Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Athletic Training Education Journal




Context: Research has not explored how peer-assisted learning (PAL) impacts graduates once they are practicing as athletic trainers. Peer-assisted learning has been used in a variety of health education settings but there is a lack of data on its effects on the performance of graduates.

Objective: To investigate professional graduates’ perceptions of PAL pedagogy in their athletic training education and the impact of that experience on their first job.

Design: Qualitative study using a phenomenological approach.

Setting: One-on-one phone interviews with athletic training graduates.

Patients or Other Participants: Participants were from 8 accredited athletic training programs that varied in terms of the size of their institution, geographic location, number of graduates, and program directors’ willingness to promote the study. Thirteen (7 female, 6 male) 2010 (n ¼ 5) or 2011 (n ¼ 8) graduates volunteered for this study. Ten of the participants were from undergraduate baccalaureate athletic training programs, while 3 were from professional postbaccalaureate athletic training programs.

Main Outcome Measure(s): One-on-one phone interviews were conducted with a structured interview protocol. Each participant was asked the same questions and allowed to clarify when needed. Interview data were analyzed inductively to uncover dominant themes, first by organizing the data, then by summarizing them into codes, and finally by interpreting them. Credibility was secured through a pilot study, member checking, triangulation, and peer debriefing.

Results: Data were analyzed through a qualitative process; themes indicated graduates who have experienced PAL believe it led to improved communication and confidence, enhanced teaching skills, better clinical reasoning, improved socialization, and a deeper understanding that contributed to success on the Board of Certification examination.

Conclusions: These findings are significant to the field of athletic training education as program directors investigate pedagogies that can assist students to think clinically as graduates. Evidence demonstrated that PAL does impact the students after graduation.



First Page


Last Page







Consistent with the Budapest open access initiative (BOAI), all articles are free for users to access, read, download, and print. Information can be used providing that the source is appropriately acknowledged and/or referenced. An institution may post an author's manuscript in a digital repository. Any other posting on servers or replication of any content can be done only after obtaining permission from the NATA's publication office.