We have had Open Universities and various e-learning platforms around for a long time. But now there is something new. A year ago we saw the birth of an exciting new model of online learning: It is the entirely free web-based ‘Peer-to-Peer University’ that draws its morale from the Education-for-All (EFA) movement. Its learning model is based on a mix of online dissemination of knowledge and its diffusion in a virtual network of learners. Networked learning has established itself as an expansion of the linear ‘transmission model’ of one-to-few (classroom) to a multi-scalar, non-linear ‘network model’ of many-to-multitudes (Davidson and Goldberg 2009).
In countries of transition economies like Brazil, India and others, but also increasingly in developed countries, we see the demand of education by far exceeding the supply. Millions of learners either cannot afford a high-class education or they just don’t get a place to study. The model of a great teacher standing in front of students in a classroom, teaching them and then grading their papers, and finally issuing them certificates will simply not work in the traditional way in many (in fact in most) places of the world.
In this video, one representative of P2PU gives an excellent introduction to this exciting new type of school, and indeed, a new space of learning. He also addresses tricky questions like accreditation, business models, sustainability etc.
Here is the website. Look into the totally open communication between tutors and peers, and peers and peers… http://new.p2pu.org/en/
Davidson, C.N. and Goldberg D.T. (2009). The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. Cambridge, USA: MIT Press/MacArther Foundation http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/chapters/Future_of_Learning.pdf