In previous posts in this series I have explored some of the characteristics of learning in the digital age. One more notable feature of 21st Century learning is peer learning. Highlighting the fast paced nature of the web, Thomas and Seely-Brown (2011) suggest that peer learning can be both timely and transient. They show that never before has access to information and people been so easy and so widespread, and that we make connections with people who can help us manage, organize, disseminate and make sense of the resources. Such interconnectedness and willingness to share creates a new kind of peer mentoring that operates at multiple levels and many degrees of expertise, supporting learning in all its complexity. The notion of ‘paragogy’ (Corneli and Danoff, 2011) relates to the peer production of learning but as Corneli (2012) warns, such an agenda may be at odds with established educational systems in some respects, and may even be opposed by some. This is due to the challenge that ‘students teaching themselves’ might pose to the privileged knowledge and power structures many formal educational institutions continue to hold in such high regard.
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