Tipping the balance towards 21st century skills through peer-to-peer learning: A cross-disciplinary pilot of peer review software
Abstract: There is growing recognition that many college students enter the workplace lacking “21st Century Skills” such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Peer-to-peer feedback provides a large number of benefits, including these “lifelong learning” skills valued by industry. Peer review, however, poses many challenges: for instructors; these include management of the process and poor quality of peer feedback; and for students, socioemotional barriers. Key socioemotional challenges are learners’ lack of trust in the process, in their peers, and in themselves as reviewers. This paper describes a pilot of a web-based peer review software called “Peergrade”, which was found highly effective in terms of efficiency and enhancement of learning. Emerging research and our experience indicate that such software can significantly enhance peer review, helping to overcome multiple barriers inherent in the process. This paper will also discuss key features and their impact on learners and conclude with recommendations for implementation.