While I’m familiar with peer-to-peer training, I hadn't heard the term “peeragogy” until I read an enlightening post by Jeff Hurt – Moving Towards More Peeragogy Learning Experiences For Conferences And Associations.
What is Peeragogy?
As Jeff Hurt explains in his post:
[Peeragogy] is founded in Malcolm Knowles‘ principles of andragogy, the art and science of how adults learn. It has its roots in the deeper reflection that occurs when peers exchange ideas, thoughts and insights on specific topics.
...Peeragogy leverages three things:
- The learners’ own expertise This is crucial because professionals have relevant knowledge and experience to bring to the table. Acknowledging both affirms and motivates the learners.
- An intrinsic drive to improve Most (normal and healthy) adults have an innate drive to improve themselves and be helpful to others. ...When each participant plays the dual role of helper and learner, collaboration is multiplied and learning is more likely to occur.
- The context Context-specific issues are important because adults are motivated to solve real-life problems. ...Engagement in learning is leveraged when the content is grounded in the learners’ own concerns and circumstances.
How could your membership organization apply peeragogy?
I love the concept of peeragogy. It combines networking, learning and collaboration and elevates them to a whole new level or platform, one that I think membership organizations could apply. After all, if your members have identified interacting with their peers, sharing real-life experience and case studies as key reasons for joining your organization, then introducing some peer-based learning sessions might be worth a try.
Younger members expect peer information sharing
In today’s hyper-active social media world, many of us, especially “digital natives” such as Millennials are used to information gathering and knowledge sharing online. This generation doesn’t want to be lectured to, they want “transformative experiences.” While some Millennials may not be sold on the importance of face-to-face networking, they regularly seek peer feedback and trust the recommendations and insight offered via social media networks. This leads me to believe that younger members would welcome a learning experience that involves enabling them to share opinions and brainstorm solutions – whether online or off.
Would your members be open to peer-to-peer learning and sharing?
Here are a few ideas for integrating the peeragogy concept in your organization:
- Shake-up traditional conference and workshop formats:
- “Elevate our conference and education participants to co-learners with the presenters and facilitators.” This is a key suggestion that Jeff Hurt makes in his post. He advises conference organizers to “[shift] from the traditional 30-, 60- or 90-minute lecture” and “provide 10-minutes of content followed by 10-minutes of pair-shared discussion. Keep the peer-learning in small pairs or triads so everyone feels engaged.”
- “Harness member insight” (suggested by one of the comments to Jeff Hurt’s post) – by providing an opportunity for some sort of audience interaction in all conference, seminar and workshop sessions. Make this a requirement for all of your speakers.
- Peer training - I’ve seen this concept applied in the workplace, where trainers taught employees counselling and life-saving skills and those folks, in turn, offered training to their colleagues. Perhaps peer-to-peer learning could be applied to help train fundraising volunteers at non-profits or help volunteers learn member or volunteer recruitment and management skills? This kind of peer training process could help with volunteer transitions and orientation.
- Facilitated networking activities – for example, if you’ve identified some key issues or challenges facing your members, you could organize a facilitated discussion or forum where members could offer their insight on how they’ve handled the issue/challenge.
Building member engagement through peeragogy?
As Hurt suggests, peeragogy “acknowledges the power of two-way peer relationships in learning.” Do you think peer-based learning and interaction could help your organization increase member engagement?
Image source: Teamwork-people courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com