The “PiPs” peer learning conference 2022

PALS in the NW

A review evaluation by jess 


As an organisation, PiPs seeks to build a community of like-minded individuals to share their enthusiasm for medical education and provide a platform for sharing of ideas, projects, and knowledge. The Covid-19 pandemic posed a challenge for PiPs, and like many other organisations, we had to quickly adapt from our usual working arrangements to incorporate new ideas and technologies to continue our work. After the lifting of Covid restrictions, HEE were keen for PiPs to continue our work and arrange a face-to-face conference.

Mishal and I (Jessica ) volunteered to co-leads the conference – we both had experience working with PiPs however this is the first time we had taken on the responsibility of organising an event. Our first challenge was to create a conference committee as many of our ‘veteran’ PiPs members were unable to contribute for varying reasons (moved abroad, CCT examinations are a couple of examples).


 Although unable to commit to the conference, many of our established committee members offered support and guidance throughout the planning process and their experience and advice was greatly appreciated and taken on board. Luckily, we managed to recruit enough committee members, many of whom were brand new to PiPs and represented teaching fellows working at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) (my current work colleagues).

Our conference planning took place exclusively online, perhaps one beneficial outcome of the pandemic, which meant that most committee members were present at each of the meetings. We met approximately once monthly in the lead up to the conference and all decisions were made taking into consideration the views of the committee. Most of the administrative tasks such as contacting and liaising with delegates, organising tables and schedules, as well as the organisational tasks such as contacting the venue and suppliers and buying items required for the conference were undertaken by the co-leads.

The other committee members were mainly involved in discussions surrounding the conference, for example, deciding on potential speakers and how to organise the marking scheme for posters/oral presentations, but did not have any specific individual roles

The event

The PiPs Summer Showcase 2022 took place on Monday 20th June, 2022 at The Studio, Manchester. This venue was chosen as we had previously held a PiPs conference at this venue so we know that it was a suitable space (with good food!).

Each of our committee members facilitated a table of delegates and their main role was to stimulate discussion and engagement, act as a point of contact for any queries or comments and ensure that all delegates were in the right place at the right time! Committee members were also present earlier in the morning to help with setting up the venue, assisting with registration and directing delegates around the building.

Learning from experience, we wanted to ensure that the oral presentations were spaced out throughout the day to reduce the amount of time delegates were sat down and passively listening. We managed to do this by incorporating our speakers in between the oral presentations as well as including a morning break in the schedule.

Our speakers were selected based on discussions and recommendations from committee members, previously experiences with certain speakers, and ability to talk about varying subject areas to create a diverse and engaging timetable. We were successful in achieving this and delivered 3 very different talks: educational theory, careers in medical education, and the use of social media in medicine. The speakers were well received and commented upon how impressed they were with our set up.

We received a healthy number of abstracts in 2022 (31) which meant we were able to offer presentation opportunities to many delegates: 9 oral presentations and the 9 poster presentations. 17 abstracts were accepted for poster presentation however several (8) presenters did not attend the conference although no apologies were received. All oral presenters attended on the day. A few abstracts (6) were rejected from the conference since they had no relevance to medical education, which was the only requirement we advised in our call for abstracts. The quality of presentations (both oral and posters) was of high quality and a pre-formulated scoring rubric was issued to our judges to aid their decision-making. A runner-up and winner were awarded for the oral and poster category.


  • 31 abstracts received
  • 9 oral presentations
  • 9 poster presentations
  • Brand new careers fair


new in 2022

careers fair

A new idea that we incorporated into the day was a careers fair. We invited representatives undertaking ‘F3’ jobs with some medical education involvement, both University and hospital based, some partly clinical and some full time education, to give a short presentation to delegates about their role and answer any questions. We ran this in a careers carousel type of event where each group rotated around approximately every 5 minutes so that had chance to speak to each individual representing a different job. The delegates asked questions about postgraduate qualifications, salary, clinical/non-clinical split and were exposed to several post-foundation jobs available in the North West.

