In response to the paucity of clinical placements available in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, alternate options for prelicensure students were necessary in order for them to complete the fieldwork required for graduation. In response, Curtin University replaced a faculty-led fully-simulated placement with a peer-assisted learning model. This incorporated final-year students acting as peer teachers to penultimate-year students, thus creating new learning and teaching placements for the final-year students. To our knowledge, this had never been done on such a scale before. Considering the importance of meeting learner expectations in the tertiary setting, the perceptions of peer learners around the innovation were important but unknown. This study used a prospective qualitative observational design that utilized feedback from peer learners relating to learning using the peer-assisted model. Peer learners provided written reflections that were analysed thematically. During November and December 2020, 171 penultimate-year physiotherapy students participated in one of two three-week placements, and 170 consented to participate in data collection. Qualitative data reflected several enablers and barriers to learning during the experience. These related to the peer teacher attributes, the provision of performance feedback, the learning environment, and the facilitation of clinical reasoning. Peer learners enjoyed the peer-assisted model, found peer teachers able to facilitate learning, and provided useful insights that will shape future placements. The success of the model supports repeating it in the future. This will maintain a bilateral exchange of peer-led clinical learning and teaching with diminished faculty supervisory workload.
Recommended CitationDennis, Diane; Parkinson, Stephanie; Cipriano, Lora; Mulvey, Ginny; Reubenson, Alan; and Furness, Anne, Exploring the Reactions of Peer Learners to a New Model of Peer-Assisted Simulation-Based Learning Clinical Placement, Journal of Peer Learning, 15, 2022, 79-93.