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Learning and Knowledge Exchange

Virtual Peer Assist

Getting help from experts to overcome challenges

A Virtual Peer Assist is an online group conversation between a learning group and an advisory group, taking place over a few hours, with all participants online simultaneously. It is analogous to a peer review for a paper or publication, but instead of getting written comments on a document, a Virtual Peer Assist generates verbal comments and guidance (and usually some references to relevant, pre-existing written materials) on the plans for a project/ initiative/ other work-related challenge.

A Virtual Peer Assist provides a safe environment for a learning group to articulate a challenge or problem they face, and for an advisory group to respond by sharing what they know from their own relevant experience ¡V in the form of suggestions, anecdotes, good practices and recommendations ¡V to help address the challenge.

The learning group is composed of 1 - 6 persons working on the same project/ initiative. The advisory group (of similar size) consists of persons who have solid experience in facing comparable challenges or solving similar problems. Advisory group members are not necessarily from the same team; they may be from different teams or even different organizations.

A facilitated activity, the Virtual Peer Assist is conducted online via web conferencing tools (such as Skype for Business, Adobe Connect, etc.). It should be considered especially when other sources of project advice (such as existing documentation, Knowledge Exchange communities, etc.) cannot offer the breadth and depth of perspectives needed.


  • Facilitator
  • Web conferencing platform
  • For each participant: Computer and headset with microphone
  • 6 - 12 participants (combined total for learning and advisory groups, and including a rapporteur)
  • 60 - 120 minutes
  • IT support

Download the full module on the Virtual Peer Assist (PDF), including when and why to use, how to apply, tips for success, variations, and references. 



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