“The delegates asked questions about postgraduate qualifications, salary, clinical/non-clinical split and were exposed to several post-foundation jobs available in the North West.”

the venue

A special mention must be given to the team at The Studio who provided a fantastic venue and kept our delegates and committee members very well fed throughout the day with plenty of snacks and a delicious cooked lunch!


our evaluation

PiPs has been running since 2017 sharing learning in peer teaching, teaching skills, community and education leadership. Here Jess shares her teams learning from 2022



  • We received lots of abstracts from delegates and were able to put together a full and diverse programme of oral and poster presentations.
  • The feedback received from delegates was overwhelmingly positive with many of those attending expressing an interest in engaging with the PiPs committee in future.
  • We managed to engage healthcare professionals involved in medical education outside of the remit of doctors for the first time.



  • Many delegates did not attend on the day so we were expecting and had catered for many more than attended.
  • The administrative undertaking of organising a conference was a heavy workload- HEE have agreed to support with this in the future going forward.
  • Perhaps the wider committee members could have been allocated specific roles to help support the co-leads in the planning phase of the conference to reduce the burden and spread the workload more evenly.


what i gained as a leader

  • The conference gave me the opportunity to develop my confidence and abilities in public speaking. Through my work in medical education at a University, I have become more confident in presenting to groups however the conference was the largest group of people that I have spoken to before and felt like a natural progression. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt speaking to such a large group of people as I had always considered this to be a weakness for me. Speaking at the conference has proved that I am capable of addressing a room full of people and I am encouraged to present in the future eg oral presentations whereas previously I would always opt for the poster option.
  • This is the first time I have been the leader of a group or taken charge of organising such a large event, usually I have been more comfortable being a team member. This role highlighted what I know about myself; I have many helpful qualities as a leader such as strong organisational and people skills however I find it difficult to manage others and perhaps this is why the bulk of the workload was done by the conference leads and not allocated to others. In future, I would like to work on my delegation skills and take a step back from specific tasks, taking on an overseeing role as the lead.
  • Organising and delivering a conference has shown me how much time and effort goes into such events. I have been a member of conference committees in the past however have held relatively minor roles and haven’t necessarily appreciated the bigger picture and wider elements that are involved. I think this will improve my engagement and appreciation in future as a team member of conference committees and also as an attendee of conferences.


next steps


Looking to the future, regular summer showcases and other training events continue to be our aspiration!

We are pleased that the University of Manchester is now delivering regional core teaching skills to our foundation doctors. To find out more contact PRiME at the Medical school of Manchester University 



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Why engage?

learning theory for starters


How we learn and what we mean by learning has been the subject of intense scrutiny by psychologists, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, scientists and not to forget teachers for a very long time. This has created a rich and varied landscape to explore. But perhaps a daunting one for those just starting out.

If we embark on understanding how people learn, we are doing the lions share of the work of figuring out how to teach.

But this is not a “one size fits all” endeavour. There are numerous theories and toolkits to use and the dynamic teacher will not stick to one but will explore and continually adapt their approach depending on the situation, setting and learner(s) in front of them.


What does “learning” mean to you?


Consider the last teaching session you delivered, or the last session you were a learner in. What did you intend your learners to learn? what did you learn? 


Now think beyond “formal” or designated teaching activities. What was the last thing you really learnt about? what does that learning mean to you?


No single answer


Delving into your experiences you may well have come up with a whole variety of things you have learnt, or come to understand, or “know”. From telling the time, to how to order a meal at a restaurant, to making bread or understanding human factors in an emergency setting.

What about the things “you know” with other people, do they hold some parts of your understanding? Is there any shared knowledge that you don’t retain personally. Think about when you regularly depend on others in the work you do. You might know that Yas in radiology can always get you a scan on a Tuesday and that Dean will help you organise bloods for your patient in outpatients.

Learning >

The examples above describe the spectrum of complexity that human learning occupies. From the simple learning of a process that we use daily such as telling the time, to the complex social learning we do in order to carry out our jobs and the rest of our lives.

Some, have attempted to describe learning in terms of the individual mind, the synaptic connections and processes of learning facts and tasks falling into the “cognitivist” camp.

on >

The cognitivists and neuroscientists have given us the tools that are useful for thinking about the nitty gritty of teaching such as cognitive load theory.

The “constructivist” position suggests that we learn by building on our existing knowledge and understanding. If you think about learning a skill like talking to a patient…we don’t start afresh each time we learn an additional useful tool, we add it together with the rest of what we “know” to form a “new” whole. Understanding constructivism helps us to see why we need to activate our learners existing knowledge to help them learn.


