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International Academic Peer Learning network

The International Academic Peer Learning network (IAPL) is a growing community of practice involving staff and students who are interested in all aspects of academic peer learning in Higher Education.

The International Academic Peer Learning Network (IAPL) was established in 2016 by a small group of practitioners who wanted to build a community focused on building and sharing expertise in academic peer learning, and to raise the profile of this exciting area of learning and teaching and student engagement. 

What is peer learning?

‘Peer learning’ is a broad term which usually indicates a student-led initiative, coordinated by staff who train student peer leaders/ mentors/ buddies to facilitate (not teach!), empower and engage other students to study together in groups or pairs in a learning partnership.

The principles of peer learning are founded on similar techniques of collaborative and active learning, allied to constructivist theories whereby learning is situated in an interactive social context (Jacobs et al. 2008). Empowering students to take the lead in designing such co-operative and co-constructive learning activities enables creativity, critical thinking and active participation for all students, in a supportive environment.

Join the network

We are keen to promote an inclusive community of practitioners and students and welcome new members to join in with the exchange of ideas through our lively JiscMail list.

We are currently a group of almost 400 individual members from across 22 countries around the world who have signed up to the JiscMail list. At the moment, there is no membership fee or subscription, we simply ask that members of the JiscMail list are active in sharing their practices, take up the opportunities we offer to network with one another, and be honest about the challenges faced when developing and sustaining peer learning programmes – as we can all learn and progress these issues together to find joint solutions.

Join a regional network

There are five regional networks within the UK that hold regular meet ups, usually hosted by different institutions within their region. Regional Groups Include:

  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • North of England
  • Midlands
  • London and the South East of England
  • South West of England

If you are based in a region within or outside of the UK that is not represented in the list, please get in touch with Catherine McConnell – c [dot] mcconnell [at] brighton [dot] ac [dot] uk who can help you to set up a small network in your locality or put you in contact with a colleague in an institution nearby.


2021 International Forum for Peer Learning
27th - 28th January, 2021. Online Forum.

IAPL Webinar Series 2021
March 3rd 
April 20th
May 11th
June 10th
July 13th

Meet the team

Network Co-chair (2017 – present)

Catherine McConnell
University of Brighton

Wider Team

Melanie Giles
University of Ulster – Leads on Research and Impact

Ruth Lefever
University of Bradford – Leads on Professional Development of peer learning practitioners and students

Amanda Pocklington
University of Exeter

William Carey
Cork Institute of Technology

Lise-Lotte Morner 
European Centre for SI-PASS