The pedagogical value of near-peer feedback in online OSCEs

BMC Med Educ. 2022 Jul 25;22(1):572. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03629-8.


Purpose of the article: During the Covid-19 pandemic, formative OSCE were transformed into online OSCE, and senior students (near peers) substituted experienced clinical teachers. The aims of the study were to evaluate quality of the feedbacks given by near peers during online OSCEs and explore the experience of near-peer feedback from both learner's and near peer's perspectives.

Materials and methods: All 2nd year medical students (n = 158) attended an online OSCE under the supervision of twelve senior medical students. Outcome measures were 1) students' perception of the quality of the feedback through an online survey (Likert 1-5); 2) objective assessment of the quality of the feedback focusing on both the process and the content using a feedback scale (Likert 1-5); 3) experience of near peer feedback in two different focus groups.

Results: One hundred six medical students answered the questionnaire and had their feedback session videotaped. The mean perceived overall quality of senior students' overall feedback was 4.75 SD 0.52. They especially valued self-evaluation (mean 4.80 SD 0.67), balanced feedback (mean 4.93 SD 0.29) and provision of simulated patient's feedback (mean 4.97 SD 0.17). The overall objective assessment of the feedback quality was 3.73 SD 0.38: highly scored skills were subjectivity (mean 3.95 SD 1.12) and taking into account student's self-evaluation (mean 3.71 (SD 0.87). Senior students mainly addressed history taking issues (mean items 3.53 SD 2.37) and communication skills (mean items 4.89 SD 2.43) during feedback. Participants reported that near peer feedback was less stressful and more tailored to learning needs- challenges for senior students included to remain objective and to provide negative feedback.

Conclusion: Increased involvement of near peers in teaching activities is strongly supported for formative OSCE and should be implemented in parallel even if experience teachers are again involved in such teaching activities. However, it requires training not only on feedback skills but also on the specific content of the formative OSCE.

Keywords: Feedback; Near-peer; OSCE; Online.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Clinical Competence
  • Educational Measurement
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Peer Group
  • Students, Medical*