I really like the idea of learning materials developed by students for students. I understand that the HEA seem pretty hot on this idea too, referring to it as 'Student Partnerships'. I have two apps being developed by students (Steph and Cristina) and which are now nearing completion. I will cover these in detail in another blog. However, after reflecting on Peer Assisted Learning (PAL), maybe I am missing something, but it seems to be a win-win situation:
Student Authors - By creating new media, students authors gain extra-curricular digital skills, get a bit of money and it serves as excellent revision. There has also been a high level of motivation. This seems to be due to the fact that an app is being developed. The app-factor has been an important over-arching consideration for both Steph and Cristina.
Target Audience - student consumers of the app are able to access materials designed specifically for them. They place a high value on material that has been implemented by their peers. Although I have yet to evaluate, I would anticipate that apps will be well received.
Academic Staff - there is an opportunity for academics to understand possible short-comings with existing material, leading to creativity and hopefully unlocking new approaches to teaching and learning - CPD!
The Department - in P&P there are roughly 60 competences that are required by the regulator for the MPharm degree. These competencies are referred to as the 'Standard 10 Outcomes'. PAL is an important ingredient that will enable us to meet some of these expected outcomes very effectively.
In P&P we have a cohort of roughly 150 students per year. Over 90% of these have a smart-phone, and are increasingly part of the 'App Culture' that is prevalent in young people. As such, App-Store type apps seem a good way to engage our students. However, it is important to note that we will also be releasing these as web-apps (really just a web-site designed for mobile devices). This means that we can also reach those few students who do not have a smart-phone.
I'm looking forward to releasing the two new apps over the next few days, and evaluating with students later this year.