Research Output

Evaluation of a peer tutoring scheme to empower students in their transitions through the student journey

  Background: Peer tutoring has potential to empower students to successfully navigate transitions across different stages of their student journey. A peer tutoring scheme was therefore introduced in which senior physiotherapy students supported first year student from the BSc (Hons) and MSc (pre-registration) Physiotherapy programmes, to develop practical skills during taught classes and self-study sessions. The aim was to improve the quality of the students’ learning experience and enhance their self-efficacy for independent study. Additionally, the scheme intended to offer opportunities for senior students to develop transferable skills and graduate attributes to support their transition into employment.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate students’ experiences of a peer tutoring scheme both as tutors and as learners.
Methods: Two focus group interviews (n = 17, 6 males, 11 females) were conducted with year 1 students who had received support and guidance from senior students. A focus group was also conducted with five senior students who acted as peer tutors (2 males, 3 females). Audio data from the focus groups were transcribed verbatim and analysed using a thematic approach.
Results: Five major themes were identified. These themes were:
(1) Developing communities of learners: all students identified the value of shared learning for developing self-efficacy and creating a ‘safe’ space for learning;
(2) Validation of learning: senior students were able to provide reassurance about the challenges of learning in relation to developing profession specific skills;
(3) Personal development: student tutors recognised the benefits for them in terms of their professional development and reported feeling valued and respected;
(4) Approaches to learning: having been through the learning themselves student tutors were able to empathise and provide practical strategies for learning;
(5) Need for structure: the need for self-study sessions to be structured was raised by all participants.
Conclusion(s): The results suggest that the peer-tutoring scheme was well received by students both as peer tutors and learners. Benefits included: developing confidence and self-efficacy to support independent learning; consolidating practical skills and theoretical knowledge as well as contextualising university based skills and knowledge.
Implications: A peer tutoring system offers a non threading supportive learning environment and helps to develop a community of learners across and within programmes. A peer tutoring system can enhance student learning experiences and assist students in developing graduate attributes.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 May 2015

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Elsevier BV

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education

  • Funders:

    Historic Funder (pre-Worktribe)


Hislop, J., & Lane, J. (2015). Evaluation of a peer tutoring scheme to empower students in their transitions through the student journey. Physiotherapy, 101(S1), e573-e574.



Peer learning; Community of learners; Transition

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