Peer Instruction

The Peer Instruction Flipped Learning Model

Peer Instruction was developed by Eric Mazur, a Harvard Physics professor,

back in the early 1990s.  For the most part students learn the basic material before class, for me that means watching my lesson before class.  It could mean students reading or doing independent research on the concept to be discussed.  Upon arriving to class with this basic knowledge, students are asked a series of questions.  They answer the question independently. Once they have conceptualized an answer, they then discuss their answer with their peer and try to convince them of their answer.  Typically, any student who has the right answer is able to convince the student who had an incorrect answer of what the correct answer is and why.  Could it happen the other way around?  Yes, but this does not usually happen. 


Why would a teacher/professor who is an "expert" on the subject want a novice, who has just learned the material within the last 24 hours, explaining the concept to someone who does not understand?  Typically, the teacher made the jump from not understanding to understanding years before and does not remember what it took to make that jump from not understanding to understanding.  However, the peer who has the correct answer made that leap from not understanding to understanding within the last 24 hours so he/she remembers what it took to make that leap and can help the student who is not understanding to be able to make the leap to understanding.

As a teacher, I love hearing my students arguing, debating, and discussing mathematics in my classroom.  They are totally engaged in the learning process.  When I was lecturing, my students sat passively in class and maybe were listening to me.  When I was doing the traditional flipped classroom, my students were more engaged in the learning process than they were with lecture but nothing like how they are engaged during the peer instruction process.

Note: what a good peer instruction question will look like will be totally different from one subject area to the next.

In November of 2013, Julie Schell, senior researcher on peer instruction for Eric Mazur and author of the Peer Instruction Blog, posted a blog about Rob Warneke and Troy Faulkner's approach to using Peer Instruction with flipped learning.

Videos about the Peer Instruction Flipped Learning model.

YouTube Video

Part 2

YouTube Video