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
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.
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.
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…
Choosing the right tools
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.
Another easy to administer evaluation tool is peer observation. But 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…
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;
- everyone responds with 5’s (all strongly disagree)
- mostly 3’s (neutral)
- 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?
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.
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?”
“how did you find the session and what was most useful about it?”
“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
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.
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
- 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?
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”
- undergraduate or postgraduate?
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…
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.
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.
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!
Foundation doctor teacher
As a keen teacher and someone who wants medical education to form a major part of my future career, I have lots of experience in taking part in other people’s teaching programmes but not necessarily the experience in the organisation of teaching. This year I decided to challenge myself and organised and took part in the delivery of my own teaching programme.
Hints and tips from an online peer teaching project
Here are some useful hints and tips I picked up along the way!
PiPs 4.0 “Medagogy” 18.12.20
A PiPs report on the plannning and evaluation of PiPs 4.0- our one day training and community event for early career educators in the North West
ST3 peadiatrician- Wigan
Lead / Head gardener
GPST2 – Oldham
ST6 Anaesthetics – Salford
LEad / head gardener
CTF – MRI
Lead / head gardener
CF – Oldham
F2 – Bolton
CF – MRI
PiPs activities started out as a one-off conference held in September of 2017. At our inaugural event, Foundation doctors who were leading or participating in peer teaching in the North West of England were invited to attend a day of teacher training. This free day of training was set up and run voluntarily by foundation doctors and funded by Health Education England.
Workshops in 2017 were delivered by senior educators on topics such as; presentation skills, cognitive load theory, project longevity, feedback and simulation.
The “new starter” or “inspiration” day has now run for four consecutive years. The aims and objectives for the conference have grown over this time as the team have evolved their own understanding of their pedagogical (or medagogical) values.
The joy of the day has always been in the buzz created by foundation doctors excited about education. An attendee told us in 2019 at our last face to face event- “really friendly and positive atmosphere. Re-enthused my motivation to work on my teaching project and generally teaching on the wards” (attendee, September PiPs 2019)
In 2020, in the context of the pandemic, necessity drove the inspiration day online. Below is a summary of what we did and learnt.
Click to enlarge image
We started off by brainstorming sessions based on past successes; what we thought we would want the cohort to learn and what had been asked for in previous sessions
Initial ideas for sessions
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This was the first year we planned to run more than two sessions at once. We felt this might be a bit of a gamble (due to the technology) but we hoped it would give more opportunity to support attendees to make and seek their own learning objectives.
The final plan for the day…
Click to enlarge the image
This was the first time the team had used the programme Hop in. We chose it over other platforms as it enabled us to have participants actively involved throughout the day in various parallel breakout rooms. The team had experienced issues using other platforms in the past including zoom and another webinar software called webinarjam and we were keen to try something different.
Hop in to PiPs…
PiPs aims to cover aspects of teaching theory, practical methodology as well as project planning for peer teaching and evaluation.
We acknowledge that our learners come with a unique experience of education and because of this we encourage them to identify their own learning objectives.
This year was the first year we offered a choice of parallel sessions.
An active medagogy
There continues to be a wide spectrum of approaches to medical education practices from those rooted in cognitivism all the way to those that acknowledge the complex social structures we operate in.
At PiPs we endeavour to role model practices based in best evidence as well as explore the frontiers of education from health care and beyond. We endeavor to be learner-centered advocating active learning at all opportunities.
Despite the pandemic forcing our hand to technology to deliver PiPs, this necessity has brought many opportunities.
We have explored several platforms and are continuously learning and evolving how to deliver our Medagogy online.
We used Hop in to deliver the training day this year and aside from a few small hiccups this ran extremely well with good feedback from attendees.
PiPs is made possible by the support of the North West of England School of Foundation Training & Physician Associates
Mishal- a PiPs “head gardener”
Mishal joined the team in 2019 when she was an FY1.
“When I signed up to attend the PiPs 2019 showcase, I expected a day of powerpoint presentations and to leave having learnt a few things about medical education. In reality, I left with a new perspective about what medical education meant for me.
Empowered by this experience, I went on to design and implement a peer teaching project alongside a colleague who also attended the conference – something I didn’t have the confidence to do before. I felt the PiPs ethos was something that aligned with my attitude to how peer teaching should be: accessible, open and friendly.
Three PiPs conferences later, I am continually amazed at how much we can learn from other people. For me, PiPs is unique in its ability to instill a sense of community and the idea that education is a two-way street. I truly believe it to be an invaluable platform for people to network and be emboldened to develop and grow their own peer-teaching ventures.”
Really enjoyable, interactive, fun, insightful and useful for teaching, hopin platform worked well
Really enjoyable and useful day which has made me reflect on my own teaching style and how I gather feedback.
Great and thought provoking think it will likely change how I teach
The day was brilliant from start to finish. Very much interactive and engaging which meant the day flew by. It has challenged me to reflect on my own teaching and has opened my eyes to how I should deliver a teaching session ( …and how not to #deathtopowerpoints )
Using Lave and Wenger’s evaluation framework we were able to identify value from the day from several aspects
>>> see here for the full framework.
Hop in was a very very good platform worked really well, best ive seen. Kept focus by doing short sessions and lots of breaks. Cameras on meant engaged throughout although daunting.
