Active peer-mentored learning can improve student understanding of physiological concepts in an undergraduate journal club

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Drumm, Bernard T.
Rae, Mark G.
Ward, Sean M.
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American Physiological Society
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One of the most ubiquitous active learning modalities in the biological sciences at third level is the journal club. Journal club can promote several beneficial learning outcomes for students such as gaining critical reading skills to evaluate the scientific literature, improving scientific literacy, serving as an introduction to new concepts and techniques and improving communication skills. However, it can be difficult for instructors who facilitate journal club to gauge student audiences' understanding of topics being related by presenters. At the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, international life sciences undergraduate students enrolled in our research program undergo a 12-month placement in selected research laboratories within the medical school in order to develop an understanding of basic medical scientific research and physiological concepts. As such, an integral component of this program is participation in regular journal club sessions which we had assumed helped students to develop such an understanding. However as we had never empirically assessed if this was the case or not, the aim of the current study was to determine if student understanding could be improved by complementing the standard journal club with peer-mentored workshop presentations. Data from this case study suggest that by allowing students to undergo peer-mentored learning in conjunction with journal club, student understanding of physiological concepts, as well as student confidence in presenting and communication, increases.
Peer mentoring , Peer assisted learning , Active learning , Journal club , Teaching for understanding
Drumm, B. T., Rae, M. G. and Ward, S. M. (2019) 'Active peer-mentored learning can improve student understanding of physiological concepts in an undergraduate journal club', Advances in Physiology Education, 43(3), pp. 359-364. doi: 10.1152/advan.00049.2019
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