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t is quite easy to imagine how schoolchildren and students can teach each other. But what is the climate for online peer learning among adults in the workplace? 

💡Interesting Fact: A study conducted by the American EdTech company Degreed showed that about 55% of employees prefer to turn to colleagues to gain knowledge and develop new skills.

Join us to discuss the differences between online peer learning in the workplace & the classrooms, the peer to peer learning benefits, the main strategies, and as a gift from the EducateMe team —  7 peer-to-peer learning best practices. Let’s start!

Differences Between Peer to Peer Learning in the Workplace &  Classrooms

Peer to peer learning in the workplace and classrooms exhibits differences, primarily due to the distinct environments and objectives of each setting. 

In the workplace, online peer learning often takes place within a professional context where employees collaborate to share practical insights, experiences, and skills relevant to their job roles. There, the emphasis is on addressing real-world challenges, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and facilitating knowledge transfer to enhance collective productivity. 

Unlike classrooms, workplace peer learning is often more informal and dynamic, with a focus on immediate applicability and the achievement of organizational goals.

Classroom-based peer learning, on the other hand, is structured around academic objectives within an educational institution. It typically involves students collaborating to understand and apply theoretical concepts taught by educators. 

The emphasis in the classroom is often on mastering academic content, developing critical thinking skills, and preparing for exams or assessments. Classrooms provide a controlled environment for structured learning, and peer interactions contribute to academic growth and the development of interpersonal skills. 

💡Highlight: While both workplace and classroom peer learning involves collaboration, the context, goals, and dynamics differ significantly, reflecting the unique requirements of professional and academic settings.

Benefits of Peer Learning in the Workplace

Implementing this methodology brings several online peer learning benefits to the learning experience. Peer-to-peer learning in the workplace cultivates critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and metacognition skills. It helps to create a more trusting social learning environment, boost motivation, and foster horizontal connections and interactions. 

Let’s discuss the benefits of peer learning in the workplace in more detail.

Benefits of Peer Learning in the Workplace

#1. Development of personal and collective responsibility

Peer-to-peer learning in the workplace fosters the development of personal and collective responsibility as individuals take an active role in sharing knowledge and collectively contributing to the growth of the team. 

This collaborative approach encourages a sense of ownership, accountability, and a shared commitment to the success of the entire group.

💡Interesting Fact: Based on study, peer training produces marked improvements in employee communication and proficiency of performance, as well as extending retention time.

#2. Strengthening leadership skills

​​To effectively train colleagues, an employee needs to consistently capture the students' attention, ensure active listening, and facilitate the absorption of knowledge and skills — all while maintaining a vigilant eye on oversight. Achieving this demands robust leadership skills.

#3. Development of partnership (horizontal) relations

Online peer training, where all participants are actively engaged in the process, coupled with their relatively equal positions in the company, fuels the emotional growth of employees within the team and blurs the conventional boundaries between the mentor and their mentee.

💡Interesting Fact: Research indicates that companies embracing partnerships at the corporate culture level demonstrate a 23% higher performance compared to those adhering to a traditional "boss-subordinate" model.

#4. Self-confidence

Making a mistake in front of management is way more challenging than making one in front of a fellow mentor. Furthermore, you can always seek advice and assistance from colleagues who are learning alongside you — working together to find a solution — and nobody is out to penalize you for it. 

A relaxed atmosphere and the chance to "reach out to the audience for help" foster the growth of self-confidence.

#5. Economic benefit

When integrating online peer-to-peer learning in the workplace, the company doesn't need to allocate an extra budget for external experts and trainers. Instead, it's much simpler to provide a mentoring bonus to a specific employee, which can also serve as excellent motivation for other colleagues.

#6. Formation of your knowledge base

Participating in peer-to-peer training in the workplace facilitates the formation of a personalized knowledge base as individuals actively contribute, share insights, and collectively build a reservoir of information within the team. 

This process encourages employees to take ownership of their learning, promoting a dynamic and evolving repository of knowledge tailored to the specific needs of the group.

#7. Increasing employee engagement

Engaging in online peer-to-peer training in the workplace contributes to the increase in employee engagement as individuals actively collaborate, share experiences, and collectively invest in the learning process. 

This interactive and participatory approach fosters a sense of belonging and shared commitment, enhancing overall employee satisfaction and involvement in the work environment.

💡Interesting Fact:  According to the Gallup Report 2021, highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability, and organizations with high employee engagement are more resilient and better equipped to face challenges such as the pandemic, economic collapse, and societal unrest.

Online Peer Learning Strategies Inside Organizations

Now, let’s discuss the main online peer teaching strategies that you can implement in your organization's learning process.

Peer Mentoring

Benefits of Peer Mentoring

Online peer to peer learning in the workplace often follows a peer mentor model, where seasoned employees mentor their junior colleagues. 

The experienced employee, who serves as the mentor, could be someone from a higher position, benefiting from consolidating their existing knowledge through teaching ("the best way to learn is to teach"), or a more skilled colleague assisting a less experienced coworker within the same team. 

