Although the facilitation of problem-based learning by upper class medical students (also known as “near-peers”) is widely employed in medical schools, there is a paucity of research highlighting the experiences of these facilitators. We therefore conducted a study to explore the lived experiences of near-peer problem-based learning facilitators. Thirty reflective papers, written by near-peer facilitators who participated in an elective course, were analyzed by the four authors using a constant comparative method. While near-peers described themselves as “teachers,” they struggled with their role identity, acutely remembering their own student experiences. They felt challenged to know when to intervene and how to stay true to principles of constructivism, and felt rewarded by the opportunity to reflect on their own education and to see their own growth. This research highlights important steps in fostering students’ formation as educators: introduction of educational theory, opportunities for applying theory in practice, and opportunities to reflect on experiences. We suggest that these steps may provide a model for others who are implementing near-peer facilitator development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)