Synchronous symmetrical support: a naturalistic study of live online peer-to-peer learning via software videoconferencing

Scott, Peter; Castaneda, Linda; Quick, Kevin and Linney, Jon (2009). Synchronous symmetrical support: a naturalistic study of live online peer-to-peer learning via software videoconferencing. Interactive Learning Environments, 17(2) pp. 119–134.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820701794730

Abstract

This paper reports on a naturalistic study of peer-to-peer learning, in a live, online video meeting context. Over a six-month period a group of international students of animation attended 99 live, online “study group” events amounting to around 120 hours of live “broadcast meeting time”. Some meetings were very large, with up to 34 participants, but the average participation was 10 students. These events were entirely self-organised, policed and managed by the student community. Some students emerged as natural mentors, and the group exhibited substantial supportive, mutually facilitative roles. This longitudinal study examines the impact of simple, live videoconferencing in an online peer learning context. The study also provides a formal measure of how learners can provide “symmetrical” support for each other in a live non-formal context, even without a formal scaffold of lectures and seminars.

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