I think the PIPS events are welcoming and exactly what is needed for juniors doctors involved in medical education.
We are always recruiting foundation team members and have plenty of events to get involved in the coming calendar year.
We are also actively recruiting members from other professions so please get in touch!
Creating interrobang (?!)
Anaesthetic trainee with an interest in medical education; co-founder the Clinical Teaching Fellows Forum, creator of the FRCA National Exam Teaching program, and Visiting Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Surrey
Visiting Clinical teaching Fellow for Physician Associates at University of Surrey and co founder of The Clinical Teaching Fellows Forum
Chief Mentor at Medic Mentor,Portfolio Medical Educator at GKT,QMUL,Lancaster university, University of Limerick and Brighton & Sussex Medical Schools and former NHS Neurological Rehabilitation Consultant.
Highly specialist Speech and language therapist in neurorehabilitation. With a background in neuroscience. Current medical students clinical teaching lead for the neurorehabilitation service at St George’s hospital london
FY2 at St George’s Hospital. Interested in Medical education, Cardiology and eating other people’s food
Med Ed enthusiast, founder of “PiPs” (peer teachers in practice, North West England- HEE funded initiative supporting early career educators), paeds trainee and WBYHT founder
Back in early 2020 an idea rose from the doom and gloom of cancelled conferences and deleted events. This idea was formed to that bring together educators under one roof, all be it virtually, and to be creative with our educational ideas, throwing out the obsolete, keeping the useful and heralding in the new and exciting.
In March 2020 I sent out a call, trying to find like minded educators who had lost out on presenting and hearing about fantastic projects and initiatives going on up and down the country. The result was amazing and a number of great educators and individuals who I had only met on twitter formed a working party. Only in 2020, the year that has seen virtual meetings become reality, could 8 educators from across the country, speciality and background form such a strong group.
This small group formed and started to meet regularly on Zoom to hone our ideas and ensure we were creating an event that we all believed in. Debate within the group flowed and often there were too many ideas for us to take forward. This, for me, has been one of the key lessons that I will take away from this conference: how to create a group identity and idea when so many people in the group are such interesting people that their ideas are great too.
In all, one of the key messages that we all agree upon and felt was of such significance to create the conference was Inter-professional education. Why do we learn and train as individual specialities, and then expect to work harmoniously in tandem with a full understanding of each groups complexities and skillset? I have undertaken a number of simulation sessions, and most of these were other doctors portraying nurses, doctors and medical students. Conversely there has never been an emergency situation at the hospital when I have been surrounded purely by a group of fellow doctors. In order to work together, we need to learn together, and this is where Interrobang really starts.
After spending a long time exploring various online platforms AoME stepped forward and offered to help us host the event. We knew we wanted to keep the registration fee to a minimum and with their help we could do this.
We soon realised that although it might be possible to run the event on a complicated tech platform it would take all of the committees attention to do so and it was more important to us to be a part of the event.
We met on twitter and have done the majority of our advertising there.
Although at times tricky to coordinate all of us being involved in conversations (between busy rotas) there have been some brilliant moments…
Dreaming about f3
Are you hoping to have some time out beyond foundation years? Here’s some useful resources
A career guide for getting into MedEd
Click to go to MF
Find a clinical fellowship
BMC Med ed
A journal with best evidence for medical education including literature around careers
Your idea here
My idea there
our ideas everywhere
covid can’t last forever
work is not just for chritmas its for life
don’t forget your towel
- Done a clinical fellowship in med Ed?
- Done a PG Cert?
- Got a job doing something education related?
- Write for us!
What about you?
Do you have an experience or story to tell us?
Planning a local project
Planning can make all the difference between a project being a drag and being really effective
SO you’ve got a burning idea…you’ve noticed that there is a gaping hole in your local service for teaching X. You think you’ve got a brilliant idea to plug that gap. But hang on a minute, have you thought about:
- what will happen when you leave?
- who’s going to do all that boring admin?
- How will we know if it’s all worth it?
Asking ourselves these questions will help ensure we set up a project so it won’t drain our own resources and it’s not just a “flash” in the pan.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing a project for a defined period of time, the success you and your team will get from that will be immeasurable, but do make sure you know what you are setting out to do.
The WBYHT team have created a starting guide to thinking about your project here.
Be a compassionate leader
Planning for success is all about being compassionate to ourselves and our communities. It’s about recognising what is achievable and not pushing ourselves into stress or difficulty.
Get it together
Plan your beginning, middle and end.
Beginning- what’s your vision?, who, what, when, where, why?
Middle – HOW – resources? people? what are your objectives.
End- what have we learnt? what will we share? will this continue? how?
Define your vision
Understand the need
know your destination
Whatever you are planning make sure you talk to as many people as you can about it. Get a variety of perspectives and an understanding of what you want to achieve
Look around at what’s been done before, either in the literature or locally.
Understanding the methods of what you are trying to achieve can be key to setting up a robust programme.
learn from it
Evaluating our teaching has many uses. We can understand our learners better, ourselves and our practice as well as share learning more broadly with stakeholders and the wider educational team.
There are many elements of a programme that you can choose to evaluate and each one will have its own approach and things to think about. An example of a varied menu of project evaluation is given below: