Ways to improve Peer Learning Group

In this snippet I list out things I plan to do to improve Peer Learning Group for a future iteration.

1. Fewer topics per day

In the first round of Peer Learning Group, we had a topic almost every single day, with just two days off in the middle.

In the next round, I’ll either have fewer people or a longer period of time for the program (e.g. 4-6 weeks), such that there’s only ever someone teaching every 3-5 days.

This gives more time to think, reflect, and breathe. More time to have adhoc discussions without feeling like you’re talking out of turn. More time for questions and connections between topics to bubble up. More time for unrelated topics to come up.

2. Give people topics they’re interested in

In the first round of Peer Learning Group, I aimed to give people topics at the edge of their expertise. I tried to give people a topic that would really interest someone else in the group. In the next iteration, I’ll try to pick topics for people that more closely align with their own interests. Still not things that they’re experts in already, but rather topics that they’re excited to learn about themselves. I’ll still aim to make sure the topics we choose are interesting to other people in the group too.

3. Choose a unifying theme for the group, maybe

In the first round, the topics were pretty diverse: we had “cultivating conscious leadership”, the Ethereum EVM, Jungian archetypes, Microbubbles, carcinisation, complexity management, and several more. There was minimal overlap in the ~40 topic suggestions I received while setting up the group.

For the next round, I’m toying with the idea of picking an overarching topic, like climate change, machine learning, math, or physics.

Curious to hear what people think of this idea.

4. Encourage use of background knowledge

This is more about my own teaching experience than running the group overall. As I was teaching my topic (Asynchronous Teaching), I was initially reticent to share things I already knew, instead focusing on sharing only what I learned during my teaching session. In retrospect, it is definitely valuable to share background knowledge, not just newly obtained information.

Curious to hear if other people had a similar experience to myself on this.

5. Include a synchronous component

Pretty much everything was asynchronous in the first group. Not too late to change this though! Even though our Peer Learning Group experiment is coming to a close, we can still set up a synchronous social gathering for next week.

6. Ask more questions

This is a personal change I would make, not a group change. In the next round, I’m going to make more of an effort to ask well thought out questions on many of the topics.

Thank you

I really enjoyed the first Peer Learning Group. Every evening there was a new thread about an interesting topic delivered to my inbox via messenger. We learned so much, and I had a great time with it. Big thank you to all the participants for making this experiment a success 🙏 🎉. Couldn’t have done it at all without you.

Next steps

You can leave feedback on Peer Learning Group here.

You can sign up for the next Peer Learning Group here.

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