February 6, 2024

The Power of Peer Teaching: Unlocking Academic Success and Growth

Peer TeachingActive LearningAcademic Success

Are you aware that numerous students grapple with understanding and retaining complex course material in traditional classroom settings? In today's digital age, where information is easily accessible, peer teaching has emerged as a powerful tool for individuals striving to excel in academic success through active learning. Through active engagement, collaborative efforts, and exposure to diverse viewpoints, peer teaching offers a distinct learning experience that transcends conventional educational approaches.

A drawing of people having a discussion

Figure 1: Adobe Stock

The Impact of Peer Teaching

Peer teaching stands out as an undisclosed gem, particularly for professionals navigating ever-evolving roles and industries. Its core lies in assembling a collective of individuals united by a shared goal—to acquire knowledge collaboratively. This approach encompasses various formats, spanning from peer-led group settings akin to book clubs to workshops guided by adept trainers focused on facilitating rather than conventional teaching methods. Maureen Cawley, Chief People Officer at Saatva, validates its effectiveness, noting nearly 100% retention among employees engaged in a cohort-based program guided by Assenter Coaching (DeBevoise, 2023). The impact and efficiency observed through this peer teaching approach render it an essential investment, even in the midst of a competitive talent market. Emphasizing technology's role, the integration of peer teaching not only diminishes costs and learning durations but also nurtures heightened engagement and interest among learners. By fostering a mindset that extends beyond program confines, peer teaching fosters continuous innovation and collaboration. This sustained collaboration can extend beyond the program's culmination, benefiting participants and expanding to their broader professional networks. In today's dynamic and budget-constrained landscape, peer teaching emerges as a cost-effective, sustainable, and dynamic solution empowering professionals to adapt, collaborate, and innovate within rapidly evolving cultures. Here are some key benefits of peer teaching-

Enhanced Understanding and Retention

1. Active Engagement

Active engagement serves as a fundamental component of peer teaching. Students who actively participate in group discussions, problem-solving activities, and peer teaching demonstrate higher levels of understanding and retention. Studies such as "Peer teaching in higher education" have shown that 78% of participants reported a substantial improvement in their grasp of course material through engaging in peer teaching sessions (Havnes et al. 2016). Active learners tend to possess a deeper conceptual understanding of the subject matter and are better equipped to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

2. Reinforcement of Concepts

Peer teaching allows students to solidify their understanding of concepts through instructing others. A paper published on revealed a statistically significant increase in assessment scores among students taught through peer instruction.(Rees et al. 2016) This demonstrates that peer teaching not only reinforces their own knowledge but also enhances their retention of information.

3. Diverse Perspectives

Collaborating with peers from diverse backgrounds exposes individuals to a myriad of perspectives. Peer teaching augments critical thinking and problem-solving abilities by challenging individuals' preconceived notions and encouraging them to consider alternative viewpoints. This exposure to diverse perspectives fosters creativity and augments the depth of understanding.

3. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving

Peer teaching stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Research findings indicate that peer discussions and collaborative problem-solving activities foster higher-order thinking skills((Lin et al. 2021). Through engaging in discussions and analyzing various viewpoints, students develop their analytical abilities, leading to enhanced problem-solving skills applicable both inside and outside the classroom.

Improved Communication Skills

1. Verbal Communication

Peer teaching provides opportunities for students to enhance their verbal communication skills. Effective communication holds immense importance in academic and professional settings. Research from Harvard Business Publishing Education highlighted a substantial 30% improvement in communication skills among students actively involved in peer teaching initiatives. Engaging in discussions, presenting ideas, and providing feedback within a peer setting refine individuals' articulation, active listening, and presentation abilities.

2. Active listening

Active listening is a fundamental component of effective communication. Engaging in peer teaching activities necessitates attentive listening to comprehend others' perspectives and engage in meaningful discussions.

3 Non-Verbal Communication

Peer teaching also amplifies non-verbal communication skills, including body language and facial expressions. Collaborative work prompts individuals to pay attention to their non-verbal cues, which are equally pivotal as verbal communication in conveying ideas and emotions.

4 Written Communication

Peer teaching activities, such as peer editing and providing feedback, bolster students' written communication skills. Engaging in peer review sessions enhances students' ability to provide constructive feedback, revise their own work, and write more effectively.

Preparation for Professional Settings

1. Teamwork and Collaboration

In professional settings, teamwork and collaboration are highly valued competencies. Peer teaching nurtures a collaborative environment that enhances individuals' ability to function effectively in teams. Peer teaching activities cultivate indispensable teamwork skills like communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution.

