Student-led tutorials in problem-based learning: educational outcomes and students' perceptions.Med Teach. 2005 Sep; 27(6):521-6.MT
The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of using students as tutors in a problem-based learning (PBL) medical curriculum. Ninety-one third-year medical students were divided into ten tutorial groups. The groups were randomly allocated into student-led tutorials (SLT) (five groups, n = 44 students) and faculty-led tutorials (FLT) (five groups, n = 47 students). Outcome measurements included assessment of students' performance in tutorials individually and as a group, end-unit examinations scores, assessment of tutoring skills and identifying students' perceptions about peer tutoring. Student tutors were perceived better in providing feedback and in understanding the difficulties students face in tutorials. Tutorial atmosphere, decision-making and support for the group leader were better in SLT compared with FLT groups. Self-assessment of student performance in SLT was not different from FLT. Student scores in the written and practical examinations were comparable in both groups. However, SLT groups found difficulties in analysis of problems presented in the first tutorial session. We conclude that the impact of peer tutoring on student performance in tutorials, group dynamics, and student achievement in examinations is positive overall. However, student tutors require special training before adopting this approach in PBL programs.