What is it?
Through this strategy, students explain their learning to other students and essentially take turns being the teacher with the teacher acting as a facilitator to assist the student-teacher in clarifying their ideas and activities. This process forces the student to put their ideas into words, which aids organization and retention. Reciprocal learning also improves meta-cognition which is the process of reflecting on the building of knowledge (Baxter-Magolda, 1999 & 2001).
Why is Reciprocal Learning so wonderful for STEM education?
Since a single teacher would find it difficult to cover all the different methods of learning, students can step in to fill the void. Along with the strategy of Legitimizing Differences, where students embrace their individual abilities, as each student understands the current concept, they are then able to assist the teacher in explaining it in a different manner to their peers. This both enables more students to learn in a quicker manner while solidifying the concepts already learned through teaching.
How do I implement it?
An example of this type of strategy is given in Brown and Campione's 1998 work,
"Designing a Community of Learners" in which they detail a group of young students
performing Cross-Age Tutoring.