We all know what it feels like to be told something we already know, it can be frustrating and demoralising. The teacher who asks us what we know first and engages us in a conversation to build our understanding will be much more likely to help us learn than the one who stands and lectures us without engaging our prior understanding.

The constructivists also suggest that we build our understanding in the context of our social settings and interactions. This leads us to the social learning theorists, those who have the most to say about how and why we might plan to maximise interactivity when we teach.




Think back to that most recent teaching session, did it trigger any memories for you? How do you remember it in the context of the people you were with and the place?






Social learning


A lot of recent teaching theorists have sought to explore learning as a social endeavour. 

Consider yourself out of a classroom or teaching setting. If you don’t understand something, what do you do? you go to your peer or your parent or friend and you ask them to explain it. When you learnt to ride a bike, you watched your friends, your siblings. Think back to the first time you realised you were wrong about something. How did that come about? Even so called auto-didacts (self learners) are not learning from themselves. They use resources (books, web pages, articles) written by others. 


Now think about the last time you had a heated discussion about something. That memory is strong isn’t it? because you were challenged, you were asked to review what you know or understand in the context of your peers or colleagues.

There are many key social learning theories to explore to support us to get the most out of our learning designs.



Key ideas – A toolkit


There are some key ideas that you can use to make your teaching more engaging and ultimately more productive


The zone


The zone of proximal development was popularised by Lev Vygotsky a Russian social learning theorist and academic. It describes the learning that occurs when challenge is optimised and often the support of a culturally or socially sympathetic near peer. 

Future learn- ZPD


The ZPD might be applied in a number of ways…



Activating existing experiences is not only a fundamental way to understand your learners needs, its also a great way to engage people. 

The question is the simplest unite of a teaching session. When was the last time you considered what a good question was…? what about an ACTIVATING one?! 


No matter how introverted or extroverted we might consider ourselves we are all constantly moving around a multitude of communities. The groups of people we share common values, goals and aims with. Growth often comes from the support of communities. You might consider asking your learners to share and discuss key experiences and think about how they might do this within other communities they operate in.





Why not contribute?

Do you fancy exploring a key aspect of healthcare learning or pedagogy? Get in touch!

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Safeguarding sim

The Bolton Safeguarding simulation project is a unique and collaborative mission aimed at exploring safeguarding in children for junior doctors




Safeguarding children is an often overlooked aspect of paediatric care when it comes to training our juniors. Beyond standardised courses it can be challenging to find safe spaces to explore and discover this key topic. 

The team at Bolton have created a novel safeguarding sim which they describe here. They hope to extend this opportunity to other trusts in their NW patch.


The Bolton Safeguarding SIM Project 2023

Some background, described here by Isabella and Imogen




Child protection is a critical responsibility of doctors, the General Medical Council states it is a doctor’s duty to identify and protect children at risk of abuse. However, the current paediatric safeguarding education for doctors is inadequate. The Paediatric Safeguarding Simulation project aimed to improve the confidence and knowledge amongst junior doctors and promote escalating concerns to child protection services or appropriate agencies.


Foundation teaching sessions

Four simulation scenarios were designed by Isabella and her supervisor Deborah, to address themes related to the four main types of child abuse: neglect, sexual, emotional, and physical. Each scenario is based after real life experiences and aimed to reflect the complexities of safeguarding which challenge junior doctors. The project used volunteer leaders, which were recruited to include members of the whole multidisciplinary team. The sessions were delivered to FY1 and FY2 junior doctors working at the Royal Bolton Hospital last year.


The key message of this project is reflected in a comment from one of the participants; “paediatric safeguarding is a very difficult topic which I feel is often taught poorly at medical school. By framing it as simulated scenarios it helped to contextualise learning points about how to respond to each difficult scenario”. This project showed significant improvement in confidence amongst junior doctors when approaching difficult communication scenarios in the context of paediatric safeguarding.



The sessions have received excellent feedback from both volunteer leaders and participants. All participants felt their confidence in managing paediatric safeguarding cases improved after one session. The project has since gone on to win the top prize at the NW Academic Foundation conference this year (2023).


Moving on…

We are continuing to deliver the project to FY1 foundation doctors at the Royal Bolton hospital this year.

