Peer-assisted learning in education of allied health professional students in the clinical setting: A systematic review

Samantha Sevenhuysen, Joanne Thorpe, Elizabeth Molloy, Jenny Keating, Terry Haines

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Pressure on clinical educators to provide best practice education to growing student numbers is driving innovations in clinical education. Placing multiple students with a single clinical educator may increase capacity; however, little is known about the role and impact of peer-assisted learning (PAL) in these models. A systematic review of the literature from 1985 to 2014 was done to investigate the effectiveness of PAL amongst allied health professional students in clinical settings. Secondary aims were to investigate how PAL is defined and measured in this practice setting. Twenty-eight articles representing five allied health professions met the inclusion criteria. The risk of bias in the articles was generally high, limiting confidence in findings. Nine studies measured the effects of PAL on students, with inconsistent results across domains of satisfaction, perceived learning, and performance outcomes. Only four studies described how PAL was facilitated. Evidence supporting PAL is nonspecific and lacks comparative rigour. More robust research is needed to quantify the potential benefits of PAL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-35
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allied Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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