Peer-to-peer learning: a way to develop medical students’ trainings

doctor peer

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Mouad Moutaoukil, a fourth year student in the Faculty of medicine and pharmacy of
Fez and a member of IFMSA-Morocco. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


One of the biggest problems that medical students face during their trainings at University hospitals is the lack of mentoring and educational guidance. This is mainly due to the large responsibilities of professors towards patients and faculties. While being guided by seniors cannot be replaced for medical trainees, there are some alternatives to lessen the burden of our professors’ and seniors’ shoulders. In this article, we will discuss one of these solutions: peer-to-peer learning.

Peer-to-peer learning or peer learning is defined as a practice in which students interact with other students to attain educational goals. Peer refers to a person with a comparable or slightly higher level of knowledge and experience to the learner, in the case of medical students, a peer can be an older medical student, or a freshman resident.

Peer learning can be utilized in multiple situations from teaching fundamental knowledge and critical thinking to helping students deal with various situations with patients.

Passing knowledge during the trainings can be more effective if it’s done by peers. The students, either on the giving or the receiving side, will definitely be more knowledgeable about the subjects discussed within the group. In fact, both groups (peers and students) learn and benefit from the interaction. The peers gain experience in communication and leadership, reinforcing their prior learning and discovering what they are capable of achieving in the mentoring/teaching fields. On the other hand, students gain confidence and experience a decrease in anxiety when dealing with certain situations such as clinical placements.

In the practical side, peer learning can improve integration into the ward situations and students’ confidence when dealing with patients, since it encourages independent studying, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. It also gives students a sense of autonomy when they accept responsibility for their own training.

Furthermore, peer learning can be utilized to pass information to large groups of students with less faculty members’ involvement. At a time when there is pressure to train more doctors and minimize costs, peer learning could utilize resources more effectively with students teaching and supervising junior students, thus decreasing the demand on the responsible faculty members.

Another advantage of peer-to-peer learning is that it’s not only practically effective, but it also pushes many key buttons for behavioral change. In fact, it has many other positive effects such as inspiring and encouraging debate, celebrating innovation, and building confidence to think and act beyond the status quo.

Even though effective peer learning can be pivotal in changing behaviors and helping us to achieve excellence in healthcare, the need for student supervision remains important. If peers are not knowledgeable or do not have the appropriate skills, then they cannot accurately pass information onto another student. The learning of inaccurate information could potentially cause issues when these inaccuracies are demonstrated in exams or in clinical situations.

About the author

Mouad Moutaoukil is a fourth year student in the Faculty of medicine and pharmacy of
Fez and a member of IFMSA-Morocco. He is particularly interested in ways to develop
medical education since it is crucial to provide better healthcare services. He is also
passionate about mathematics and literature.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

China Unlimited: an exclusive interview with the former Ambassador of Hungary to China

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

Understanding the ‘second brain’ in your gut

5 things to know about the exploding world of pro gaming

First EU-wide protection for whistle-blowers agreed

The EU has to prove it can remain one piece

These 8 countries have perfect scores for women’s rights at work

International Women’s Day: Where does she belong?

Africa-Europe Alliance: European Commission committed to a sustainable African agri-food sector

4 things ISPs can do to reduce the impact of cybercrime

Trump ‘used’ G20 to side with Putin and split climate and trade packs

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into arbitration award in favour of Antin to be paid by Spain

Vile act of torture prohibited ‘under all circumstances’, UN chief affirms on International Day to support victims

3 ways to ensure the internet’s future is creative, collaborative and fair

This lethal fungus is threatening to wipe out the world’s bananas

EU food watchdog: more transparency, better risk prevention

New rules on drivers’ working conditions and fair competition in road transport

Help African farmers cope with climate change threats, UN food agency urges

Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic

Europe eyes to replace US as China’s prime foreign partner

3 ways to make technologies more inclusive for people with disabilities

Confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine grows in UK and US, but global concerns about side effects are on the rise

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

How emerging markets will shape Africa in 2020

5 factors driving the Chinese lawtech boom

This tool shows you which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

Security Council urges ‘maximum restraint’ around Gulf region as Iran and United States trade diplomatic blows in New York

EU Parliament says ‘no’ to austerity budget

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

5 things you might not know about forests – but should

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

‘Extinction crisis’ pushes countries to agree stronger protection for global wildlife

Why we need both science and humanities for a Fourth Industrial Revolution education

The digital transformation is a skills and education opportunity for all. Companies must use it

European Commission increases support for the EU’s beekeeping sector

Building a Climate-Resilient Future – A new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

‘The time for action is now’ senior UN peacekeeping official says, urging support for regional force combating Sahel terrorism

Mediterranean migrant drownings should spur greater action by European countries, urge UN agencies

Carbon levy on EU imports needed to raise global climate ambition

Iran: women hunger strikers entitled to medical care, UN rights experts urge

It is now the era to evolve mutually as the bacteria do

COVID-19: Revised rules to encourage banks to lend to companies and households

Fashion’s hot new trend: clothes you don’t need to wash (very often)

Stronger partnerships with post-conflict countries needed to ensure ‘path towards durable peace’: UN chief

Republic of Korea President proposes DMZ as future ‘peace and cooperation district’ on Peninsula

Women’s work faces the greatest risk of automation, says new research

May led Britain to chaos, now looks for way out with unpredictable DUP

We must rethink and repurpose cybersecurity for the COVID-19 era

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

National parks give a $6 trillion boost to mental health worldwide

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Will Eurozone be able to repay its debts? Is a bubble forming there?

Eight years in, Syria still embroiled in conflict ‘that no longer sparks outrage’, Security Council hears

Difficulties of vaccination against COVID-19

Services are the hidden side of the US-China trade war

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s