Determinants of peer selection for collaborative group work of third-year bachelor students in a medical degree programme with learning communities.

Yan Zhou, Jasperina Brouwer, Nico Bos*, A.D. Diemers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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The social capital theory reveals the importance of peer relationships on students’ learning.
However, it is unclear how students select their collaborators under the influence of their
previous collaborations and backgrounds. This study explores to what extent students’ free
selection choices for collaborators among their peers are based on previous collaboration in
formally structured groups (i.e., learning communities (LCs)) and based on different students’
background characteristics. A parallel program was studied where students studied in one of
four LCs for two years and after that, they have to find their own group members within or
across LCs to finish their bachelor thesis in the third year. In total, 1152 students’ selections of
their peers were analyzed. This paper presents the percentages of students choosing group
members within or across LCs. It also considered the influence of students’ backgrounds, like
sex, nationality, and academic performances on their peerchoices by logistic regression
analysis. More than half of the students chose group members within their own LC, regardless
of which LC they were in. Although the majority of the students chose collaborators within
their own LC, still around 40% of students were willing to collaborate with others from
different LCs with whom they had never collaborated before in the formal curriculum.
Students’ backgrounds (i.e., sex, and academic performance) were also associated with their
decisions. A high frequency of collaboration within formally structured groups enhances the
students’ preference of group members from the same groups, but also informal peer
relationships are crucial in students’ choices for collaboration. Students’ sex and academic
performance influence their free choice of group members while nationality does not.
Students with different academic levels have a higher chance to become group members
when they collaborated before in formally structured groups than those students who had
not had such a collaboration experience
Original languageEnglish
Article number2111743
Number of pages11
JournalMedical education online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18-Aug-2022


  • Formal peer relationship
  • Learning community
  • Curriculum Design
  • Informal peer relationship
  • Medical education

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