Peer-assisted teaching: An interventional study

Brett Williams, Alexander Olaussen, Evan L Peterson
Nurse Education in Practice 2015, 15 (4): 293-8
Peer-assisted learning (PAL) as an educational philosophy benefits both the peer-teacher and peer-learner. The changing role of paramedicine towards autonomous and professional practice demands future paramedics to be effective educators. Yet PAL is not formally integrated in undergraduate paramedic programs. We aimed to examine the effects of an educational intervention on students' PAL experiences as peer-teachers. Two one-hour workshops were provided prior to PAL teaching sessions including small group activities, individual reflections, role-plays and material notes. Peer-teachers completed the Teaching Style Survey, which uses a five-point Likert scale to measure participants' perceptions and confidence before and after PAL involvement. Thirty-eight students were involved in an average of 3.7 PAL sessions. The cohort was predominated by males (68.4%) aged ≤ 25 (73.7%). Following PAL, students reported feeling more confident in facilitating tutorial groups (p = 0.02). After the PAL project peer-teachers were also more likely to set high standards for their learners (p = 0.009). This PAL project yielded important information for the continual development of paramedic education. Although PAL increases students' confidence, the full role of PAL in education remains unexplored. The role of the university in this must also be clearly clarified.

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