The need for developing healthcare professional students' peer teaching skills is widely acknowledged, and a number of discipline-based peer teacher training programs have been previously reported. However, a consensus on what a student peer teaching skills program across the health professions should entail, and the associated benefits and challenges, has not been previously described. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the design and implementation of an interprofessional Peer Teacher Training (PTT) program, and explore outcomes and participant perceptions, using Experience-Based Learning (ExBL) theory.
In 2016, an interprofessional team of academics from across three healthcare faculties: Medicine, Pharmacy and Health Sciences, developed and implemented a six module, flipped learning, interprofessional PTT program. Pre- and post questionnaires, using a Likert scale of 1-5, as well as open ended questions, were distributed to students. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse quantitative data, and thematic analysis was used to analyse qualitative data.
Ninety senior students from across the three faculties participated. Eighty nine percent of participants completed a pre- and post-course questionnaire. Students felt the required pre-class preparation, including online pre-reading, discussion board, videos, and teaching activities enhanced their face-to-face learning experience. In class, students valued the small-group activities, and the opportunities to practice their teaching skills with provision of feedback. Students reported increased confidence to plan and deliver peer teaching activities, and an increased awareness of the roles and responsibilities of health professionals outside of their own discipline, and use of different terminology and communication methods. Students' suggestions for improving the PTT, included; less large group teaching; more online delivery of theory; and inclusion of a wider range of health professional disciplines.
The PTT program provided a theoretically informed framework where students could develop and practice their teaching skills, helping to shape students' professional values as they assume peer teaching responsibilities and move towards healthcare practice. The flipped learning, interprofessional format was successful in developing students' skills, competence and confidence in teaching, assessment, communication and feedback. Importantly, participation increased students' awareness and understanding of the various roles of health professionals.