Action and Change in Peer Learning


How can informal learning endeavors reflect on what they have accomplished? What lessons should they take forward to improve their future group studies? This poster introduces a methodology others can leverage for informal educational reflection using two lenses. First, the "Paragogical Action Review", which was adapted from the well-known After Action Review developed by the United States Army. Second, Sohail Validity Inayatullah's "Causal Layered Analysis", a method for envisioning transformation (


Using the combined technique to examine two unsuccessful peeragogy submissions.

Paragogical Action Review

Patterns of Peeragogy IEG

  1. We bid for an Individual Engagement Grant to support engagement with the Wikimedia community.

  2. We propose to catalogue patterns of peer learning on Wikimedia sites. We get feedback asking for more examples and clearer benefits.

  3. Our breakdown of tasks and deliverables is fairly precise, but doesn’t add up to an obvious “must have”.

  4. We get really into design patterns!

  5. Could we draw on our work on (2015) in a proposal that clearly addresses the Foundation’s priorities? Could we improve our pattern writing workflow with a federated wiki, per Cunningham and Mehaffy (2013)?

Choose Your Own Peeragogical Fortune

  1. We prepare a submission for the 2018 Connected Learning Summit.

  2. We have a dialogue about the “what’s next” steps from our pattern catalogue, asking what makes the peeragogy project a sustainable learning community.

  3. At the last minute, we realize we need to anonymize the paper. The content is too much about “us” to stand up well to those changes.

  4. We subsequently revise the text into a successful submission for Anticipation 2019.

  5. We should review work that was accepted for CLS.

Causal Layered Analysis

We look back over PARs, like the examples above, and attempt a synthesis that can “make synchronized changes at all levels to create a coherent new future” (Wikipedia, 2020). At each level we compare the current reality with the future reality hinted at in the PARs.

The litany

The Peeragogy project was convened by media scholar Howard Rheingold in 2012, charged with being a living resource for "for any group of people who want to learn anything." Our successful work since then includes multiple peer reviewed papers and three editions of the Peeragogy Handbook. Since one aim of peeragogy is to be explicit about how learning works, it makes sense to investigate how to learn from failures and successes.

Social causes

This poster show how using the combined PAR+CLA methods can surface emergent themes and diagnose trends. Our aim with ‘peeragogy’ was to use peer learning to build better support for peer learning (Corneli and Danoff, 2011). Are we successfully inventing ways of relating that address the needs of people with limited access to educational opportunity? Can we extract patterns from the literature on MOOCS, crowdfunding and other collaborative projects that can be applied here?


There are a bunch of innovative learning experiments going on, but it can be hard to get a good overview, and access is very uneven. Can we develop our strategy for translating our learning within the peeragogy project to (and from) diverse audiences?

Metaphor and myth

People often talk about great men and women, neglecting peers and networks. We should nevertheless keep the Iron Law of Oligarchy in mind as a dangerous attractor in peer production (Shaw & Hill, 2014)! We can borrow a technique from religious studies (Batchelor, 2015), and ask, how does peeragogy differ from other approaches?


Corneli, J., & Danoff, C. J. (2011). Paragogy. Proceedings of the 6th Open Knowledge Conference, OKCon 2011, Berlin, Germany, June 30 July 1, 2011.

Cunningham, W., & Mehaffy, M. W. (2013, October). Wiki as pattern language. In 20th Conference on pattern languages of programs. ACM.

Batchelor, S. (2015). After Buddhism: Rethinking the dharma for a secular age. Yale University Press.

Shaw, A., & Hill, B. M. (2014). Laboratories of oligarchy? How the iron law extends to peer production. Journal of Communication, 64(2), 215-238.

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, August 16). Causal layered analysis. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:01, February 7, 2021, from