P2P collaboration: The disadvantages of P2P (peer-to-peer) collaboration, PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) and PL (Peer Learning).

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Book details:

4900 words

52 x A4 size pages (font size = 14 P).

TABLE WITH ALL DISADVANTAGES LISTED: Includes a Google Sheets Doc – shared to view by anyone with the link

APA Referencing style, an easy read.


Keywords & Key Phrases:


Peer-to-peer, peer learning, Peer-assisted learning, collaboration, monitor, feedback, ethical concerns, curriculum level, steering by teacher, equal opportunities, safe environment, and taking care when using technology



This paper is to inform teachers and tutors on the disadvantages of Peer Learning (PL), Peer-to-Peer collaboration (P2P), and Peer Assisted Learning (PAL). By looking at the disadvantages, it will consequently inform and prompt teachers to think about the advantages. The management of P2P collaborative processes PAL and PL are at the heart of this research.




Disadvantage no. 2: Quality control systems and methods are not in place or are not developed in PAL & P2P collaborative teaching and learning.


What is not always happening?:

Tutors don’t always monitor the collaborative and peer learning process close enough. Students do not understand the P2P instructions correctly. The quality of PAL & P2P is not always addressed.

Follow up and monitoring by tutor:

Tutors to have an overview of all P2P activities to ensure the quality of teaching and learning is not compromised.

Suggestions by the teacher:

Tutors to set a benchmark for students, so activities are up to an acceptable standard.



Tutors should monitor the quality control of the peer learning process more closely. To ensure effective and accurate peer-assisted learning and collaboration the tutor has to build additional time into the course to train students. For example, a short activity or lesson could be developed as an introduction for students. By making available such resources, it could raise the awareness and competency level of the students.


The ‘flow’ concepts suggested by Csikszentmihalyi (1990) – ‘a highly focused mental state of flow’ – identifies three important aspects related to feedback and PAL. These are immediacy, richness, and balance between challenges and skill.

Immediacy: Each feedback signal is either a confirmation that you are on the right track or an indication of how you can get back on track. Therefore, any feedback is good. The absence of feedback has the effect that it produces a sense of growing uncertainty and questions whether one is following the right course of action.

The second is richness, which has an impact on the ‘flow’. Effective feedback should inform one about the precise degree and direction of the deviation in each dimension so that adjustments could be actioned.

The third concept is the balance between challenges and skills. Too easy a task set for students produces boredom, as it does not fully engage the student. If the task is too complex, it produces anxiety as the person becomes afraid to fail (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002). It means that tutors should be either focusing on individual ability or group ability. Students with the same interest or level of competence should be grouped with specific P2P activities or tasks in mind. In other words, tutors should know their students and their student’s abilities. The pairing and grouping could be time-consuming for the tutor/facilitator or teacher in a P2P teaching and learning context.


Table of Contents


Summary. Page 3

Abstract: Page 7

Keywords & Key Phrases: 9

Introduction. 10

Summary of the disadvantages of P2P, PAL & PL [Topping, K., & Ehly, S. (1998)] 12

Comments below on disadvantages listed from no. 1 to 6 by W van Zyl–referring to Table 4 (Topping & Ehly, 1998): 13

Disadvantage no. 1: Build time into PAL courses and tutoring. 13

Disadvantage no. 2: Monitor PAL and P2P closely and give feedback as soon as possible. 14

Disadvantage no. 3: The ‘range and depth’ of PAL and P2P teaching and learning. 15

Disadvantage no. 4: Close monitoring of PAL and P2P and the rapid changes required by tutors to keep learning and teaching on track. 16

Disadvantage no. 5: Ethical concerns, accountability, peer competence, and informed consent regarding PAL and P2P courses. 16

Disadvantage no. 6: General misconceptions: No equal opportunities; students are not teachers; not effective for all groups (e.g. gifted and talented, students with learning difficulties, physically disabled students, and other categories). 18

Conclusion: 19

References: 20

About the researcher (Author): 22

APA referencing and citation: 23

BOOK FRONT- P2P collaboration: The disadvantages of P2P (peer-to-peer) collaboration, PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) and PL (Peer Learning).

BOOK BACK- P2P collaboration: The disadvantages of P2P (peer-to-peer) collaboration, PAL (Peer Assisted Learning) and PL (Peer Learning).

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