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How Twitter Enables Peer Instructors in a Remote-First Environment

by Marko Gargenta

Overview

Over the last few weeks, it has become clear that working from home has become a new reality for many of us. As we started talking to peers at various companies, we realized that everyone was working hard to adapt to this new work-from-home norm and remote-first learning and development. We decided to come together on a virtual Roundtable to compare notes.

Seventy-five leaders who work at the intersection of technical training and learning & development joined in, and Twitter was one of the three companies that presented.

Here is what Katie Hawkes (Senior Program Manager) and Dennen Hansen (Program Manager II) of Twitter University (Technical Learning & Development), had to say about effective peer-to-peer teaching and learning in a remote-first work environment.

1. Peer-to-Peer Learning Program

Twitter University is a team of 3-4 people responsible for educating over 2,000 engineers. They focus on utilizing Subject Matter Experts to teach classes to each other efficiently and effectively at scale. Volunteers, not professional instructors, teach most of these classes.

2. Enabling Remote-First Peer Learning

Their onboarding program, Engineering Flight School, has historically been 21 hours of education during a new hire’s first week, entirely in-person. The challenge:

3. Strategy: Crowdsourcing best practices

Twitter University started by crowdsourcing best practices from their volunteer instructors, particularly those who have historically been remote or have taught remote-only sessions. They began by doing the following:

4. Remote-First Instruction Best Practices

The feedback they received fit neatly within four categories:

1: Class Setup

2: Setting expectations

3: Classroom Management

Participation

Disruption/distractions

4: Accessibility

Disability/impairment

Availability of content

Resources

Dennen has shared a more comprehensive, ongoing list of remote-first instructor best practices: Twitter’s Remote-First Instruction Best Practices [Collaborative Doc]

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