Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What is "PeerWise"?

I came across an interesting article about "PeerWise."

Hardy, J., Bates, S.P., Casey, M.M., Galloway, K.D., Galloway, R.K., Kay, A.E., Kirsop, P., and McQueen, H.A. (2015) Student-Generated Content: Enhancing learning through sharing multiple-choice questions. International Journal of Science Education 36: 2180-2194. [doi: 10.1080/09500693.2014.916831]


The relationship between students' use of PeerWise, an online tool that facilitates peer learning through student-generated content in the form of multiple-choice questions (MCQs), and achievement, as measured by their performance in the end-of-module examinations, was investigated in 5 large early-years science modules (in physics, chemistry and biology) across 3 research-intensive UK universities. A complex pattern was observed in terms of which type of activity (writing, answering or commenting on questions) was most beneficial for students; however, there was some evidence that students of lower intermediate ability may have gained particular benefit. In all modules, a modest but statistically significant positive correlation was found between students' PeerWise activity and their examination performance, after taking prior ability into account. This suggests that engaging with the production and discussion of student-generated content in the form of MCQs can support student learning in a way that is not critically dependent on course, institution, instructor or student.
This sounds like a good way to encourage some student-centered learning in large classes. We have several biochemistry classes in our department that could benefit.

Does anyone have any experience with PeerWise?


  1. I've been using PeerWise for years and love it. It's a wonderful tool for getting students to think more deeply about what they're learning. The interface is also exemplary - everything is very clear, so students never complain that they can't get it to work or understand exactly what's going on.

    I can give specific pointers if anyone wants.

  2. Thanks for the post Larry - as a biochemist you might be interested in this article that used PeerWise to support a participatory learning approach to biochemistry:

    Also, many thanks to Prof. Redfield for the nice endorsement!

  3. Here's the title and link to an article I just saw that is about learning and critical thinking. Some of you may find it interesting:

    Self-directed, iterative learning dramatically improves critical thinking in STEM classes

  4. Hi Larry. I'm doing a lit review and just found this about using PeerWise to generate MC questions in several veterinary education courses.

    "Student experiences of the system were explored using an online survey. The majority of students in both years either agreed or strongly agreed that both authoring and answering questions was helpful for their studies and wanted to use the system again in future courses. Thematic analysis highlighted students’ views that engaging with the resource increased breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding and was very useful for revision purposes."

    I took Rosie Redfield's fantastic Useful Genetics MOOC a few years ago and we used PeerWise--participants liked it.

    1. Thanks but I'm not very impressed with students' comments. They aren't in a good position to judge whether PeerWise is teaching them critical thinking or whether it successfully increases breadth and depth of knowledge.