We would also like to make the project regional using volunteer leaders at other sites to deliver the same session to foundation doctors. 

If you would like to be part of the project going forward and help to deliver the teaching across various sites within the NW please contact the team via our contact page


Peer assisted learning in the north west

Health Education England, North West, funded data gathering project

junior doctors are feeling compelled to create their own opportunities to practice core teaching skills

The North West

There has been a burgeoning of foundation doctor led peer teaching programmes in the North West in recent years. This demonstrates that junior doctors are not only feeling compelled to create their own opportunities to practice core teaching skills but that they also have a significant enthusiasm for delivering teaching.

All foundation doctors are required to complete a “developing the clinical teacher tool” (DCT) as part of the suite of work based assessments during foundation (Health Education England, 2020). But this is the extent of the requirements for gaining these key skills at this level.

Below you will find a map of activities across the region as well as some case studies of exemplar work happening.

PAL projects in the NW




Reported PAL projects in the NW



“PAL can be a useful vehicle for medical students and doctors to share the “stories” of their working experiences and learn ways of thinking about complex problems they will encounter.”

 North West Review

Peer learning

There is a wealth of literature available on the advantages of peer assisted learning (PAL) in healthcare settings. In learning we create cultural tools to help us make sense of the world, with language being the most powerful of these (Aubrey and Riley, 2018). PAL can be a useful vehicle for medical students and doctors to share the “stories” of their working experiences and learn ways of thinking about complex problems they will encounter. Vygotsky, the Godfather of social learning theory, identified a learner’s ‘zone of proximal development’, which describes the growth achieved by a learner with the help of other individuals close to them with, usually those with identified social or academic similarities. This has historically been taken as one of the fundamental tenets of peer-learning, given the assumption that we are likely to find more commonalities with our peers than formal teachers and faculty.


PAL in the NW


At intervals, since 2017, we have collected data from the North West PiPs showcase , foundation teams and through the Foundation forum in order to keep a record of what PAL activities are occurring around the North West.

These activities are limited to the data we can collect from these sources. This means that we do not have a complete picture of what is happening, but a snapshot of what is presented to us.

Many “formal” (with the support of administrators and foundation teams) and “informal” (those operating outside of foundation training) programmes are happening around the region. From journal clubs, to bleep training to regional projects. Foundation doctors are finding time, resources and energy, on top of busy clinical work to provide teaching and learning opportunities for their peers.

If you would like to share what you are up to with the rest of the region on the PiPs platform please get in contact.

Contact us!

Next, a couple of examples of PAL projects from around the region…

Ray Daniels


“Most medical students have little to no experience in these subjects before their placements and these placements have some of the largest amounts of new content/skills to learn out of all subjects.”


families and children, an online learning project

By Isla Kemp

The families and children teaching project at Preston came about from discussions with medical students about how they felt that they wanted some additional support with paediatrics/obstetrics. Most medical students have little to no experience in these subjects before their placements and these placements have some of the largest amounts of new content/skills to learn out of all subjects.

 A group of FY1s planned a teaching program with the aim of complementing the Manchester medical school family and child block. This takes up half of 4th year for Manchester medical students and covers paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology and GP. We designed a 12-week teaching program covering 4 sessions on each topic. Due to covid restrictions the sessions were planned to be over zoom.

We found running the program to be quite a steep learning curve. Coordinating and organising remotely proved occasionally challenging and we found attendance fluctuated with students attending in high numbers one week and then low the next.

To collect feedback we sent out surveys at the end of each session. To try and increase the numbers of students filling out feedback we would only send out slides/resources if they filled in the form.

Overall, we received positive feedback with students having found the obstetrics and case-based sessions the most beneficial.

Feedback suggested running all sessions as case-based and that we should increase promotion of sessions.

Going forward we are aiming to repeat the sessions again this year working with the head of medical students at RPH and some current FY1s to create an ongoing program of teaching that will hopefully run for years to come.



PAL at East Cheshire

By Antoinette Yoxall, clinical fellow

The Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme at East Cheshire has been a valuable addition to the foundation teaching programme. Our peer led sessions allow current foundation trainees to teach and present to our colleagues within a safe and comfortable environment. It provides an opportunity for those who are nervous when teaching and presenting to work on their skills and increase their confidence, whilst allowing those who are already comfortable to add to their portfolios and gain valuable teaching experience.

