Promoting a learning community through peer feedback

Promoting a learning community through peer feedback - navigating the perspectives of staff and students

Team Members:  Neill Storrar, Helen Cameron, David Hope

School: Edinburgh Medical School (Centre for Medical Education)


The enhancement of feedback is a key priority in the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy. This includes promotion of a learning community that supports peer feedback – the practice of students critiquing one another. Comparatively little is known about the use of peer feedback in the workplace. Despite potential educational benefits, some students and staff may have reservations about the value or risks of its use. We seek funding to support production of guidance notes for other University departments on how to negotiate these tensions. It will build on the lead researcher’s MD on the use of peer feedback in clinical environments. This work will also facilitate a future programme to introduce peer feedback into undergraduate medical training.

The project aim is to develop guidance notes on what would promote successful introduction of peer feedback in the workplace. Using grounded theory we will interview medical school staff and students on the role of peer feedback. The focus will be on factors that would promote the benefits while avoiding pitfalls, and how to balance peer feedback with other teaching methods. The funding would be used to transcribe interviews, allowing time to produce the guidance. Ethical application for the interviews has already been approved.

In summary this project would support University teachers in the pursuit of a key goals – the enhancement of feedback. Its emphasis on workplace learning will have relevance to any department where students will benefit from reviewing one another’s performance, and training for postgraduate practice.

Final project report

Download final project report (PDF)

Other project outcomes

How to Engage Students in Peer Feedback (3 major factors influencing students' willingness to participate) (PDF)

Storrar N, Cameron H, Hope D (March 2019)  Promoting a learning community through peer feedback Teaching Matters