In the latter case, even though they may be of the same rank, one employee possesses significantly more expertise, acting as a "more knowledgeable other" and helping elevate the skills of their coworker. The more skilled employee gains from this dynamic by refining their knowledge and applying it effectively in their explanations, while fostering mentorship and leadership skills.

Peer to Peer Discussion 

Benefits of Peer to Peer discussion 

Following a team meeting or a learning session, online peer to peer discussion provides a platform for employees to delve into the recently acquired knowledge or insights collectively. Unlike formal presentations, these discussions are often informal and open-ended, allowing employees to share their thoughts whenever they feel they have valuable contributions.

The facilitator, who may be a team leader or experienced colleague, can pose a thought-provoking question or introduce a relevant topic, sparking discussions that explore nuances, contradictions, and features of the subject.

The success of workplace peer to peer discussion relies on creating a supportive environment where employees feel secure expressing their ideas in front of their colleagues, fostering a culture of open communication and shared learning.

Peer Support Groups

Benefits of Peer Support Groups

The concept of peer support groups, akin to private study groups, is adapted to foster collaborative learning among colleagues without direct supervision. These groups, often organized autonomously by team members, typically convene during breaks, after work, or on weekends. These peer study groups in the workplace prove beneficial for motivating employees, especially during critical periods like project deadlines or important assignments.

Working collaboratively with peers in a cohort helps employees combat distractions, alleviate boredom, and overcome frustration. The mutual support within these groups enables colleagues to navigate challenges, break through mental blocks, and provide each other with valuable insights.

Peer Assessment

Benefits of Peer Assessment

The strategy of peer assessment schemes is adapted to encourage employees to review, providing feedback to peers work. 

This peer teaching approach offers several benefits, including the opportunity to observe how colleagues approach tasks, gain insights into the cognitive processes and study strategies employed by others, and develop diplomatic skills, analyzing how to give feedback to peers. Engaging in peer assessments in the workplace also mandates employees to think critically about addressing various topics or tasks, promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

It's worth noting, however, that in a professional setting, peer assessment schemes may not be suitable for formal or summative evaluations that require stringent quality control measures. 

Despite these limitations, the workplace adaptation of peer assessment schemes remains a valuable tool for promoting collaborative learning, fostering critical thinking, and enhancing the overall quality of work through constructive feedback among colleagues.

Collaborative Projects

Benefits of Collaborative Projects

Rather than being exclusively teacher-assigned, these projects often involve colleagues coming together to tackle challenges presented within the organization. This peer learning strategy aligns with 21st-century methodologies, including problem-based learning and problem-posing education, emphasizing real-world problem-solving skills.

Engaging in such projects in the workplace not only fosters a collective approach to problem-solving but also cultivates essential skills such as negotiation, sharing expertise, and effectively managing deadlines. 

The collaborative nature of these projects promotes interdependence among team members, emphasizing the collective success or failure of the group.

Peer-to-Peer Learning Best Practices 

◾️ Cultivate a Culture of Openness and Collaboration

Foster a collaborative learning environment where employees feel empowered to share their knowledge openly. Encourage collaboration by emphasizing the value of diverse perspectives and creating channels for seamless communication, allowing peer learning to thrive organically.

◾️ Invest in Peer Learning Software

Leverage dedicated peer learning software to streamline collaboration and knowledge sharing. These tools can facilitate communication, resource sharing, and collaborative projects, enhancing the overall effectiveness of your peer learning initiatives.

◾️ Make Time for Networking Events

Schedule regular networking events to allow employees to connect, exchange ideas, and build relationships. These events can serve as informal platforms for peer learning, fostering a sense of community and c amaraderie among your workforce.

◾️ Create Peer Review Examples for Employees

Develop clear guidelines and peer feedback examples, illustrating how employees can provide constructive reviews to their peers. Establishing a structured peer review template helps employees understand expectations and promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning.

◾️ Provide Training for Facilitators

Ensure that facilitators receive comprehensive training in effective communication and facilitation techniques. Equipping them with the skills to guide discussions, manage group dynamics, and address challenges enhances the quality of peer learning sessions and ensures a positive learning experience.

◾️ Recognize and Reward Participation

Implement a recognition system that acknowledges employees for their active participation in peer learning activities. Publicly celebrate achievements, whether big or small, to motivate individuals to contribute and create a culture where learning is valued and celebrated.

◾️ Integrate Online Peer Learning with Formal Training

Align online peer learning initiatives with formal training programs to create a holistic learning approach. Blend the flexibility and informal nature of peer learning with the structured curriculum of formal training. It will result in the development of a well-rounded and adaptable learning experience.


Upon initial inspection, it might appear that without the involvement of a bona fide "expert" or a well-established "guru," the employee training process could lack the essential expertise needed to address participant queries.

However, this is merely a misconception. We're in an era of perpetual learning, where everyone harbors reservoirs of intriguing knowledge and professional accomplishments. Often, through trial and error, we discover many solutions and life hacks. 😉

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