ABSTRACT: How does peer teaching compare to faculty teaching?
In undergraduate medical education, peer-teaching has become an established and common method to enhance student learning. Evidence suggests that peer-teaching provides learning benefits for both learners and tutors. We aimed to describe the outcomes for medical students taught by peers through systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature.
Seven databases were searched through 21 terms and their Boolean combinations. Studies reporting knowledge or skills outcomes of students taught by peers compared to those taught by faculty or qualified clinicians were included. Extracted data on students’ knowledge and skills outcomes were synthesised through a random effects model meta-analysis.
The search yielded 2292 studies. Five hundred and fifty-three duplicates and 1611 irrelevant articles were removed during title-screening. The abstracts of 128 papers were screened against the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Ten studies have been included in the review. Meta-analyses showed no significant difference in peer-teaching compared to faculty teaching for knowledge or skills outcomes, standardised mean differences were 0.07 (95% CI: -0.07, 0.21) and 0.11 (95% CI: -0.07, 1.29), respectively.
Students taught by peers do not have significantly different outcomes to those taught by faculty. As the process of teaching helps to develop both tutor knowledge and teaching skills, peer-teaching should be supported.