Learning by Peer Matching

The 2013 Challenge—Leveraging Social Media to Foster Lifelong Learning in Everyday Life

Learning by Peer Matching
Team | Mindstream

Project Idea

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” – Mahatma Gandhi

People constantly desire to update their knowledge and learn new things for personal, academic and professional purposes. People are looking for newer and better ways of learning. Several new systems are become popular as new ways of learning and teaching. Massive Open Online Courses, such as Coursera, is one new such way of learning. Most of these systems are structured and based on a schedule.

When people decide to learn something new, they usually go to a search engine and try to find information on specific topics and answers to specific question. This usually requires searching for long time with varying keywords. Search engines are not built for directly acquiring knowledge or direct question answering. Forums also require a lot of searching and parsing through tons of content. Other sources of learning are online encyclopedias and tutorials.

There are some problems with learning alone as it can become boring or one can become casual about it. Most people start well and soon taper out due to lack of motivation and drive.

We propose to develop a solution that will bring peers together in pairs to learn and share knowledge on topics that interest them. Users can pick topics and their comfort level in teaching it and also list the topics they want to learn. The system will randomly pair two users around a topic based on their skill levels and put the two in a private virtual environment where they can collaborate and decide on a schedule and the readings and work their way through learning the topic. We are hoping that being in a private peer learning environment will motivate the users to continue and persist with their training and teaching and come through successfully.

Through this project we also wish to research further the impacts of peer learning. Users will get to rate their peers and the overall peer-learning session. We will have record of the users skill levels and we would like to see if there is any difference between pairing users of different skill levels or what is the optimal pairing. We believe there are some interesting research data that can be extracted from this and we are currently reading up on research papers that deal with peer learning and pairing of users and social education to see how we can contribute further to this space by eventually writing a paper on what we learn through this.