Objectives: Peer-assisted learning (PAL) is a form of collaborative learning where members of a peer group act as teachers for each other. A reciprocal PAL program was designed to investigate whether there were differential gains in knowledge acquisition among tutors compared with tutees.
Design: Bayesian statistical analysis was used to quantitatively assess the effect of tutor status on performance in a knowledge-based examination. Subgroup analysis according to student achievement and question difficulty was performed.
Participants and Setting: Final year undergraduate medical students in a 5-year degree program (n = 126).
Results: The overall probability of getting a correct answer on the knowledge examination was 49.7%. For questions on topics where a student had acted as a tutor this improved to 57.3%. However, students who performed in the upper quartile had a greater percentage gain in the probability of a correct answer in topics that they had taught vs students who performed in the lowest quartile.
Conclusions: There was demonstrable overall knowledge gain associated with acting as a tutor in a PAL program but the greatest gain occurred in students of highest academic ability.
- Medical Knowledge
- Peer-assisted learning
- Surgical education