Our two core pillars of shared learning are Democratisation of Knowledge and Peer Learning.
Democratisation of Knowledge is the idea of valuing and utilising different types of knowledge in addition to scientific knowledge to fully formulate real-world solutions to key challenges
Peer Learning refers to the advantages of learning from peers in addition to learning from outside experts, as peers often have the detailed experience with applying knowledge in similar contexts and with similar constraints.
Both concepts rely on deep engagement for their full value to be realised. Deep engagement, as opposed to shallow ‘consultation’, requires active listening that respects input from others and actively seeks to incorporate their input into the problem solving process
Democratisation of knowledge
While scientific knowledge, and the scientific method behind it, are crucial for solving many of the world’s pressing problems, there is increasing acknowledgement that other forms of knowledge have a valid contribution to make to the development of solutions. Practical, managerial, economic, social and cultural understandings are all types of knowledge that can help achieve greater uptake and successful implementation of science information by practitioners. This has led to growing awareness that there can be many necessary partners in the process of innovation and adoption. Of critical importance to this process is engagement that not only shares information but creates shared meaning, common understanding, and a sense of shared ownership.
Peer Learning occurs between people working in the same knowledge domain or skill-set area. Many studies have shown that peer learning is one of the most accessible, efficient, effective and enjoyable approaches to teaching and learning (Hara 2008). We learn much better from our peers who have developed expertise in an area because they:
- understand the context or application situation better than distant experts
- have usually been where we are now
- have often faced the same knowledge gaps and impediments to understanding
- are generally more relaxed in our presence and understanding of our struggles
Peer learning also enables more comprehensive use of information, as peers often know of other ways and means of utilising the information and purposes for which it can be applied.
Peer learning has the added benefit of fostering peer-relationships across different workplaces. This relationship development provides for a much broader range of future opportunities, not just for learning in other domains, but for other benefits such as accessing information networks, coordinating to influence decision-makers, and collaborating for projects.