About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3866-3875
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

THE POTENTIAL OF PEER LEARNING APPROACHES FOR SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC INTEGRATION

E. Byl, K. Struyven, P. Meurs

Free University of Brussels (BELGIUM)
Student integration into the academic community is a primary condition for student success and achievement (Borglum & Kubala, 2000; Tinto & Pusser, 2006; Tovar, Simon & Lee, 2009; Stebleton, Soria & Huesman, 2014). Particularly, students who are well integrated in Higher Education (HE) during the first year, achieve better study progress. Additionally, research into the transition of first year students in university highlights the importance of peer support for settling into university life (Hamshire, Jack, Prowse & Wibberley, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to investigate potential enhancements of activities (e.g. characteristics of the activity itself, the atmosphere/environment of the activity, etc.) and key peer facilitator traits (e.g. the role, the characteristics and qualities of the facilitators) to maximise the social and academic integration of first year students. As such, the central research question we want to address is the way in which supportive activities involving peers should be designed and peer facilitators should be trained to optimise the social and academic integration of students. Focus group interviews (n=16) were conducted between spring and autumn of 2013 with first-year students (n=93) enrolled in the Faculty of Educational Sciences (Psychology and Educational Sciences) at the Free University of Brussels. By using the method of appreciative inquiry (AI), experiences, needs and wishes of first year students regarding support for social and academic integration are explored. Respondents suggested that peer learning approaches are important tools for enhancing social and academic integration.

The findings suggest that supportive activities involving peers need to address specific criteria on at least three organisational dimensions (Topping & Ehly, 2001):
(a) organisational objectives,
(b) objectives of the subject and
(c) contact installation.

The main themes discussed by respondents were: welcome activities, campus tours, extra-curricular activities, workshops and co-curricular activities. This article aims to prompt further discussion on the potential, value and purposes of peer learning approaches for integration.
@InProceedings{BYL2015POT,
author = {Byl, E. and Struyven, K. and Meurs, P.},
title = {THE POTENTIAL OF PEER LEARNING APPROACHES FOR SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC INTEGRATION},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {3866-3875}}
TY - CONF
AU - E. Byl AU - K. Struyven AU - P. Meurs
TI - THE POTENTIAL OF PEER LEARNING APPROACHES FOR SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC INTEGRATION
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 3866
EP - 3875
ER -
E. Byl, K. Struyven, P. Meurs (2015) THE POTENTIAL OF PEER LEARNING APPROACHES FOR SOCIAL AND ACADEMIC INTEGRATION, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 3866-3875.
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