• Neena Bhattacharya Faculty of Medicine, AIMST University, Malaysia.
  • Nasrin Habib Faculty of Medicine, Quest International University Perak (QIUP), Malaysia
  • Mamunur Rashid Faculty of Medicine, Quest International University Perak (QIUP), Malaysia
  • Sandeep Sugathan Faculty of Medicine, Quest International University Perak (QIUP), Malaysia
  • Tahmina Afrose Faculty of Medicine, AIMST University, Malaysia.
  • Ebrahim Nangarath Kottakal Faculty of Medicine, Quest International University Perak (QIUP), Malaysia
Keywords: Small group teaching, Peer assisted learning, Pre-clinical, Medical students


Didactic lecture promotes passive learning and fails to motivate students. Small group learning has been widely recommended as it helps to refine understanding of complex issues, to solve the problems, develop critical thinking and apply knowledge to new situations. PALS – a “peer assisted learning” mode where in students discuss in groups and learn from each other. They get motivated and set a platform, which encourages them to communicate and do problem solving. The present study was aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of small group teaching (SGT) and peer assisted learning (PAL) approach among pre clinical medical students. Small groups of students were selected for this study out of the big batch of students pursuing 2nd year MBBS program at AIMST University who were undergoing “respiratory system” block. At the end of lecture-based sessions, a few topics were selected for SGT- PAL session. Students were asked to complete the pretest questions on the selected topics and they were then explained the topics selected for this session. Students had SGT PAL on those selected topics. Then they completed the post test questions on the same topic. Responses obtained for the pre- test and post-test questions were analyzed using SPSS using paired t test and the perceptions on their own understanding using marginal homogeneity test, both showed a significant improvement. SGT and PAL approach helped students to improve understanding of important concepts and can be adopted more widely as an alternative to lectures.


Chandelkar,RataboliP.V, KulkarniM.S. assessment of impact of small group teaching over didactic lectures and self-directed learning among second year bds students in general and dental pharmacology in goa medical college. 2014; 3:51-57

Bosse, H. M., Nickel, M., Huwendiek, S., Jünger, J., Schultz, J. H., & Nikendei, C.(2010). Peer role- play and standardised patients in communication training: A comparative study on the student perspective on acceptability, realism, and perceived effect. BMC Medical Education, 10. Retrieved from

Bakhtiyar NH, Norouzi R. New educational methods in the third millennium. Ghom: Sama; 2003.

JAQUES, D (2004) Small Group Teaching, Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development, UK.

Rathnakar UP, Sheetal DU, Preethi GP, Rojeshwari S, Pemminati S, Shiraprakash G,et al. Is small group teaching among the undergraduate dental students really effective. JCDR. 2011;5(4):822-5.

Sultan Ayoub Meo.Basic steps in establishing effective small group teaching sessions in medical schools. Pak J MedSci.2013Jul-Aug;29(4):1071-1076

JonesRW.Learning and teachingin small groups: Characteristics, benefits, problems and approaches. AnaesthIntensiveCare.2007; 35(4):587-592

Euliano TY. Small group teaching: clinical correlation with a human patient simulator. Advances in Physiology Education Published 1 March 2001 Vol. 25 no. 1, 36-43

Abubakir M. Saleh, Namir G. Al-Tawil ., et al. Didactic Lectures and Interactive Sessions in Small Groups: A Comparative Study among Undergraduate Students in Hawler College of Medicine , British Journal of Education, Society & Behavioural Science 3(2): 144-153, 2013.

Heckmann JG, Dütsch M, Rauch C, Lang C, Weih M, Schwab S. Effects of peer-assisted training during the neurology clerkship: a randomized controlled study. Eur J Neurol 2008; 15:1365-70.

Patterson,L.J., 2013, What are the effects of peer assisted learning strategies on reading acheivements in elementary students in an urban area.

Glass N, Walter R. An experience of peer mentoring with student nurses: enhancement of personal and professional growth. J Nurs Educ 2000; 39:155-60.

Yu T, Wilson NC, Singh PP, Lemanu DP, Hawken SJ, Hill AG. Medical students as teachers: a systematic review of peer assisted teaching during medical school. Adv Med Educ Pract 2011; 2:157- 72.

Krych, A. J., March, C. N., Bryan, R. E., Peake, B. J., Pawlina, W., & Carmichael, S. W. (2005). Reciprocal peer teaching: students teaching students in the gross anatomy laboratory. Clinical Anatomy, 18(4), 296–301.

Weyrich P, Schrauth M, Kraus B, Hebermehl D, Netzhammer N, Zipfel S, et al. Undergraduate technical skills training guided by students tutors: analysis of tutor's attitudes, tutees acceptance and learning progress in an innovative teaching model. BMC Med Edu 2008; 9:8-

Huang R. Chinese International Students’ perceptions of the problem-based learning experience. JoHLSTE. 2005;4(2):36-43.

MacauleyR, BillingsJA. Teaching small groupsinpalliativecare. JPalliatMed.2011Jan;14(1):91-5

CurranVR, SharpeD, ForristallJ. et al. Student satisfaction and perceptions of small group process in case-based inter professional learning. MedTeach.2008;30(4):431-3.

Calhoon, M., Otaiba, S., Greenberg, D., King, A., & Avalos, A. (2006). Improving reading skills in predominantly Hispanic title 1 first-grade classrooms: the promise of peer-assisted learning strategies. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 21(4), 261-273. Pl

Knobe, M., Münker, R., Sellei, R. M., Holschen, M., Mooij, S. C., Schmidt- Rohlfing, B., Pape, H. C. (2010). Peer teaching: A randomised controlled 71 Tai, Haines, Canny, and Molloy trial using student- teachers to teach musculoskeletal ultrasound. Medical Education, 44(2), 148–155.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated practice: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Ross MT, Cameron HS. Peer assisted learning: a planning and implementation framework: AMEE Guide no. 30. Med Teach 2007; 29:527-45.

How to Cite
Neena Bhattacharya, Habib, N., Mamunur Rashid, Sandeep Sugathan, Tahmina Afrose, & Ebrahim Nangarath Kottakal. (2020). COMBINATION OF SGT (SMALL GROUP TEACHING) AND PAL (PEER ASSISTED LEARNING) APPROACH TO FACILITATE LEARNING AMONG MBBS STUDENTS FROM A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN MALAYSIA DURING PRE-CLINICAL YEARS. Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine, 20(3), 79-84.