How Do Peer Group Sessions Work?

We take a deeper look at how Peer Group Sessions add an interactive element to our Advanced Courses.

Emilyann Gachko
Emilyann Gachko
Jun 14, 2024
Min Read

A hallmark of all Designlab courses is the blending of online, asynchronous lessons and projects with a synchronous component that connects learners with peers and experts. 

Through having the majority of coursework be online and asynch we provide maximum flexibility and accessibility to students. On the other hand, we believe maintaining a live, human component to our courses accelerates learning, makes class more fun, and provides for additional accountability. 

The peer group was really helpful. I learned how to fix a problem that came on the project by a peer's similar issue. - John Duncan, Advanced Figma student 

In the case of our flagship program UX Academy, this synchronous component is in the form of 1-on-1 mentorship and group crits. For our newer, Advanced Courses though, this component is in the form of what we call “Peer Group Sessions.”

What are Peer Groups?

Peer Group Sessions are weekly live, online, sessions where students gather with a small group of other students in the course to discuss the learning materials from that given week, ask questions, and generally get unblocked. Each of these meetings is facilitated by a mentor that we’ve selected based on their specific expertise in the course subject matter. 

In general, students can expect the same mentor to facilitate their session from week to week, which, in turn, allows the mentor to get to know the students and vice versa. Mentors will work through complex topics with students in a hands-on way, showcasing how something might be done or troubleshooting concepts that are particularly challenging. 

My mentor has been incredible throughout this course! His feedback is consistently thoughtful, kind, and informative, providing encouragement exactly when it's needed most. His expertise and supportive presence have been tremendously reassuring over the past four weeks. - Angelica Guajardo, Advanced Figma student 

For each course, the format of peer groups is slightly different. For example, in Advanced Figma, students may go through a complicated workflow in real time to further understanding, while in Data-Driven Design, learners could use the opportunity to practice presenting with data. 

The goal within each course, however, is to further the learning in a dynamic and supportive way that meets the needs of the students that week. 

Why Are Peer Groups Valuable? 

Students enroll in a course because they want to learn a new skill: however, we’ve had feedback that peer groups represent some of the most valuable time spent in a course. 

Peer groups give students the chance to engage with other designers who come from different backgrounds and are at varying stages of their design careers. This is a great opportunity to see how perspectives other than one’s own can inform how to approach a problem and open the door to different ways of thinking and interpretation. 

I enjoyed how my peers interpreted data and came up with different solutions for the same project. - Marites Algones, Data-Driven Design student 

Peer groups also provide chances for working through complex problems in the week’s projects together, and having active discussions about course learnings. Since we make a point to keep all of our peer groups small, participants each have a chance to speak, provide feedback, or ask questions in a way that will benefit their learning the most. 

Students also have asynchronous access to their mentors and other students through our online Discord community, where learners can ask questions and share feedback and resources ahead of or in addition to their peer group sessions. 

As Designlab continues to expand its educational offerings, the value of immersive learning environments becomes increasingly evident, promising to help meaningfully shape how our students learn and grow as designers. 

We’re confident that this multifaceted approach to continued learning not only helps promote the acquisition of new skills but also prepares students to succeed in the ever-evolving world of design.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.

Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.