“Our peer led sessions allow current foundation trainees to teach and present to our colleagues within a safe and comfortable environment.”

All sessions are observed by a senior colleague, providing the opportunity for personalised feedback and DCT forms for the foundation portfolio.

Teaching topics are decided by the foundation trainee themselves which has led to an interesting array of topics, including sports medicine, nutrition and prison medicine. A wide range of teaching styles have been adopted, including quizzes and cut-and-stick activities, leading to these sessions being some of the most well received in the programme.

I really enjoyed the peer led teaching sessions and found them extremely beneficial in improving my presentation and teaching skills.  


PLanning a Peer teaching project

Have an idea for a teaching project but not sure where to start? Bethan sets out a framework for planning below


Foundation doctor teacher


After joining a teaching community in my FY1 year, I had been inspired by my fellow team members to produce my own teaching programme. Before starting my programme I was given several pointers to help me prepare, which I have summarised below.




What do you want to achieve with your programme?
What kind of teaching style do you see? In the pre-covid world this might have been simulation or small group teaching. Now it might be zoom break out rooms or webex meetings!

I’m interested in a career in Anaesthetics so naturally I wanted to produce a teaching programme focusing on Anaesthetics & ICM for junior doctors. My vision was for Core trainees and Registrars in the field to teach at a level that would be digestible for Foundation Doctors.

I didn’t want the teaching to be a repeat of our (often boring) medical school lectures and hoped to find engaging teachers that would make their sessions interactive. I chose to use zoom as this was a platform I was most familiar with.. and it’s free!


What do you need to achieve your vision?
Can you do this alone or do you need help with hosting the sessions?
Do you want a team to evaluate your teaching with you are can you do self-guided reflection?
Where are you going to deliver your teaching?
When will you deliver the sessions?
How will you recruit educators?
How will you advertise your teaching?

As this was my first teaching project, I didn’t want to bring in too big of a team in case things got a bit overwhelming. Having Mim and Nate from PiPs to talk things through with was incredibly helpful though.

I would highly recommend not doing all of the teaching yourself. Firstly, the workload would be huge! But more importantly, thinking about the benefit to yourself and your learners, you would likely gain more from experiencing different teaching styles in your programme.




Getting learners involved 

I compiled a mailing list of all of the NW Foundation School Administrators to help me advertise my project. I also set up a Facebook page which some people may pay more attention to when compared to emails! Additionally, I produced a flyer to send with my advertising emails and to use as my Facebook cover photo, to create a recognisable image associated with my programme.





Who will your project affect? Who can support you in delivering it? Who do you need to make contact with before, during and after?

In terms of thinking about who I was targeting with my programme, I knew I wanted to aim this teaching at Foundation Doctors and later year Medical Students. It is important to research what your learners actually want to know about. I sent out a questionnaire prior to planning my programme to gauge if a) anyone was actually interested in attending the talks and b) if so, what did they actually want to know about.
From this information you can plan your teaching topics and find your teachers.

Having Nate (senior anaesthetist) to help me with my programme has been invaluable and I would recommend having a senior colleague or friend help guide you with your project if possible. Nate has been kind enough to both teach and supervise some of my sessions and give me some much needed advice at times.

A personal plan

How much time can you realistically devote to this project?
How much time do you think it will really take for you to prepare for each session?
Think about other time factors such as preparing certificates and sending advertisement emails.
Will you need help with the workload?



How will you evaluate the project? How will you gain feedback? And what specifically do you think it is worthwhile having feedback on?

Will you be doing any teaching yourself? If so – how will you evaluate yourself as a teacher? As a leader?

What will you do with this feedback to help yourself and others learn from your programme and improve?

Evaluation… you could argue the most important part of your entire programme!
It is a good idea to gain feedback for your programme and for your teachers. Have a think about what questions are actually useful to ask? What were you trying to achieve with this programme?
What have you learned about yourself as a programme lead?
If you are struggling with this part, there is plenty of help out there to help you think about this more.

To evaluate my teaching programme I sent out surveys following each session. I used open-ended questions with short answer text boxes to encourage more qualitative feedback, I personally find this more useful than rating scales.

