Developing teaching practice


In 2020, following the disruption of COVID-19, we rapidly moved the interprofessional Peer Teacher Training (PTT) program, traditionally delivered via blended learning to ‘online only’ format. Consisting of seven modules, the PTT program is designed to provide health professional students with opportunities to develop skills in teaching, feedback, assessment, teamwork and communication, in preparation for peer teaching and future practice. This study sought to compare ‘blended learning’ with ‘online only’ delivery. ‘Blended learning’ format, included a one-day face-to-face session, requiring 9 facilitators. Students participated in small group learning activities, and were formatively assessed on their teaching and feedback skills. ‘Online only’ delivery occurred across three weeks, using asynchronous and synchronous activities, requiring 11 facilitators. Students completed a post-course questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Eighty-five students completed the program; 36 in ‘blended learning’ and 49 ‘online only’ format, from six disciplines (health sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, oral health and public health). All (100%) ‘blended learning’ and 67% ‘online only’ participants completed the questionnaire. Both sets valued the online reading, discussion boards, videos, with opportunities to practice teaching skills, give and receive feedback. They reported an increased understanding of the roles of other disciplines. However, the ‘face-to-face’ component had some associated benefits, including a more positive attitude towards interprofessional learning and intention to teach. While ‘online only’ delivery of the program provided an effective alternative to the traditional ‘blended learning’ format, additional ‘real-time’ sessions may improve student engagement.

Practitioner Notes

  1. ‘Online only’ delivery of teacher training provides an effective alternative to ‘blended learning’ format.
  2. Opportunities for ‘real time’ participation, with formative assessment and feedback increases engagement.
  3. Clearly structured online modules and provision of simple teaching frameworks assist students to apply what they have learnt to different contexts.
  4. Face-to-face sessions bring associated benefits, promoting a more positive attitude towards interprofessional learning and intention to teach.
  5. Ensuring the provision of opportunities for Peer Teacher Training alumni is an important next step.