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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 516

Student-led Peer-assisted Learning: The Kuppi Experience at the Medical School of the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka

University of Ruhuna, Karapitiya, Galle, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
M Kommalage
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ruhuna, Karapitiya, Galle
Sri Lanka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 22081656

Context: Peer-assisted learning (PAL) is described in the literature and is generally initiated with faculty assistance. The PAL process described here, called Kuppi classes, is exclusively organized and run by the students of the medical school of the University of Ruhuna. Aim: To explore students' experiences with Kuppi classes as a learning process. Methods: A phenomenological research method with focus group discussions and in-depth interviews for data collection was used. Selection of students for the study ensured representation of genders, academic years of study, both Kuppi tutors and tutees, and both those who did and did not pass the prior examination in the medical school on the first attempt. Findings: According to tutee and tutors, Kuppi was developed as a parallel process to fill in gaps in students' understanding and better explain unclear aspects of the formal curriculum. Within the Kuppi, students successfully use informality, familiarity and social bonds with one another to acquire the knowledge required for their examinations. Conclusions: This student-initiated PAL process appears to be succeeding for the students of our school. Some of their experiences may be helpful in implementing a PAL process or even improving the formal teaching processes in medical schools with similar academic, social and cultural environments. The need for a second, student-led curriculum should alert faculty to shortcomings in the formal curriculum and classes.

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