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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Efficient and Effective Use of Peer Teaching for Medical Student Simulation

  • Author(s): House, Joseph
  • Choe, Carol H
  • Wourman, Heather L
  • Berg, Kristin M
  • Fischer, Jonathan P
  • Santen, Sally A
  • et al.

Introduction: Simulation is increasingly utilized in medical education promoting active learning and retention, however increasing use also requires considerable instructor resources.

Simulation may provide a safe environment for students to teach each other, which many will need to do when they enter residency. Along with reinforcing learning and increasing retention, peer teaching could decrease instructor demands. The objective was to determine the effectiveness of peer taught simulation compared to physician-led simulation. We hypothesized that peer-taught simulation would lead to equivalent knowledge acquisition when compared to physician-taught sessions and would be viewed positively by participants.

Method: This was a quasi-experimental study in an emergency medicine clerkship. The control group was faculty taught. In the peer-taught intervention group, students were assigned to teach one of the three simulation-based medical emergency cases. Each student was instructed to master their topic and teach it to their peers using the provided objectives and resource materials. The students were assigned to groups of three, with all three cases represented; students took turns leading their case. Three groups ran simultaneously. During the intervention sessions, one physician was present to monitor the accuracy of learning and to answer questions, while three physicians were required for the control groups. Outcomes compared pre-test and post-test knowledge and student reaction between control and intervention groups.

Results: Both methods led to equally improved knowledge; mean score for the post-test was 75% for both groups (p=0.6) and were viewed positively. Students in the intervention group agreed that peer-directed learning was an effective way to learn. However, students in the control group scored their simulation experience more favorably.

Conclusion: In general, students’ response to peer teaching was positive, students learned equally well, and found peer-taught sessions to be interactive and beneficial.

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