Near Peers: Harnessing the power of the populous to enhance the learning environment

Ryan, Barry James (2017) Near Peers: Harnessing the power of the populous to enhance the learning environment. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 2 (1).


NearPod is a multiplatform e-learning tool that allows students to engage with each other and the lecturer in real time, independent of learning space size or type. This research investigated the impact of NearPod use in two different third level educational settings. The rationale was the practical implementation of key trends in higher education, and enhancing the student learning experience, through the integration of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and flipped classroom learning. One aim of this project was to identify if NearPod, could address these trends in a simple, cost effective way. Secondly, the research sought to investigate if embedding engaging technology into the learning environment could enhance the student learning experience and create a truly interactive environment.

The impact of NearPod as an interactive learning tool was evaluated in terms of student interaction, engagement and participation through NearPod facilitated synchronous learning activities. Evaluative data were collected in several forms; anonymous questionnaires, academic facilitated discussion fora with purposefully sampled students and a staff reflective diary. The data were qualitatively and quantitatively analysed, leading to a triangulated data set ensuring only valid themes emerged. Overall, the students perceived use of the technology, and the academic’s personal reflective writings, suggested that the learning environment evolved towards a student-orientated, interactive space where the students took ownership for their participation in the learning activity. Students became responsible for constructing their learning ‘product’; created by the students, for the students and, hence, their learning overall.

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