Background and Purpose.
Near-peer (NP) teaching, teaching by students where a gap greater than 1 year exists between teacher and learner, has been found to produce positive results in both teacher and learner alike. Gross anatomy courses often include NP teaching experiences; however, those experiences tend to limit the NP teachers to strong academic performers.
Method/Model Description and Evaluation.
The University of South Florida School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences' Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students participated in a NP teaching experience. All third-year DPT students served as a NP teacher, as either a planner (n
= 31) or a laboratory assistant (n
= 8). Third-year students were responsible for content development (planners) and/or delivery (planners and laboratory assistants) for an anatomy module within a movement science course. After each module, first-year students completed a survey and course assessments while third-year planners completed a self-reflection. A thematic analysis was completed using the first- and third-year responses.
First-year students reported that the experience enhanced their understanding of anatomy as it relates to physical therapist practice, provided them strategies to correctly identify important anatomical concepts, and was preferable over instructor led anatomy. Third-year students (planners) acknowledged the benefit of teaching peers and reflected on knowledge reinforcement with a greater level of comfort and understanding of effort for teaching.
Discussion and Conclusion.
The findings support the existing literature that NP opportunities are beneficial for NP teachers and learners and have potential as an additional strategy for teaching human anatomy in physical therapist education programs.