Peer assisted learning: a planning and implementation framework

Michael T Ross, Helen Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Much has been written about the benefits and applications of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in the literature. Curriculum developers increasingly consider PAL as a vehicle to help undergraduate healthcare students learn to teach; an outcome which has received more attention in the UK since the General Medical Council stated in Tomorrow's Doctors that medical graduates must 'Be able to demonstrate appropriate teaching skills'. This guide is primarily designed to assist curriculum developers, course organisers and educational researchers develop and implement their own PAL initiatives. It is structured around a PAL planning framework consisting of 24 questions. The questions are grouped in threes, around eight themes. Each question is discussed with reference to the PAL literature and other related subjects, and is exemplified by responses from a recent PAL project developed at The University of Edinburgh. Working through the 24 questions, particularly with discussion in a small planning group, will enable readers to efficiently develop their ideas for PAL into comprehensive and practical project plans cognisant of current educational theory, existing PAL literature and the local context. The framework is particularly suitable for those who want to develop healthcare undergraduate PAL initiatives yet have little or no experience of PAL, as it provides an introduction to the relevant literature field and a step-by-step process for the design and implementation of such projects. It will also be of interest to those with experience of PAL and those seeking a structured framework for planning non-PAL curriculum developments in undergraduate healthcare curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-545
Number of pages19
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Models, Educational
  • Peer Group
  • Questionnaires
  • Teaching


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