Peer assisted learning and blogging: A strategy to promote reflective practice during clinical fieldwork

Richard K. Ladyshewsky, Peter Gardner


The use of peer assisted learning in clinical education is explored in this case study. Groups of undergraduate physiotherapy students were structured into communities of practice during the second half of their clinical fieldwork program. They collaborated online in an asynchronous manner, using information communications technology (blogs) and focussed their discussion on professional practice and evidence based practice issues. Each blog group was composed of four to five fourth year physiotherapy students in their final year of clinical fieldwork. Each blog group was moderated by an academic moderator. Focus groups were structured to collect information on the experience and outcomes associated with the community of practice experience. The blog was very valuable and heightened learning, built trust, and supported learners to integrate theory to practice. A range of issues were also identified, however, that need to be considered to improve the blogging experience such as increasing the size of the group and providing more detailed guidelines. Clinical fieldwork programs looking to elevate the reflective practice component of professional development should consider blogging as an option.

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