FTA:Enhanced Peer Learning Model EPL mode

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This page is dedicated to the development of a new course delivery model for the FTA, the Enhanced Peer Learning (EPL) model. EPL is conceived as a flexible and scalable activity-based course model, where learners follow a sequence of blocks consisting on several learning materials. Peer support and group discussions play a central role in the classroom, facilitated by one or more Learning Assistants.


EPL courses are activity-based and mostly self-assessed or peer-assessed. There are no tutor-graded assignments. Each course consists of a sequence of self-contained learning blocks that can take anything from 1 to 10 hours to complete.

Learning materials

Each block can contain several kinds of learning materials and activities:

  • readings: articles, book chapters, online mailing list discussions, blog posts...
  • discussion: learners discuss the block's materials and act as 1st level support
  • debate: debate topics are proposed, possibly based on one of the readings. Can include role-playing and other debate techniques.
  • practical exercises: programming tasks, testing, writing short essays, brainstorming sessions...
  • peer-assessment: learners post their work and comment (and possibly rate) each other's

Basic learning materials are decided and placed in the classroom beforehand, but they will be be updated, expanded and ammended after each course iteration, or even during a course run.

Learning Assistants

LAs have two main tasks in the EPL classroom: facilitate discussions and debates, and solve doubts and questions when peer learners can't do it satisfactorily. Each classroom should have 2 or more LAs to reduce the response time. The first estimation for LA time dedication is around 15min per learner per week, which means:

LA weekly dedication with 2 LAs
Learners total LA hours LA dedication
20 5 2.5
60 30 15

Course duration

In principle courses should have a recommended pace that can be enforced by unlocking learning blocks at that pace. In the future other models can be explored on which learners can join the course anytime and take as much time as they need to complete it (this would probably work better for large learner groups). The first test runs can be short (4-6 weeks), but full courses can be of the same duration of FTA master-level courses (around 13 weeks).


The EPL classroom can be scaled from a small size, comparable to the master-level FTA modules (between 10 and 40 learners) to much bigger numbers (in the hundreds or thousands). The LA dedication suggested above would work for the 10-100 scale, above that it should be reviewed.

Revenue models

The prominence of peer support and self learning makes it possible to deliver EPL courses at a relatively low cost (in terms of infrastructure, management and LA hours). Several models would allow to offer EPL courses at a low cost for learners while making them economically sustainable for the FTA:

  • Pay per course: pay a fixed fee for unlimited access to the classroom for the duration of the course (suggested: 1 Euro a day).
    • easy to manage
    • positive cash flow (payment for the whole course is received ahead of time)
  • Subscription: pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to the classroom for a month.
    • Allows learners to try the course for a low fee and drop it if they don't like it or can't keep up. -> can bring in more learners
    • Makes it more difficult to predict income
    • Discourages slow learners (if the course doesn't have a hard end date)
  • Both previous models: offer both a subscription model and a fix fee (at a discount price)