Perspectives on Peer Learning as Adult Education in Diverse Communities

By Robert Townsend.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 21, 2014 $US5.00

Peer led learning reduces the number of barriers between education institutions, teacher led instruction, and learners. Peer led approaches to learning, whether in formal educational settings or as part of informal community services, can positively affect attitudes and behaviour. The research gap is identifying the elements of peer learning that can enhance education pathway development for individuals and groups who have turned away from formal education. Most activities, programs, and research around peer learning are directed at the ‘formal’ peer assisted learning within educational institutions or peer mentoring within clinical and professional settings. There is a need to locate, record, and debate all of the peer learning activities that occur within education providers, community programs, ‘underground education’, recreational clubs, and arts and performance spaces. This article will present the reflections of the author’s own peer education experiences, as well as the preliminary findings of a systematic review about peer learning, and outline the need for future mixed methods research about student informal peer activities.

Keywords: Peer Learning, Adult Education, Informal Learning

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 20, Issue 2, May 2014, pp.45-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 21, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 686.926KB)).

Dr. Robert Townsend

Senior Lecturer, Social Work Department, School of Social Sciences & Psychology, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rob Townsend is a Lecturer in Social Theory and a Researcher at Victoria University, Australia. Rob lectures in social theory and adult education frameworks and supervises postgraduate research in the areas of professional identity development, Foucauldian analysis, bullying in schools and the experience of people with disabilities in education. Rob is primarily interested in how access to Australian adult education programs can be facilitated in all geogprahic areas via experiential adult learning frameworks that enhance the diversity and harmony of all communities.