University of Tasmania

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Online peer learning: understanding factors influencing students’ learning experience

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 13:25 authored by Sakulwichitsintu, S, Colbeck, D, Leonie Ellis, Paul TurnerPaul Turner
This research-in-progress paper reports on an innovative approach to online peer learning. Peer learning has been identified as a good method to support student learning, with students able to learn with and from each other. As Universities increase their reliance on online learning, there is continued research interest in improving the student learning experience through online platforms. However in online environments there are a number of peer learning challenges in on-line settings including the teacher as peer, unit content to support peer activities, technologies for peer learning and mechanisms for supporting communities of practice. Despite these different foci, most researchers agree that the student learning experience is an important element in successful peer learning on-line. However, the definition of ‘student learning experience’ has tended not to be clearly defined and tends to be linked back to the underlying research focus being investigated. Importantly, there are also a number of linked issues impacting on ‘students learning experience’ including; the student’s lack of accountability when working with peers and students capacity to easily understand and communicate their personal learning experiences within their cohort. At the same time for universities, a critical issue experienced in using online learning has been student retention as many students feel isolated and ‘drop-out’. Significant causes for learners’ leaving university courses prematurely include personal time management, not understanding the distance learning concepts, difficulty in adapting to a new study environment, isolation, not experiencing minimal levels of self-control and responsibility. In cases where social interaction between students and peers or tutors occurs evidence suggests that this leads to increased learning satisfaction, a higher sense of community and enhancement of the learning community occurs. The literature suggests that online learner’s levels of participation and assessment outcomes are connected, particularly learners who are more active online, including discussions, will generally continue with their study and achieve higher assessment outcomes. Due to the fact that learning experience is important for successful peer learning, creating meaningful learning for developing learning experience in the online environment is a major reason for conducting research addressing questions about what factors promote or hinder peer learning in an online environment and how do online peer learning environments impact on the learning experience.


Publication title

Proceedings of the 5th European Conference of Computer Science


NE Mastorakis, J Music






DVC - Education



Place of publication


Event title

5th European Conference of Computer Science

Event Venue

Geneva Switzerland

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2014 WSEAS Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified

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