Evaluating the Effectiveness of Peer Instruction in a Senior Level Nursing Class

Monday, 18 November 2013: 10:00 AM

Jacqueline Saleeby, PhD, RN
School fo Health Professions, Maryville University, St. Louis, MO

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to: identify strategies for assisting students to facilitate understanding, such as: linking class and student goals and improving student engagement.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to: discuss benefits of peer-led instruction as a teaching strategy, such as: increased student engagement and satisfaction, and improved comprehension.

Dr. Mark Taylor (2010, 2011) has written extensively on the digital generation of college students and believes students should actively teach content to each other to facilitate understanding. According to Owen (2011), involving students in the design, delivery, and evaluation of classroom-based learning experiences enhances students’ ownership of the learning environment. Crouch and Mazur (2001) and Lucas (2009) used peer instruction with positive outcomes. Despite the wealth of literature that supports the use of student-led instruction in the classroom setting, there was no literature found on use of peer-led instruction with nursing courses. The use of a peer-led group instruction is an ideal pedagogy tailored to meet the needs of the current traditional age student. The methodology for this action research study included two sections of a senior level nursing course (Section 1 n=23; Section 2 n=22). Students self-selected into groups of 3-4 and randomly chose the course topic and date to teach content. Data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. Two themes emerged from the faculty field notes: Student Engagement and Satisfaction. In addition, results from the student journals were generally positive. Quantitative results from both the faculty and student evaluations of peer-led instruction process were positive. The findings from my peer-led group instruction support the use of this innovative teaching strategy to engage students in the learning process. Students were invested in this activity and took ownership of their learning. Overall, participation in this action research project was a positive experience for faculty and students. Nursing faculty need to set the stage early in the class about the purpose of the peer-led instruction approach as some students still want to be ‘taught’. Faculty need to keep students engaged and accountable for their own learning. This is one such approach to increase student engagement and satisfaction.