Description of a Peer-Assisted Learning Program to Enhance a 1:1 Model of Clinical Education

Purpose : Peer learning has been supported in the literature as a way for physical therapy (PT) students to exchange ideas, solve problems, develop teamwork skills, and learn from one anotherÕs experiences. However, peer learning can be difficult to accomplish in clinical education settings that use a 1:1 student to clinical instructor model. The purpose of this program was to embed opportunities for peer learning into an existing 1:1 model at an acute inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) and long term acute care hospital (LTACH).Description : A team of clinical educators at a facility consisting of an IRF and an LTACH created a peer-assisted learning program for PT students who were simultaneously participating in a clinical education experience. The program was developed following a review of the literature to better understand benefits and limitations of different models of clinical education. The peer-assisted learning program consisted of 2 structured learning opportunities for the group of students each week. In the first session, the group observed one of the students carry out a treatment session with a patient. In the second session, the group reflected on the case in a discussion facilitated by a CI. The discussion emphasized collaborative problem-solving, sharing of experiences, and provision of feedback in a non-judgmental environment. The duration of the program ranged from 8 to 12 weeks depending on the length of the studentsÕ clinical education experiences. A program evaluation was designed by the team of clinical educators prior to implementation of the program and was used to collect student feedback about the experience. All students completed the evaluation anonymously at the end of their clinical experience.Summary of Use : Two groups of students, one with 3 students and a second group with 2 students have participated in the peer learning program. One student in the first group did not complete the evaluation because the clinical experience was not completed. Therefore, evaluations from a total of 4 students were reviewed. Results showed that all students agreed or strongly agreed that the peer-assisted learning enhanced their clinical experience, provided a basis for decision making, helped to meet learning goals, and was overall beneficial. Half of the students had a neutral opinion about peer learning prior to this experience, but all students expressed a highly favorable opinion after completion of the program.Importance to Members: It is feasible to incorporate opportunities for peer learning into existing models of clinical education through a structured weekly program. Students perceived the peer-assisted learning as beneficial, suggesting that traditional 1:1 models of clinical education can be enhanced through the addition of peer collaboration. Clinical educators should consider opportunities to incorporate peer learning into existing clinical education models in order to enhance learning through collaboration.

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  • Control #: 2017995
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Anne Whiting, Aaron Thrush, Carol Wamsley, Jillian Stark
  • Keywords: clinical education|peer learning|learning methods

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