The Influence of Peer Feedback on the Acquisition of Physical-Examination Skills

Bernard Martineau*, Sìlvia Mamede, Christina St-Onge, Linda Bergeron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Studies have suggested that having students observe peers while acquiring physical-examination (PE) skills fosters the acquisition of the psychomotor skills required to conduct a PE. One difficulty, however, has been to disentangle the effect of peer observation from peer feedback, both of which occur when students learn in groups. This study investigated the influence of peer feedback on learning the neurolocomotor physical exam for low-back pain. 120 second-year medical students were randomly assigned to a peer-feedback group (n=61) or a no-peer-feedback group (n=53), during a regular learning activity with a standardized-patient instructor. Students first practised the NLE in groups of three, with or without peer feedback, depending on the group to which they were assigned. Subsequently, the members of both groups performed the NLE individually. The final NLE was videotaped and assessed later. Peer feedback had a positive effect on the acquisition of PE skills (87.9% vs. 90.8%, p=0.023), despite the fact that students had an initial preference for instructor feedback compared with peer feedback. These results support the use of group activities that give students the opportunity to provide feedback to their peers while learning PE skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Professions Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 King Saud bin AbdulAziz University for Health Sciences


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