The impact of Reciprocal Peer Tutoring on student learning in undergraduate nursing laboratories - NET2017 Conference

Strand 3: Educational enhancement

Nursing educators are challenged to explore effective teaching approaches to engage students rather than just delivering information (Benner et al., 2010). Globally there is an emphasis on development of generic skills in graduates rather than limiting to discipline specific skills only (Murdoch-Eaton and Whittle, 2012). Reciprocal Peer Tutoring (RPT) is an active form of learning where individuals actively participate in teaching themselves so that they are able to teach their peers (Muñoz-García et al., 2014). RPT encompasses structured switching of tutor and learner roles by individuals from the same academic level (De Backer et al., 2012). This strategy enables students to learn from their peers as well as get first-hand experience in teaching and engaging them(Manyama et al., 2016, Rees et al., 2016). Some benefits arising from this form of learning are improved understanding and retention of content (Bentley and Hill, 2009), deep learning (Lueg et al., 2015), better skill retention (Manyama et al., 2016) and increased self-direction in meeting learning objectives (Asghar, 2010). While RPT is being successfully implemented in educational settings, it awaits exploration in nursing education (Gazula et al., 2016).

This presentation will report the findings of a research study undertaken early in 2017 at a regional Australian university to examine the effect of Reciprocal Peer Tutoring on nursing students’ learning. 

This study employed an active learning approach in laboratory learning which has been linked to improved teaching skills, as well as nurturing lifelong skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, cooperation, independent and collaborative learning (Muñoz-García et al., 2014). While RPT has demonstrated positive outcomes in some health disciplines including medicine (Manyama et al., 2016), physiotherapy (Hennings et al., 2010) and osteopathy, its use in nursing remains limited. This presentation will report on development and effects of an innovative learning strategy by incorporating RPT in nursing clinical practice laboratories.

The aim of this presentation will be to showcase planning design, participant preparation for peer teaching, implementation and outcomes of RPT in one undergraduate nursing curriculum. The findings will potentially benefit health professions educators globally as they strive to find innovative ways to prepare graduates for practice. This study will address the gap in literature by exploring the use of RPT in undergraduate nursing education in a selected Australian university. While the results may not be applicable in other settings, they will assist academics to plan RPT in international higher educational settings.


Professor Lisa McKenna (La Trobe University), Professor Penny Paliadelis, Professor Simon Cooper & Swapnali Gazula (Federation University Australia)

Publish date

Wednesday, 6 September, 2017

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