Dr Alexandra Patel

Dr Alex PatelRoute into Pedagogical research:

I wanted to evaluate whether our investment of time in training peer assisted learning leaders was linked to positive educational benefits in the students they worked with. However, the study developed into a more meaningful investigation of the perceptions of staff, students participants and student-leaders of PAL in the school of medicine.

Impacts of carrying out pedagogical research:

Personal Impacts of carrying out SoTL:

I developed a deeper understanding of what peer learning can do to support a student’s sense of belonging and their learning. Leading this project gave me an appreciation of sociopolitical aspects of research, learning and teaching. It encouraged me to move towards a balance of quantitative and qualitative approaches, choosing the appropriate tool for what I want to measure, and being aware of the strengths and limitations of certain approaches.

Impacts seen on students from carrying out SoTL:

It was a partnership with three medical students, who gained research experience in terms of designing, administering, analyzing a questionnaire and focus groups, and communicating research through writing and through their presentation of a poster and session at a conference. The research itself led to a redevelopment of the PAL leader training programme, where training activities are focused around promoting the strengths of PAL and addressing the concerns or limitations around it. The draft report has been shared with the School of Medicine, along with initial discussions around embedding peer learning within the School of Medicine Curriculum.

Areas of interest for future projects:

Digital literacies; academic literacies; academic writing; critical analysis; student-staff partnerships; peer learning; transition to HE; digital credentials/openbadges

Current Projects:

A digital credential or open badge is an electronic badge or icon that has embedded data within it about the issuer, the recipient and the criteria that the recipient had to meet in order to be awarded the badge. Badges can be displayed on webpages, electronic portfolios or social websites, creating another resource for enhancing the recipient’s online employability profile. Digital credentials are likely to be an important development in Higher Education and career development, as they can be used to motivate learners through gamification, to accredit participation or contribution, and to digitally communicate skills or achievements in a trusted format.

We are working with a Digitalme.Credly, part of the City and Guilds group, to help us to create, issue and verify badges online. This Proof of Concept trial aims to issue badges to around 200 students and further support recipients in choosing how to use their badges through the development of a workshop that will consider how open badges might add value to digital professional profiles, social media and traditional recruitment processes.

Past Projects:

Patel, A.J.F., Guihen, L., Goel, S., Harris, B., Syeed, J. (2015). ‘Perspectives of student-leaders, participants and academics around Peer Assisted Learning in Medicine’, paper presented to RAISE Conference 2015, Nottingham Trent University 11/09/2015.


Patel, A.J.F., Mongan, L., Guihen, L., Goel, S., Harris, B., Syeed, J. and Norman, R.I. (2015). Student-led peer learning: perceptions of students and teaching staff. Poster session presented at the RAISE Conference 2015., Nottingham Trent University.

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