An investigation into peer assisted learning in the current Liverpool MBChB undergraduate medical curriculum

Tay, Victoria
An investigation into peer assisted learning in the current Liverpool MBChB undergraduate medical curriculum. Master of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

[img] Text
TayVic_Aug2014_2010650.pdf - Unspecified
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Abstract Introduction Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is an essential part of Medical Education. PAL involves teaching occurring between fellow students where ‘people from similar social groupings who are not professional teachers are helping each other to learn and learning themselves by teaching’(Topping 1996). Further exploration of this important part of learning within education deserves formal recognition in order to enhance the learning experience for medical students. The importance of PAL for medical students has also been highlighted in recent recommendations on medical education. Although there has been some evidence of the benefit of using PAL, such research has not yet been undertaken in the University of Liverpool (UOL). The primary aim of this study was to identify the views of the current undergraduate population at Liverpool Medical School using the existing curriculum model in relation to Peer Assisted Learning. Methods Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this study. Firstly, a literature review was undertaken followed by a nominal group and two focus groups. The aim of the nominal and focus groups were to find out what students understood by and what their experience of PAL was. These methods were carried out in a sequential manner in order to increase the triangulation effect of themes. The themes generated from this and the literature review were used to generate a questionnaire asking the students about their current experiences of PAL and how it could be improved for current and future cohorts of students. The questionnaires were distributed to all medical students studying between 2nd and 5th year of the MBChB programme at the UOL. Results A response rate of 53% for the questionnaire was achieved. The results show that students find PAL invaluable and a more formal approach to timetabled opportunities for PAL would be appreciated. Students found their learning was greatly enhanced and they felt that the reciprocal benefit of ‘being a teacher’ not only improved their confidence in teaching but also increased their awareness of the importance of clinicians developing effective teaching skills. It was felt by many students that this contribution to their personal and professional development would have a substantial bearing on their future practice. The focus groups demonstrated a positive attitude towards PAL with students not only identifying existing opportunities and perceived benefits but also perceived barriers to PAL. These were explored in detail and a wide variety of solutions were suggested. The nominal group showed great appreciation of direct teaching from senior students and a suggestion for improvement of PAL in the curriculum that was extremely important to them was the sharing of resources, universally across all years. Both focus and nominal groups were very useful in providing topics for the questionnaire and also gave good additional information. Conclusion PAL is highly valued by the medical students at University of Liverpool. The dual benefit reported for both teacher and students makes PAL an extremely attractive tool. Creating more opportunities in the student timetable for PAL may enhance the curriculum and may help to foster and mould a more diverse and enthusiastic learning environment, which in turn may have a positive impact on the practice of tomorrow’s doctors.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Philosophy)
Additional Information: Date: 2014-08 (completed)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2015 08:11
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 01:30
DOI: 10.17638/02010650