The Evidence Portal

Peer learning and support including roleplaying and modelling

Flexible activity

Peer learning and support is the process of participants learning with, and from each other. This is usually facilitated via learning activities including student-led workshops or activities, group work, or peer-to-peer learning or activity partnerships. It can include activities such as roleplaying where participants partake in scenario-based learning and adopt roles to demonstrate a particular skill or interaction. It can also include modelling where older or more experienced peers demonstrate how a task should be done or could be approached before program participants then attempt the same task.

Both roleplaying and modelling are examples of experiential learning that allow participants to explore concepts, practice skills, relate to others, and consider multiple perspectives while engaging in learning through the program. Peer learning and support offers an engaged way of learning content and interacting with fellow peers within a controlled program environment. It additionally assists with extending prosocial peer networks.

How can it be implemented?

Peer learning and support can be delivered in a number of ways including:

  • Student-led workshops or activities
  • Peer-to-peer partnerships within program activities
  • Group work
  • Roleplay activities
  • Modelling

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • 14-17 year-old male students
  • 10TH grade girls from rural, low-income high schools
  • 7th grade students in public school
  • Adolescent girls aged 13-17 at high risk for pregnancy
  • Adolescent girls aged 13-14
  • Young people in non-public high schools serviced by a substance abuse prevention agency
  • Ethnically diverse students aged 11-14 living in low socioeconomic public housing neighbourhoods
  • 18-24 year-olds who identify as African American
  • University students who do not have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia or Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or endorsed clinically significant levels of symptoms of anxiety, depression or eating disorders

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In Guy Talk, participants partake in interactive lessons involving individual and paired activities as well as small group practice.
  • In HEART (Health Education and Relationship Training), participants receive didactic training and modelling from same-age peers.
  • In Kripalu Yoga in the Schools (KYIS) curriculum, didactic and experiential content is delivered in a format that encourages social interaction including via peer-to-peer listening, group discussion and students leading poses.
  • In Prime Time, youth participate in peer educator training and youth leadership groups.
  • In RealTeen, peer-to-peer communication and interactivity were encouraged on an online platform. Additionally, participants were assigned a pen pal (a fellow program participant) to communicate with throughout the program.
  • In Refuse, Remove, Reasons (RRR), peer teaching was combined with teaching from an adult facilitator and contributed to a mutual-aid group approach to combating substance use among adolescents.
  • In Art from Ashes Phoenix Rising Poetry Workshops, youth share their program peers.
  • In Color it Real, participants engage in games, exercises and roleplaying to promote positive attitudes and build effective communication. Additionally, learned content in this program includes peer education.
  • In No program name: Coping skills, skills are taught via modelling and role-playing.

What else should I consider?

Facilitators should monitor and oversee group work or group discussions to ensure conduct and communication remains appropriate and within the bounds of the program.

Further resources

Last updated:

24 Nov 2022

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