As both student and professor at emlyon business school, Diane Lenne has created a peer-learning methodology, and since graduating, she set up WAP. But what exactly is WAP?
Diane, how did WAP come into being?
During my studies, I joined a social start-up. My job was to identify positive innovations around the world and to create daily news items about them, generating a positive impact. This experience made me want to inspired me to make a move to place education at the heart of solving society’s problems. I experimented with methodologies like Design for Change and Design Thinking. I also immersed myself in the creation of innovative projects, or fab labs as they are called, makerspaces, hack spaces etc. For me, their true strength is their peer learning culture.
What support did you receive from your school to create WAP?
I spent the summer writing my peer learning course. At the beginning of the school year, I pitched it to the directors. The Academic Director Thierry Picq immediately supported me, saying "Let’s give it a try!". A few weeks later, we sent an invitation via e-mail to the whole year, inviting them to register for an educational innovation. That is how it all started!
How did you go from student to teacher within emlyon?
Under a lot of stress! I was worried I’d be all alone at the launch, but in the end, over 100 students turned up. Again, in my first class, I was afraid that I would not seem credible to my peers, but that was not the case. Some students told me they had an epiphany moment, that the process helped them to become aware of and trust in their own resources. As far as I'm concerned, I have learned so much from my peers; as much, if not more, than they have learned from me!
What role do the teachers play if the learning is peer-led?
The teachers become facilitators. They set the rules and values (contribution, benevolence, meaning and usefulness). They create an atmosphere where students can get into a flow. They set ambitious and enthusiastic goals. They also guide the participants in the learning process. Their role is to ask the right questions, to help the students to find resources, to structure content, to share information among their peers and to apply their findings. They ensure fluid and dynamic interactions and suggest new ways of passing on information, if necessary.
Was does being an Early Maker mean for you?
Literally spending many evenings in the makerspaces to create my first prototypes of peer pedagogy kits, including using a laser cutter to make my cards. Figuratively, to me it means that we are all always in a prototype phase as individuals. I like to experiment with new things in my job, project, and life and then once I have adopted them, I look for the next new thing! For an entrepreneur, this means testing and developing an innovation, from production to market, and then going back to the "early maker" stage again.
Who inspires you?
Voltaire, I have always been very inspired by his struggle for tolerance and freedom of thought. By studying the character better, we discover that his works are the story of his own life. I love his whole personality, contradictory, conquering, annoying perhaps, though anything but boring.
What is your best memory as an emlyon business school student?
One of my best memories is taking part in “Raid Hannibal”. Racing 150 km up 9000 m over 4 days, on foot and by mountain bike. Our team used a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to take part :) We got through the ordeal thanks to our mutual support, which earned us the prize for the best team. I was given the “Courage Prize” for going to the end despite an injured foot. I could never have done it without my team carrying me the last few metres across the finish line.
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