I read through the feedback following each session and implemented any suggestions made to the following session – for example people were enjoying the level of interactivity so I asked my teachers to make their talks as interactive as possible. I also sent the feedback to the teachers following each session and offered to talk through the teaching with them afterwards.





How long do you intend the programme to run for? do you want to set out a defined number of sessions before you begin?
Do you want to handover the project for somebody else to continue when you are finished? If so, how will you prepare for this?


I have been approached by an FY1 doctor who is interested in Anaesthetics and Med Ed who I plan on handing over the framework of the project to including my contacts and certificate templates. I’m hoping this means the programme can be delivered annually and continue to benefit junior doctors interested in Anaesthetics, but also giving someone an opportunity to organise their own programme each year.



I found that by answering these questions on paper gave me everything I needed to get started!

My advice would be to make sure you have all of your dates and teachers lined up before you even begin your first session to avoid any last-minute hunting! However, be warned that rota changes are inevitable and I would recommend catching up with your teachers about two weeks before they are due to teach.

In terms of “stakeholders”, having a contact in the relevant field can be extremely useful. In my case, I was preparing an Anaesthetics & ICM programme. Nate, one member of the PiPs team, is an Anaesthetics Registrar so has been an incredible help with finding colleagues who would be suitable to teach in the programme.

Finally, remember why you set out to do this in the first place – your learners! Find out what they want to know before you start. This might be in the form of a pre-session questionnaire or a question to your audience at the beginning of the talk. It is also useful to think about these things so that you can provide your teachers with a guide before they plan their teaching session.

I hope that this post gives you what you need to get started with your own peer teaching programme… and serves as an example of why you should get involved with PiPs (or a similar teaching community)!


An AMEE guide to PAL


AMEE published their guide to planning PAL in 2009 that is still relevant and has a comprehensive checklist that can be used to help you to think about your project in a robust way.

AMEE guide

Literature review


It never hurts to see what is already published on the area that you are planning on focussing on. This might give you some ideas or help you develop your own further.

Planning teaching


After you’ve planned your project you need to start planning your teaching sessions. WBYHT guide to planning might be a helpful place to get started…


Consider evaluation


It can be confusing to know where and how to start with evaluating teaching projects. WBYHT have started to build some resources to help you think about this…

Get Started 

Choosing the right tools

>>> Evaluating 1

Let us consider ourselves learners too. We have started to build our teaching practice and have an idea of what we are hoping to achieve. But how do we know if we have achieved it and how? Did anyone learn anything? Have we changed anything? Do we need to change?   

It is tempting to ask learners if they enjoyed sessions and found them useful but does that tell us if what we taught led to any learning?



Who, what, when, where, why and how? 

There may be many factors that influence how you evaluate your teaching. There is a reason why surveys are commonly used, because they are cheap, easy and quick to administer. If this is something you would like to do then read on for tips to think about this. 

The simplest way to learn about how a session went is to ask the learners. You might reserve a bit of time at the end of a session to talk to them about what they learnt or ask them to talk to each other.

Another easy to administer evaluation tool is peer observation. But it’s important to consider first what you would like them to observe.

write down as many things as you can think of that you might ask someone to observe in your teaching session.


You might consider yourself, your relationship with the learners, the learners interactions, the environment…



Surveys: Likert or not?

Constructing a survey is a quick and cheap way to get responses from a variety of people. But it isn’t necessarily easy. 

Likert scales of agreement are a frequently used tool but how much can they really tell us?

Consider this question:

Consider these situations;

  1. everyone responds with 5’s (all strongly disagree)
  2. mostly 3’s (neutral)
  3. mostly 1’s (strongly agrees)

What next? so you follow this question up with:

What (if anything) did you find useful about this session?

Did you really need the first question?


Tailor made

One size will never fit all when it comes to evaluation. You may want to adapt and tailor your evaluation towards what you need and want to know.

Common pitfalls

Drafting questions for learners and observers

Lack of clarity

“which techniques in these sessions today were the most useful?”


“what did you think of the techniques used in session one?”

Double questions

“how did you find the session and what was most useful about it?”


Leading questions

“What did you think was good about this session?”


“what did you think of this session overall?”


yes/no and closed questions

“Were any of the sessions enjoyable?”


