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Engels, Daniel; Kraus, Elisabeth; Obirei, Barbara; Dethleffsen, Kathrin (2018): Peer teaching beyond the formal medical curriculum. In: Advances in Physiology Education, Vol. 42, No. 3: pp. 439-448
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Abstract

Peer-assisted learning (PAL) is nowadays commonly implemented in medical education. Mostly PAL is utilized to specifically support teaching within one subject or a specific curricular situation. Here, we present a large-scale peer teaching program that aims to address the individual student's learning needs. In addition, it provides a platform for students to participate in academic teaching. A retrospective data analysis was performed to reveal the program's development and acceptance. The program was implemented in 2008/09 with three tutorials conducted by 24 student tutors to support students preparing for reexaminations. Since then, the program has continuously grown. In 2015/16, 140 tutors conducted 52 tutorials, consisting of 2,750 lessons for 1,938 tutees. New tutorial categories were continuously introduced. In 2015/16, these encompassed tutorials that were held concomitantly to the formal curriculum, tutorials that exceeded the contents of the formal curriculum, tutorials for preparation for the state examination, and electives. Evaluations among the tutees revealed that 93.5% of the respondents rated the courses overall as "good" or "excellent" (n = 13,489) in 2015/16. All elements of the peer teaching program are managed by one academic group. This encompasses the organization of tutorials, the quality management, and the qualification of tutors, including content-related supervision and didactic training. We conclude that the implementation of a large-scale peer teaching program can complement the formal curriculum. This might be beneficial for both tutors who can actively train their didactic and content-related competencies, and tutees who can autonomously consolidate and expand their knowledge.