Assessment strategies to promote peer learning in an online course.

Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

ALT Online Winter Conference. Available at: https://eu.bbcollab.com/recording/532b5b090149443dbfe49fcd9602c9c1


The value of peer learning in higher education is now well recognised. Just as we continually learn from eachother in our everyday lives, so our students also learn from eachother as part of informal and formal learning experiences. Within educational programmes, peer learning is facilitated through a variety of pedagogical strategies which promote active participation, collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and ideas. With the increasing ubiquity of social networking and online learning platforms, new opportunities for facilitating peer learning, have emerged. Within online courses – where students often study at geographically disparate locations – peer learning strategies assume arguably greater importance, serving to minimise the social distance and disconnect which can often arise. As our understanding of peer learning and its value has evolved, conceptualisations of assessment and feedback have been similarly transformed. No longer is assessment seen as simply a summative measure of learning that has taken place, assessment design can also play a crucial role in enabling peer learning.

This webinar describes how peer learning was facilitated through assessment and feedback design in an online professional development course for academics. Within a framework of thematically focused continuous assessments, tasks were designed to facilitate active, collaborative sharing of ideas and knowledge using a combination of individual and group tasks with a strong element of peer feedback and evaluation. Participants were required to experiment with emerging technologies for specific pedagogical purposes, while reflecting on, and discussing their experiences. Recognising the potential of personal learning networks for extending peer learning beyond the classroom and the potential of social media in this regard, participants were encouraged to use social media within these activities including Twitter, social bookmarking and Slack collaboration tools. Finally, this webinar will reflect on our experiences (as course tutors) and participants’ experiences of peer learning via our assessment design.