Baillie S, Shore H, Gill D, May SA. Introducing peer-assisted learning into a veterinary curriculum: a trial with a simulator. J Vet Med Educ. 2009 Summer;36(2):174-9

PMID: 19625665


Peer-assisted learning (PAL) was implemented in the context of delivering training with a simulator, the Haptic Cow. This project was undertaken as a way of increasing student access to the simulator and to investigate the possibility of using PAL more extensively in the curriculum. Peer tutors attended a workshop to learn basic teaching skills and were then trained to use the simulator. The tutors taught their peers the basic skills for bovine rectal palpation with the simulator. The PAL project was evaluated using questionnaires and a focus group to gather feedback from both tutors and learners. Sixteen peer tutors trained 99 fellow students with the simulator. Both tutors and learners thought that there were certain advantages in students, rather than veterinarians, delivering the training. Student tutors were less intimidating and could relate more closely to the difficulties of their peers. However, lack of knowledge was identified as a potential issue. Students reported certain benefits from their role as tutors, including improvements in communication skills, knowledge of the subject area, and confidence in performing bovine rectal palpation. Additionally, the skills developed, including learning to teach, were considered to be useful for their future careers as veterinarians. Tutors and learners supported the continued use of PAL both with the simulator and in other areas of the course. The trial of PAL proved a successful way of delivering simulator-based training and the project has provided a basis for the further use of PAL in our curriculum.

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