UK Education Research and Innovation Ltd.

‘UKERI Collaborate’ – peer-to-peer support exchange

‘UKERI Collaborate’ is a secure web App running through a web browser on any internet enabled device, such as a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer etc. It can be accessed by clicking here.

The App acts as a support broker between organisations and individuals seeking, and offering, reciprocal collaborative support in a set of pre-defined areas (as easily setup by an administrator). Any user can search for, identify, have geographically mapped, and be supplied with the contact details of a peer willing to offer support in a specifically required are – however there is an important catch – anyone using the system to seek support must also be offering support!

They do this by first recording on the system at least three areas (and specific aspects) where they would be happy to offer their peers support (i.e. their perceived strengths), including in each case what that offer might be i.e. phone, email, online zoom, or face-to-face visit. In this way it is a truly reciprocating and self-growing system!

The App is easy for all to use, and can be set up by a group administrator (see 3 page quick-start manual here covering both use and setup). The administrator can create a private group of any size which can grow in two ways: Either Organically, with new users registering and in-turn identifying their initial areas of offered support prior to looking for support. Or systemically, through an initial simple exercise whereby all peers in a group identify the top-five areas where they perceive they can support others, followed by their top-five developmental needs. This can be facilitated through a simple questionnaire (paper or online – templates for both can be provided), and the answers pre-uploaded onto the App – making it instantly ready for use. Where growing organically or systematically, all users in a group can subsequently update their ‘live profile’ at any time.

The system keeps a secure record of support requests and support offers, and thus provides a set of back-office tools for any group administrator to profile, analyse and report the patterns of support need (developmental areas) and support offers (developmental strengths) from all users. As such it presents an excellent method to map and report on the peer-to-peer collaborative capacity of any organisational group, identifying common patterns of group need or collective gaps in provision.

Thus, simple in concept but powerful in use, the Collaborate App connects peers together, enabling the sharing of strengths and a private way to ask for and connect with peer support in a format desired. It thus moves beyond the traditional model of a public broadcast request for support (via email or social media) and creates a reciprocating model in a more structured and private manner, with group monitoring and reporting.

The App has a history of usefulness: following an earlier developmental phase, it subsequently proved its value during the 2020 pandemic where it was used for regional local-government crisis-response planning. Such usage proved its potential wider value, leading to further development and simplification to meet the needs of any organisation seeking to share good practice and invoke a structured culture of peer-to-peer support exchange.

Want to set up your own group – contact us

UKERI is a registered trademark of UK Education Research and Innovation Ltd.