An integrated literature review of undergraduate peer teaching in allied health professions

S van Vuuren


Background. The concept of peer-assisted teaching or peer-assisted learning (PAL) has been receiving more attention in the teaching of medical and allied
health students. Many advantages have been described in the literature, but much more research is needed. Challenges with the academic platform at a
specific institution of higher learning necessitate investigation into the current literature on PAL, which can inform decisions in terms of teaching and learning of allied health professions students.
Objective. To critically appraise evidence of the effectiveness and implementation of PAL during the professional clinical skills training of undergraduate students in allied health professions to make informed future decisions on teaching and learning.
Methods. A literature search was conducted by an experienced librarian in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa and the researcher in multiple electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, Africa-Wide Information, ERIC and PubMed) published from 2000 to 2014.
Results. One hundred and seventy-five articles on PAL in health professions training were identified. The selected articles (n=20) were independently
critically appraised by two researchers by means of the standardised critical appraisal skills programme (CASP) and the Author Manuscript of the
National Institutes of Health on Appraising Quantitative Research in Health Education. Nine articles were identified to be reviewed (two by the same author).
Conclusion. The findings with regard to the limited number of articles reviewed suggested that PAL may address some of the needs of the new generation of students and may be beneficial to the student tutor, student tutee and clinical supervisor. More evidence is needed in terms of the questions arising from the review, especially with regard to occupational therapy, dietetics and nutrition, and optometry, to fully implement PAL.

Author's affiliations

S van Vuuren, School for Allied Health Professions and Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Undergraduate peer teaching; Allied health professions

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2017;9(1):9-12. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.2017.v9i1.588

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-01-29
Date published: 2017-02-26

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