like communication (languages), logic (math and computer science), enquiry (science), memory (social sciences).

How can we incorporate peer-to-Peer learning and interdisciplinary approach?

Blended learning platforms with a strict focus on collaborative and experiential learning through a seamless synthesis between the print and digital based on an interdisciplinary approach will help peer-to-peer learning. Through the professional development platform, teachers are encouraged to look beyond the traditional approach to learning. Students can take part in the project activities and experiential learning exercises to collaborate with each other and foster peer learning.

 
 
 
 
 

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