Background: The present study was designed to compare the knowledge gain of students in lectures and peer assisted learning (PAL) via end of course test scores. The purpose of this comparison was to assess the ability of PAL in enhancing academic achievement and to consider its addition within the traditional medical syllabus.
Methods: A randomized control trial (RCT) was conducted at Department of Community Medicine, Lahore Medical and Dental College in 2014. Convenience sampling was used and out of 125 fourth year MBBS students, those who agreed to take part in the study (N = 99),were randomly allocated to PAL (n = 49) and lecture (n = 50) groups. Community Health& Nutrition was the course chosen for the study. Both lecture and the PAL sessions were conducted simultaneously and the duration and content covered in each session were the same for both groups. Knowledge gained was assessed through a pre- and post-test. Chi-square test, independent t test, paired t test and analysis of co variance (ANCOVA) were used for data analysis.
Results: The study participants demonstrated a significant difference in the pre-test and post-tests cores in both the study groups (P ≤ 0.001). However, no statistically significant difference was found in the post-test scores between the Lecture and PAL groups, F (1, 95) = 0.584, P = 0.447.Gender and high school qualifications had no bearing on test scores in both learning groups.
Conclusion: The present study concludes that in terms of academic achievements, PAL was equally effective to lectures. Therefore, PAL can be incorporated as a supplement to lectures in medical school curricula.