Peer-to-Peer Learning Approaches - Advantages and Limitations

  • Peer-to-Peer learning supports the idea of self-help and demand oriented learning and appreciative inquiry.
  • Inter-disciplinary cooperation of experts from various sectors can support a centralised Government in tackling issues from different perspectives more sustainably.
  • Learning is mutual in both directions, both peers express what they have achieved and what is difficult to achieve. The guest peer brings its own experience which can then be compared under different circumstances.
  • The learning environment is the working environment. There is no external training telling the people what to do in theory, or an Organisation doing a training possibly with a hidden agenda. The positive results of good practices can be shown on site. This leads to a high absorption of knowledge.
  • The visiting peer has no private interest in changing the situation of a neighbouring area.
  • Internet technologies can further support the exchange of experiences after a Peer-to-Peer exercise.
  • Peer-to-Peer learning approaches require extra resources, these can only often be allocated if policies are changed at the national level. Both time and financial allocations are needed for staff to be able to participate in peer to per learning exercises. In many cases, donor agencies support is needed to be able to demonstrate for the success of Peer-to-Peer learning exercises.
  • Visiting peers must be able to cope with other cultures, other means of transport, and live an a different environment. This can have a negative impact on their motivation.
  • It is difficult, to assess the quality of a Peer-to-Peer exercise, as its long term impact can not be measured easily.
  • Centralised top-down governments are not familiar with Peer-to-Peer approaches and have to be convinced of its positive impact and synergetic effect.