Peer networks are crucial resources for self-directed learning. Many self-directed learners consult peers with expertise in specific learning areas to get advice on learning materials and project development (Brookfield, 2009). Creating supportive learning communities is essential to turn peers into productive resources for self-directed learners.
(formerly Hacker School) is a self-directed educational retreat for programmers that fosters diversity in tech industry
. It promotes four social rules to ensure an encouraging and supportive learning environment during the retreat:
- “No well-actually’s: A well-actually is when you correct someone about something that’s not relevant to the conversation or tangential to what they’re trying to say.
- No feigned surprise: Feigned surprise is when you act surprised when someone doesn’t know something.
- No backseat driving: Backseat driving is when you lob advice from across the room without joining a conversation.
- No subtle -isms: Subtle -isms are subtle expressions of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia and other kinds of bias and prejudice.”
An example of feigned surprise looks like the following: “Dan: What’s the command line? Carol: Wait, you’ve never used the command line?” (More examples are listed in this RC page
While these rules focus on learning in coding community, the big idea behind them -- respect individual’s background knowledge, learning progress and pace -- can apply to all self-directed learning communities.