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 

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




Lead / head gardener

CF – Oldham




F2 – Bolton












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.


PiPs values

Planning PiPs 4.0


2020 was the first year that we planned to deliver most of the content ourselves. Previously, only one or two sessions per day have been lead by the PiPs team.

We met several times to discuss our vision, objectives and plan for the day. Miro, an online team planning resource, was used to map out the day (see below).

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.”



We aimed to evaluate PiPs 4.0 on several levels. Modelled on a community of practice, we use elements of Lave and Wengers evaluation framework to understand the “value” we create.

Below you will find quotes from attendees as well as figures and the value we have identified based on the CoP framework.

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.



PiPs team members


medagogy minutes in the conference


Total attendees


separate sessions

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.


Immediate value

Throughout the day, PiPs leads, trainers and event attendees recognised and reported instances where discourse was focussed on solving challenges for members of the community. For instance in “the confidence debate” one attendee discussed past difficulties of evaluating their peer teaching project and was supported to identify new strategies to tackle these.


Potential value

Lave and Wenger’s framework recognises that activities in communities may produce value that is not immediately realised. We surveyed our attendees on the day and over half of them told us that we had changed their perspective on medical education.


Applied value

Change in practice: The PiPs lead team have identified several areas where they might apply what they learnt from planning and delivering the day. We plan to survey attendees in the near future to assess any applied value for them.


Realised value- “improving perfomance”

We won’t yet be able to fully assess this but hope to report back after our next event and following further evaluation with attendees.


Reframing value

Whilst reflecting on planning and delivering the day, the PiPs team recognised the significant value created by being involved in this process.  As a result we have redefined what we value as success to include the learning we create as a team. As a direct result of this we plan to try and share these benefits more widely by expanding the team, notably to include other professions and more members of our target cohort.

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.


Get involved

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!

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