Increasing diversity in peer-to-peer education: A case study of manager experiences with student paraprofessionals in learning development in the Canadian context

Jenna Olender, Michael Lisetto-Smith


This autoethnographic case study examines the experience of managers with hiring student paraprofessionals into various roles within peer-to-peer education models and programmes as a method to increase the diversity in learning development services in the Canadian context. Tailoring learning development through peer-to-peer education models for diverse student groups is an important aspect of how learning development supports students in higher education. Including the knowledge and perspectives of student paraprofessionals who better reflect the diversity of the population we serve has been an important aspect of our practice. Our purpose for this case study is to better understand how our experiences with paraprofessional staff diversity, over a seven-year period (2010-2017), have influenced our practice of learning development in an institutional context focussed on creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment on campus to better support the needs of diverse learners. The knowledge that we gained through this analysis of diversity and peer learning as an approach to learning development may serve as an example of the value of autoethnography as a method to provide useful insight to professionals and leaders in the field.


autoethnography; learning development; management; diversity; peer learning; student paraprofessionals

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ISSN: 1759-667X