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Peer Assist Groups
Alex Steffen, 10 Jan 08

Dorine Rüter brings us an explanation of the new tool of Peer Assist Groups used in the Netherlands:

Over the last years, many people in Dutch organizations have been participating in peer assist groups to support their own professional development. Using peer assist as a learning tool (e.g. during workshops) has become more and more common, e.g. during meetings of the KM4DEV community. Talking to some people during the recent KM4DEV 2007 meeting in Zeist however, I discovered that peer assist groups as used in The Netherlands – here called ‘intervisie’ – are not (well) known. Therefore in this post an elaboration of how peer assist groups at ETC are functioning.

It's worth a look and thought-provoking, for it seems to fit into a larger trend of rapidly emerging tools for peer-sharing of information not easily incorporated into open content systems. It's easy to write a wikipedia entry about history, say, the Fascist "Business Plot" to overthrow FDR. It's even possible to write one about generalizable behavior, say about Western Business Etiquette. It's damned difficult to write about complex issues of personal choice and interpersonal relationships, as attested by the flotilla of awful self-help books cluttering the shelves of our bookstores. For the really difficult questions, conversation with respected peers is the only path to learning. Peer assist groups are one way of structuring those conversations for real results.

We need more tools like this, because as we move more rapidly towards a bright green future, we are going to find ourselves more and more in terra incognita, doing things and creating things and combining things that have never before been done, created or combined. In order to do this well, we have to help each other by sharing what we've learned.

Do you have any tools for collaborative learning you find especially valuable?

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Dear Alex:

Please note I am keeping track not only of peer sharing tools, but of peer "co-development" tools, in the Facilitation section of the P2P Foundation wiki,

here at


Posted by: Michel Bauwens on 18 Jan 08



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