“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." ― Benjamin Franklin.
It is true for many learners that being actively involved in lessons is directly correlated to their understanding of a given topic. But more and more, we’re seeing educational institutions shift towards a learn by doing, or a project-based learning model. While this model goes by a few pseudonyms, the overall concept of active learning is not new to the educational space. This type of educational model is having its moment.
Peer learning is exactly what it sounds like- students learning from each other. Instead of the traditionally tired format of one teacher lecturing from the front of the classroom, students collaborate on projects, debate programming concepts, and ultimately help each other on mastering software engineering fundamentals. This peer-to-peer model encourages group discussion and learning how to approach problems from various angles. Students are also encouraged to share their thought process which is a must have skill for top Silicon Valley companies such as Google.
The peer learning method is beneficial to all parties. A stronger student solidifies their knowledge of a concept while improving their collaborative soft skills. Conversely, if a student is struggling on a concept, they’re able to be coached by someone with the same set of information as they have; this is helpful as an expert in the field might try explaining something with a more advanced mind set or approach. It is important to maintain a high-quality peer learning experience. Meaning, that a more senior individual like a mentor or a staff member should be overseeing the bigger picture. For example when students have questions their peers are unable to answer.
A project based program pairs well with a peer learning environment. Instead of learning by listening, students learn by doing. They develop their software engineering skills though projects that simulate industry level projects. The collaboration achieved between students mimic what it is like to work in a real software engineering team. Project based and peer based learning combined create an optimal learning environment for many folks.
Marrying these two educational styles is exactly what Holberton School is doing. Students are empowered by their collective success. By arming students with the experience of collaborating and active learning, we’re proud to say we set our students up for success in their future out in the field. Sylvain Kalache, Holberton School co-founder, frames this concept succinctly by explaining "In the traditional education system, helping a peer is call ‘cheating’. But in the workplace it’s call ‘collaboration’. [At Holberton School] students are team players, that’s one very important point on why their managers & co-workers love them.”
Holberton’s mission is to provide high quality education to the most. To us, high quality education includes learning how to learn; this skill will serve our students well when they find themselves in their first software engineering role as well as each and every new role they take on throughout the course of their career.
This piece was sponsored by Holberton School.