Student facilitated walk-in workshops to support peer-learning of human anatomy and physiology on health science programmes




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Peer reviewed



Background: Student engagement is one of the challenging aspects of teaching and learning. Learning through near-peer and peer-to-peer interaction has been shown to improve student engagement and improve active learning. The use of peer-teaching and near-peer teaching pedagogical strategies as a mean of active and independent learning has been shown specifically to improve undergraduate science student’s attributes and knowledge towards their subject area. Near peer tutors might overcome barriers such as lack of subject expertise or lack of teaching skills or experience with greater adeptness at group facilitation and a better understanding of their learners. Thus, the benefits of this pedagogy strategy would be that students acquire various skills including presentation skills, organizing work, peer interaction and collaboration. In addition, this type of learning not only helps learners by promoting effective self-study and self-awareness but also academics due to the increasing numbers of students enrolling in any health science degree. Aim: Over the years we have realized that significant number of students on the BSc Biomedical and BMedSci Medical Science programmes at De Montfort University (DMU, UK) struggle with understanding key aspects of human physiology; and so lecturers are constantly throughout the course revisiting basic areas of Anatomy & Physiology. In this study, we aim to investigate whether student-led workshops improve students learning and engagement with fundamental topics of human physiology including endocrine, renal, cardiovascular and nervous system. Methodology: These sessions are currently being developed and facilitated by a third-year Medical Science student, who has specifically gained a frontrunner internship (a specific DMU programme that facilitate the acquisition of transferable skills to DMU students that will benefit their future career) as a physiology walk-in assistant. The frontrunner uses activity based learning through demonstrations of anatomic models and biochemical processes, online activities and group work. To evaluate these sessions, we have designed a validated short questionnaire for students to complete. Comparative testing against previous cohort groups’ module results and module evaluation feedback will also be examined to demonstrate the impact of these walk-in sessions. Impact: The main outcome of these physiology walk in sessions is to engage students through near peer active learning in better understanding of key content related to human anatomy and physiology, which would help improve student knowledge retention, achieve module bench marks and improve student progression. The impact this project has had so far is immense. Not only the project is helping students improve perceived areas of difficulty in learning, but also in equipping the peer-tutor with more knowledge and valuable employability skills for the workplace. Skills and knowledge developed through this method of peer-learning will help produce more confident competent graduates and strengthen their suitability for the wider range of profession choices now available to graduates. We anticipate that these walk-in sessions will extend further interest in students to become frontrunners/tutors and promote similar walk-in session for other scientific related modules within the DMU health science programmes.



Peer-learning, Engagement, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Walk-in Workshops


Singh, H., Hachemi, S. and Peña-Fernández, A. (2017) Student facilitated walk-in workshops to support peer-learning of human anatomy and physiology on health science programmes. Proceedings of INTED2017 Conference. pp. 1193-1199.


Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)