Title: Peer support: enhancing the online learning experience

Authors: Raylene J. Galvin

Addresses: College of Education, University of Otago, 145 Union Street East, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

Abstract: Online learners can often experience feelings of isolation from other class members, the instructor, their learning community and the wider university environment. Reluctance to participate in an online paper limits learners' interaction with their peers and influences their learning experience. Peer support is a voluntary partnership that has the potential to enhance the online learning experience. It can provide another layer of support for learners, in addition to that already available from the instructor or the university. This study showed that participants benefited from peer support when they gave and/or received academic, practical and emotional support.

Keywords: online learning; peer support; learning experiences; e-learning; electronic learning; online learning; internet; world wide web; learning enhancement; student isolation; classes; class members; instructors; learning communities; universities; higher education; online learners; learner interaction; peers; peer groups; voluntary partnerships; academic support; practical support; emotional support; New Zealand; innovation; CSCL; computer-supported learning; collaborative learning; technological issues; pedagogical issues; pedagogy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJIL.2012.047309

International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 2012 Vol.12 No.1, pp.41 - 53

Published online: 28 Aug 2014 *

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