Using Near-Peer Teaching to Address Concepts of Cystic Fibrosis in Undergraduate Medical Learners

MedEdPORTAL. 2020 Aug 28;16:10961. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10961.


Introduction: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a high-yield undergraduate medical education topic that lends itself to adaptability of content. We used a CF case paired with activities to deliver content in a near-peer teaching session. First-year (M1) and second-year (M2) medical students contributed acquired knowledge of protein structure and obstructive lung disease, respectively, to generate a concept map and address discussion questions.

Methods: Combined groups of M1 and M2 students reviewed a CF case and a concept map prompt. For 30 minutes, they created a concept map describing connections between molecular biology and clinical manifestations. We summarized by reviewing concept maps and discussion questions. The efficacy of the session was determined by comparing exam performance of class attenders and nonattenders (M2) and performance on questions related and unrelated to the exercise (M1). We also determined students' perception of the session and incorporation of additional core competencies.

Results: M2 students' performance was 3.8% higher (p = .296) and M1 students' performance was 1.8% higher (p = .286) than their respective controls. Students commented positively on the exercise and perceived more than one core competency as part of the session.

Discussion: Although there was no significant improvement in exam performance, this curriculum used near-peer teaching to reinforce previously learned material and apply recently acquired material in an engaging format without detriment to either group. This method can be adapted to different learner groups and provides an opportunity to deliver and assess other core medical competencies.

Keywords: Case-Based Learning; Concept Mapping; Flipped Classroom; Molecular Biology; Near-Peer Teaching; Protein Structure; Pulmonary Medicine; Pulmonary Pathophysiology; Pulmonary Physiology.