by MARIA MICHELLE G. FRANCISCO
Prior to the new normal stage of education, when face to face instruction was still the primary means of instructional conversation and interaction between the teachers and the learners, cooperative or collaborative learning is highly integrated in the teaching-learning process. Before the crisis, students can freely take active part and have full engagement in the in the instructional delivery and process. Likewise, before the new normal, students may source content knowledge not only from their teachers but also from their fellow learners or peers. Students may engage well in peer-based learning tasks and activities during the period when the education was not yet faced with a massive crisis.
However, many educators highly believe that even the worst crisis could not hinder the students from engaging into quality and meaningful peer-based learning endeavor. Even in this new normal, collaborative learning and peer to peer mentoring and knowledge sharing may still possibly exist, but in a more unique, new normal approach. One of the time-tested and proven effective peer-based learning strategies is the Participatory Learning Technique or PLT. Literally, participatory learning is a way of motivating learners to participate in the interactive learning process and peer-based learning. Under the PLT, students get to interact and learn from each other.
But in this new normal stage of education, it is a serious query on how the Participatory Learning Technique (PLT) could still be made possible and accessible for the learners. This technique is held highly relevant and applicable in subjects and learning areas that evolve on practical skills or life skills. Definitely, despite of the crisis, PLT is still possible through its application and integration in the various learning delivery modalities that are supported and reinforced by the use of technological platforms. These include participatory learning or peer-based learning via on-line learning class, social media-based learning interaction, group chats for learning purposes, instructional conversations with fellow learners via web chat, video calls and SMS based interaction. Truly with the aid and support of technology, students may still engage in meaningful peer to peer instructional interactions and collaborative learning using the PLT.