04.06.2013 EAEA

EAEA Younger Staff Network launches peer learning sessions

On the 25th April 2013 the first peer learning session of the EAEA younger staff network took place. It was organised by Marion Fields, Coordinator at the OK Study Centre, Helsinki, Finland.

Six young adult education professionals, from Norway to Portugal, met virtually to listen to a presentation on peer learning methods for study circles in Finnish associations and to discuss the topic together.

Study circles in focus

Ms Fields firstly introduced the origins and structure of the Study Circles and then illustrated how study centres use peer learning activities, which allow for a cooperative, informal way of exchanging ideas and building knowledge and skills.

Marion Fields also introduced personal observations and paradoxes she has made during a recent study circle research project in order to stimulate the discussion among the participants. The debate was quite lively:

"It lasted one hour and was very thought-provoking. We were few but it was a very good start, Ms Fields says, proposing to re-organise a session for the people who couldn´t make it this time."

One of the findings that participants found most interesting was that even though educational text books often claim that a small group is best for peer learning, small study circles are often dominated by their facilitator and that learner-initiated peer learning can occur more freely in large groups.

Next session in June

The group also came up with a new idea for an autumn webinar, which would be differences in participation and in adult education (between socio-economic groups) around Europe.

A nice start for a hopefully enriching occasion to exchange views and ideas within the EU: the next session will be held in June by the NIACE colleagues.

More information on the EAEA Younger Staff Network can be found on the dedicated website or by contacting EAEA Project Officer Francesca Operti.

Text: Francesca Operti