Department of Educational Administration


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership & Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor James O’Hanlon. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Dana Bates


The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate graduates’ perceptions of a purposefully-implemented Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) pedagogy in their undergraduate athletic training education and the impact of that experience in their first job post-graduation. This was the first research in athletic training education that investigated how PAL impacted the students once they were practicing as athletic trainers. Previous research had investigated prevalence, benefits and athletic training student preference for PAL, however, no research had researched its impact on the graduate. Through one-on-one phone interviews with thirteen 2010 and 2011 graduates the researched aimed to investigate through the graduates perceptions how PAL impacted their transition to entry-level professional.

The researcher analyzed this data through a qualitative process and found themes that included improved communication skills, teaching skills, improved clinical reasoning, improved confidence, socialization, and gained a deeper understanding of athletic training content which led to their success on the Board of Certification exam. These findings are significant in athletic training education as program directors investigate teaching methods that can assist students to be critically thinking athletic trainers. Future research should continue to investigate pedagogies that can impact athletic training students with teaching skills as well as success on the Board of Certification exam.

Adviser: James O’Hanlon