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The impact of a digitally enhanced peer learning program on peer teacher students' academic performance
21st century educational systems are expected to provide effective solutions to ever-lasting Education challenges, such as how to facilitate the way learners learn as well as to current issues of an ever-changing world permeated both by technological development and an urge of human attributes stemming from affective and social skills. Under the principles of social constructivism, peer learning seems to be a flexible solution for educational challenges, for encouraging learners’ autonomy, engagement and collaboration skills as well as for welcoming the incorporation of innovating strategies and digital technologies. According to literature review, extensive benefits of peer learning have been found under the affective, social, and cognitive dimensions, although more scientific evidence is needed to assess its impact on learners’ academic performance. This PhD project tries to provide a valid contribution to the scientific and educational communities, based on finding that the recognized potential of peer learning can be more systematically explored within the realm of teaching and learning practice in basic and secondary education. Under the methodological framework of Educational Design Research, this study aims to develop a digitally enhanced prototype of a peer learning program in the scope of English as a Foreign Language curricula for basic and secondary education and assess the impact of peer teacher students’ (PTS) voluntary participation under the cognitive (as for metacognitive skills), affective (regarding motivation), and social dimensions (considering collaborative and communicative skills). Results are expected to find evidence of peer learning positive impact on PTSs’ academic performance and facilitate its dissemination.