” tell us one thing you learnt at the session today (if anything)”

Chose the right tool

Where, who, and why will affect what kind of evaluation you undertake

Consider your questions

Careful wording of your questions will be essential for getting the most from your evaluation

Trial your evaluation

Take the time to trial any questions before you roll them out in a survey, observation form or interviews

Reflect and record

Ensure you make space to reflect and record your observations




It is common for new and experienced educators to use confidence and competence as a marker of learning. The following articles were written to help you consider this topic


Evaluation and “feedback”

Getting “feedback” from learners (as part of evaluating our practice) is often embarked on as an afterthought. It can be difficult, particularly when starting out, to know what to ask and how. Beyond seeking feedback from learners, there are several other ways of gaining an understanding of what “went well” or we might “do differently”.

Take a moment to think about the different ways we might understand how a teaching session went. Do you have anyone you can discuss this with? 

What’s the plan?

Before embarking on teaching we make a plan and part of the plan is knowing what we want our learners to learn.

We should also consider how this learning will impact them and their future activities.

Why do we want feedback and to evaluate our teaching? consider everyone you might want to share what you learn with.


“Why do we want feedback and to evaluate of our teaching?”

Great evaluation is multi-dimensional

You have probably identified by now that there are multiple reasons why we might evaluate our teaching and a variety of audiences for this information. To gain the broadest understanding of how to develop we might use a variety of tools with a range of people.


know the “who, what, when, where, why” of your evaluation plan


The Who

  • Don’t forget yourself!: understanding how to develop your session(s)
  • your learner(s): did they learn what you wanted them to? how? do you need to adapt or change the session? Did they change as a result of your learning, did they do anything differently?
  • A supervisor or lead team: do they want to know if the project is successful, do you want to secure future support?
  • A wider audience? don’t forget about the potential to share your project more widely. Can others learn from what you’ve learnt?

Asking the right questions

Language is key

Whether you decide on peer observation, learner surveys, informal or formal interviews or any other method what questions you ask is vital. 

Refer back to the who, what, when, where, how. Evaluating learning part 2 considers the practical aspect of construction.


A matter of philosophy

How we choose to measure teaching and learning is possibly one of the most important decisions we will make. 

Many healthcare teachers starting out will approach evaluation of their teaching with their scientific hat on. They would feel most comfortable to measure everyone on a scale and then conduct some statistical analysis. This is based on the idea that there is one “truth” to be discovered and that we will gain the most from being objective. This is often referred to as a “positivist” approach.

Now consider a teaching session. Will everyone experience it the same way? Will it have the same outcomes and effects on one learner as another? Do you want it to?



Next steps…

Planning an F3


In 10 years’ time, I envision that my working week will look something like: 2 days a week working as a GP (perhaps taking on a special interest) and 2 days a week working in medical education with a University – and most importantly, a 3 day weekend!


I knew that I wanted to take an F3 year to gain some further experience in medical education so during my foundation training; I have tried to gear my CV towards experiences which will improve my prospects in being able to secure a medical education based F3 post. 

“Many jobs which involve medical education will offer to support you in gaining a post-graduate qualification”


  • Qualifications? 
  • Setting?
  • undergraduate or postgraduate?
  • Money?

Thinking about an F3


There are a number of considerations to take into account when thinking about an F3 post – below are some of the things I have come across…


Post-graduate qualification

many jobs which involve medical education will offer to support you in gaining a post-graduate qualification; normally, this will be the post-graduate certificate in medical education.

As this is a University accredited qualification, there is a cost associated with this and different workplaces may offer varying degrees of financial support. Posts which are employed by Universities are likely to be able to offer more financial support than hospital trusts – research this in advance and don’t hesitate to email for further information before applying.

AoME accredited courses



it is important to decide whether you want to continue working clinically or you are happy to take 6 months/1 year away from the wards completely. Medical education jobs are more commonly split 50/50 ward-based work and education and fewer posts will be available for a full time role in medical education.

BMA doctors as teachers

Pre-clinical v clinical

Full time roles in medical education are more likely to be aimed at the “pre-clinical” years whereas hospital-based posts will more likely be more senior medical students.

Think about your own personal interests and clarify the expectations of the role you are applying for beforehand – most job advertisements will outline this information for you but if not, email!



remember that doing less out of hours work generally means fewer pennies in the pocket on payday. Consider what wage is acceptable for you and think about this ahead of making any application!