Peer-to-Peer Learning

Peer-to-peer learning plays an important role in student success

All students benefit from peer-to-peer learning environments that complement the traditional teacher-led classroom. In peer-to-peer learning, peer leaders foster collaborative relationships with other students to support their intellectual, professional, and personal development. At the same time, peer leaders develop their own communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills.

UNC Charlotte supports a wide range of peer leader programs, and the Peer Leader Action Group supports these programs with guiding principles, best practices, and collaborative efforts.

Guiding Principles for Peer Programs and Centers

Peers can play an important and complementary role in supporting student learning and development

. Peer leaders do not replace faculty or staff relationships, interactions, and expertise. Instead, they provide a different kind of learning environment grounded in communication, reciprocity, and trust. Peer collaboration is an effective and active mode of learning that combines academic, emotional, and social support. Peer-to-peer interactions support active learning and student engagement. Peer leaders also accept and encourage the students they serve. Both participants benefit from these interactions. Peer leaders primarily act as facilitators and guides rather than supervisors or evaluators. Peer leaders are experienced students who provide advice and guidance to their peers through active listening, open-ended questioning, and additional resource referrals. Peer-to-peer trust is built on creating an inclusive and friendly yet structured environment where everyone can make mistakes without being evaluated or judged. Peer leaders need initial and ongoing training, professional development, and supervision provided by a program, center, faculty, or staff. Peer leaders need support to fulfill their roles and meet their responsibilities. Educational training and professional development should be interactive and reflective to foster “learning by doing” and self-awareness.

Best Practices

Identify a point person or administrator of the program or center.

Peer leaders and stakeholders need a clearly identified and accessible person to whom they can direct inquiries and questions. A point person or administrator also ensures that the program’s or center’s work aligns with its mission and all components of the program or center operate effectively and efficiently. Develop clear mission and vision statements. Mission statements clearly state the purpose, primary functions, and stakeholders of the program or center. Vision statements outline what the program or center would like to achieve or accomplish in the future. Consider: What is the purpose of the program or center? What population(s) does the program or center serve? How does the program or center fit into your institution’s goals? What is the program’s or center’s cycle? Establish clear expectations, responsibilities, and boundaries for peer leaders. Peer leader expectations and responsibilities should align with the program’s or center’s mission. They should clearly detail what actions peer leaders are expected to perform as daily or routine tasks and what behaviors they should exhibit in their communications and interactions. Tasks or actions that fall outside the scope of a peer leader’s responsibilities also should be identified, and other resources to which peer leaders can refer students for those needs should be provided. Provide initial and ongoing supervision, training, and professional development for peer leaders. Training and professional development activities should have clear standards or goals, outcomes or actionable steps, and assessments. Additionally, they should model the skills the peer leaders will be using in their roles (e.g. learner-centered, active engagement, explicit instruction, etc.). Initial training should occur before peer leaders start working directly with students with continuous supervision and professional development activities provided thereafter. Develop a handbook or resource guide for peer leaders. Expectations, responsibilities, boundaries, training materials, etc. should be clearly outlined in resource materials provided to the peer leaders. These materials should be detailed and accessible. Maintain regular contact between peer leaders and those with whom they work. Peer leader programs or centers should find ways to encourage ongoing and regular contact between peer leaders and their target student population. Assess the program or center with a 360° approach. Programs or centers should ensure the effectiveness of training and delivery methods in achieving program or center goals holistically. A 360° approach is a multi-source feedback approach that is anonymous and involves all parties collaborating in the program or center (supervisors, faculty, peer leaders, students). Compensate peer leaders for their labor. Peer leaders provide an important service to the University and should be paid, receive course credit, or be compensated in some other way for their work.


Agee, K., & Hodges, R. (Eds.). (2012) Handbook for training peer tutors and mentors. Mason, OH: College Reading and Learning Association.

Smith, T. S. (Ed.). (2012). Undergraduate curricular peer mentoring programs: Perspectives on innovation by faculty, staff, and students. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Lexington Books. Retrieved from

To join this fantastic group, email Laura Parker or Michael Spivey

Membership Expectations

Members of PLAG adhere to community expectations to keep our work together productive and our environment welcoming to all members.

  • A representative from each program or center should attend all scheduled meetings, usually two a semester. If a representative cannot attend, the PLAG coordinator should be alerted and alternative arrangements made.
  • All members contribute to PLAG projects and discussions either in large-group meetings or through sub-committees.
  • All members maintain confidentiality. PLAG is committed to maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and supportive group environment.
  • All members commit to learning about the other programs in the group and to supporting all peer leader programs on campus.
  • Group members do not share communal or individual program or center resources outside the group without permission from PLAG or the program or center. This includes not adding anyone besides peer leaders to the Peer Leader Canvas training site without permission.
  • Each program or center maintains sole responsibility for its peer leaders in the online Peer Leader Canvas training site. This includes: enrolling peer leaders, checking for completion, and removing inactive peer leaders. All group members share responsibility on a rotational basis for maintaining and updating the Canvas training site.

Participating Programs: Preceptors, Peer Professionals (Career Center), UCAE Peer Mentors, UTOP Peer Mentors, Peer Assisted Learning, Forty Niner Intensive Transition (FIT) Peer Mentors, Communication Consultants