Assessing the impact of students facilitating workshops within the context of a collaborative cross institution project

Grant Petrey


This research was conducted to evaluate the impact that situated collaborative learning projects can have on the experience of students who lead workshops as student facilitators. Following the ‘Communities of Practice’ work of Lave and Wenger (1991), this cross institution project was developed in conjunction with the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) in Kent, and Turner Contemporary, Margate, and Charles Dickens School. Secondary school, further education and higher education students produced animation work from source materials obtained from the Margate Community in a series of short workshops. These workshops were facilitated by mixed stage student volunteers from the BA (Hons) Animation Arts course, School of Fine Arts at UCA. The impact of this project on the student experience as a strategy for enhancing critical skills and improving self-efficacy is considered via qualitative research yielded from student feedback. The results revealed the approaches used by the student facilitators in managing the learning of others and a range of cognitive and meta-cognitive strategies which they deployed, including evidence of scaffolding.


Peer Assisted Learning; scaffolding; student facilitation

Full Text:



Annis, L.F. (1983) 'The processes and effects of peer tutoring'. Human Learning: Journal of Practical Research & Applications. 2 (1): 39-47.

Ashwin, P. (2003a) 'Peer support: relations between the context, process and outcomes for the students who are supported'. Instructional Science. 31 (3): 159-173.

Ashwin. P. (2003b) 'Peer facilitation and how it contributes to development of a more social view of learning'. Research in Post-Compulsory Education. 8 (1): 5-18.

Bargh. J. A. and Schul, Y. (1980) 'On the cognitive benefits of teaching'. Journal of Educational Psychology. 72 (5): 593-604.

Boud, D., Cohen, R., and Sampson, J. (2001) Peer Learning in Higher Education: Learning From and With Each Other. London: Kogan Page Ltd.

Bruner. J. S. (2006) In Search of Pedagogy Volume 1: The Selected Works of Jerome S. Bruner. New York: Routledge.

Brush, T. A. and Saye, J. W. (2002) 'A summary of research exploring hard and soft scaffolding for teachers and students using a multimedia supported learning environment'. The Journal of Interactive Online Learning. 1 (2): 1-12. Available online at: (accessed 2nd November 2012).

Capstick, S. (2004) Benefits and Shortcomings of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in Higher Education: An Appraisal by Students. Paper presented at the Peer Assisted Learning Conference, Bournemouth, January 2004. Available online at: (accessed 2nd November 2012).

Falchikov, N. (2001) Learning Together: Peer Tutoring in Higher Education. London: Routledge/Falmer.

Gillies, R. M. and Ashman A. F. (2003) Co-operative Learning: the Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups. London: Routledge/Falmer.

Holton, D. and Clarke, D. (2006) 'Scaffolding and Metacognition'. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. 37 (2): 127-143.

Hartman, H. J. (2001) Metacognition in Learning & Instruction: Theory Research and Practice. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential Learning Experience as a Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Twelfth Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ludewig, A. and Dunne, T. (2010) Improving student engagement through a structured peer support program involving international students. Paper presented at TL Forum (2010).

Educating for sustainability. Proceedings of the 19th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 28-29 January 2010. Perth: Edith Cowan University. Available online at:

Marton, F. and Trigwell, K. (2000) 'Variatio est Mater Studiorum'. Higher Education Research and Development. 19 (3): 381-395.

Miller, D., Topping, K. J. and Thurston, A. (2010) 'Peer tutoring in reading. The effects of role and organization on two dimensions of self esteem'. British Journal of Educational Psychology. 80 (3): 417–433.


Roscoe, R. D. and Chi, M. T. H. (2007) 'Understanding tutor learning: knowledge-building and knowledge-telling in peer tutors' explanations and questions'. Review of Educational Research. 77 (4): 534-574.

Rogoff, B. (1990) Apprenticeship in Thinking: Cognitive Development in a Social Context. New York: Oxford University Press.

Topping, K. J. (2005) 'Trends in peer learning'. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology. 25 (6): 631-645.

Vygostsky, L. (1978) Interaction between Learning and Development. From Mind and Society (pp79-91). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Reprinted in Gauvain, M. & Cole, M. (eds) (1997). Readings on the development of children. Second Edition. New York: W H Freeman & Company. Available online at: (accessed 2nd November 2012).

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R. A. and Snyder, W. (2002) Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1990) 'Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: an overview'. Educational Psychologist. 25 (1): 3-17.

Zimmerman, B. J. (1995) 'Self-regulation involves more than metacognition: a social cognitive perspective'. Educational Psychologist. 30 (4): 217-221.