2. Real-Life Work Scenarios

Beyond academic excellence, peer teaching equips individuals with vital skills essential for success in professional environments. An article from The International Journal of Medical Education on "The use of peer-teaching in general practice" outlined how peer-led teaching methods prepare future professionals by simulating workplace dynamics. Peer teaching mirrors collaborative work settings, emphasizing teamwork, effective communication, and the exchange of diverse perspectives.

3. Networking Opportunities

Peer teaching experiences unite individuals from diverse backgrounds, creating valuable networking opportunities. This diversity facilitates connections that can prove beneficial both academically and professionally. Peer teaching serves as a platform for networking and expanding one's social and professional circles.


Peer teaching is an effective educational technique that allows students to learn from their peers. With systems like PeerScholar, adopting peer teaching has become more accessible and organized. Professors can use this tool to effectively implement peer teaching by following these steps.

Choose suitable assignments: Essays, presentations, problem-solving exercises, and group projects are examples of assignments or tasks that lend themselves well to peer teaching.

Set specific goals: Outline the assignment's and the peer teaching process's learning objectives, stating what students should learn and achieve through peer teaching.

Provide guidelines: Give specific instructions for the assignment and the peer teaching component, describing how students should review and evaluate the work of their peers.

Training and preparation: Provide tools to help students prepare for their duties as peer instructors, such as teaching them how to give constructive comments and successfully analyze their peers' work.

Create an organized peer review process- Using platforms such as PeerScholar, and Kritik to develop assessment criteria and rubrics for evaluating peer work, assuring consistency and fairness. Encourage students to reflect on their experiences as peer instructors, sharing insights and lessons acquired from teaching their classmates.

Give feedback: Give students feedback on their performance as evaluators, identifying areas for growth and encouraging them.

Assess and discuss: Evaluate the efficacy of the peer teaching strategy by discussing students' experiences and how peer teaching has impacted their learning. Use student feedback to improve future peer teaching process.

Figure 2 : PeerScholar

Effective peer teaching is made possible by platforms such as PeerScholar and Kritik offer tools for peer assessment, feedback, and cooperation. Professors can build a structured learning environment that maximizes the advantages of peer teaching and improves student learning.


Peer teaching, with its capacity to strengthen communication skills and prepare individuals for professional contexts, is a powerful instrument for academic success and professional advancement. Statistics from various studies, such as the reported 78% improvement in understanding (Havnes et al. 2016), 30% improvement in communication skills (Harvard Business Publishing Education), and increased assessment scores through peer instruction (Rees et al. 2016), demonstrate its profound impact across diverse educational domains. Institutions may develop transformative educational experiences that equip learners with the required skills to flourish in an increasingly interconnected world by utilizing the strengths of active learning and peer teaching and building an environment that prioritizes peer interaction.

Work Cited

  • Debevoise, Nell. "The Power Of Peer Learning: A Budget Friendly, Sustainable, & Dynamic Approach For Professionals." Forbes, 29 Sep. 2023
  • Harvard Business Publishing Education. "Empowering Students to Learn from Each Other." Harvard Business Publishing Education
  • Havnes, Anton, et al. "Peer learning in higher education: Patterns of talk and interaction in skills centre simulation." Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, vol. 8, 2016, pp. 75-87.
  • IJME. "The use of peer-teaching in general practice: advantages and lessons learned." International Journal of Medical Education, vol. 6, 2015, pp. 149-153. IJME, doi:10.5116/ijme.5637.7661. "Kritik."
  • Lin, Hui-Chen, et al. "Facilitating critical thinking in decision making-based professional training: An online interactive peer-review approach in a flipped learning context." Computers & Education, vol. 173, 2021, article 104266. ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2021.104266.
  • Lockspeiser, Tai M., et al. "How does peer teaching compare to faculty teaching? A systematic review and meta-analysis." Medical Teacher, vol. 38, no. 8, 2016, pp. 829-837. Taylor & Francis Online, doi:10.3109/0142159X.2015.1112888. "PeerScholar."
  • Rusli. "Peer teaching: Students teaching students to increase academic performance." Teaching Theology & Religion, vol. 24, no. 4, 2021, pp. 276-292. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/teth.12549.
  • Zarrin, Fatemeh, et al. "Why does peer instruction benefit student learning?" Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, vol. 6, 2021, article 46. Springer Open, doi:10.1186/s41235-020-00218-5.