An Investigation Into Student Perceptions of Peer Learning During a Medical Undergraduate Course

Simon Parson, Medhat Ezzat, Olivia Foster, Mandy Moffat, Peter Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstract

Abstract

Peer-learning occurs at UK universities, but not previously at the University of Aberdeen. We piloted a peer-assisted learning scheme (PALS) for medical students to determine student perceptions to peer-learning. The project was conducted over one academic year. Fifth year students applied as PALS-tutors and attended a Training the Trainer workshop. Tutorials were available to Year 3 students. Student opinion of peer learning & teaching was surveyed: (Likert scale) pre and post-tutorial questionnaire. 52 students attended the tutorials, 80% had not previously experienced institutional peer-led tutorials in the undergraduate course. There was a positive shift in attitude to peer teaching from pre to post-tutorial surveys, with all students agreeing peer-led teaching is a useful learning tool. Students found peer-led more engaging than staff-led teaching and that there were better opportunities to ask questions. Post-tutorial, most agreed peer-based learning was a better experience than lectures, and that peer-based learning should be incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum; pre: 4 median (3-4 interquartile range) and post- tutorial: 4 (4-5). After the session all students agreed it was beneficial and more events should be organised. Focus groups revealed that students found student tutors easier to question, more focussed on their needs (especially regarding examinations) and less intimidating. They were less concerned about receiving incorrect information. From a staff perspective, peer teaching is most beneficial with a light academic touch. This can be challenging for faculty to accept. This pilot scheme suggests that more peer-led teaching should be introduced into the medical curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalThe FASEB Journal
Volume29
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Early online date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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