Background: Research emphasises the need for instructional methods and tools which can improve Basic Life Support (BLS) performance or reduce instructional time.
Aim: To investigate the effect of peer evaluation to improve reciprocal learning with task cards as instructional tools for acquiring BLS.
Methods: A total of 78 kinesiology students from a Belgian university were paired and randomised across two groups to learn BLS in 20 min with task cards. In the control group, students worked together in a defined doer–helper relationship and switched roles every 5 min. In the peer evaluation group, students followed the same co-operation procedure as in the control group. In addition, 1 min before every switching of roles, the helper evaluated the doer’s performance. All BLS skills were individually assessed on a Laerdal AED Resusci Anne mannequin (Laerdal Medical, Vilvoorde, Belgium) using the Laerdal PCSkill reporting system. A total BLS score was calculated and performance was measured before training(baseline), immediately after training (intervention) and 2 weeks later (retention).
Results: Significantly more students from the evaluation group remembered and consequently performed all BLS skills at intervention (P = 0.03). No significant differences were found between groups for main cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) variables and total BLS scores at baseline, intervention and retention.
Both groups achieved more than 70% of the maximum BLS score at intervention and retention.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that 20 min reciprocal-learning setting with task cards is an effective method to learn BLS. The implementation of peer evaluation in this setting has an immediate, however small, positive impact on BLS skill learning.