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The $2 Whiteboard Shows Power of Peer-to-Peer Learning

Posted on December 30, 2010 at 02:22 AM

peer-to-peer learningIf you ask most people how they learn things at work –new software, processes, or policies – the vast majority will give you some variation of this theme: “I ask the person next to me.”

Of course, the person “next to you” might just as often be consulted via email or other online tool, but it doesn’t change this fact: the amount of workplace learning done in formal training sessions is a tiny fraction of of the learning that takes place one-on-one, between coworkers.

That’s why this post from Frank Noschese is so great. He contrasts two teaching methods that involve different kinds of whiteboards: one that costs $2,000, and one that costs $2. The difference: peer-to-peer interaction.


It’s hard to overstate the importance of learner engagement when teaching complex new material, and in this case the $2 whiteboard is far more effective at gaining that engagement. Clearly this approach may not be appropriate in all cases, but large organizations would do well to carefully consider when it makes sense to let their expensive gear sit idle and instead employ lower-tech - but more effective - methods.

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Jon Matejcek

Jon joined Dashe and Thomson in 2003 as Director of Consulting, and assumed the role of President in 2005. Prior to joining Dashe & Thomson, Jon was co-founder and Vice President of Yatra Corp, a technology company subsequently acquired by Dublin-based Datalex Communications. Before that, Jon spent 10 years in leadership positions at Carlson Companies, Inc. He has degrees in Journalism and Organizational Development/Communications from the University of St. Thomas. Jon serves on the Board of Directors for Hammer Residences, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that provides housing and services for people with disabilities.

Classroom Learning, Instructor-Led Learning, Peer-To-Peer Learning, Social Learning