There is little doubt that 1-to-1 tuition has the potential to accelerate students’ learning, tackle knowledge gaps, raise their confidence and increase their academic performance across all subjects and levels. The reason for this lies solely in the fact that this mode of instruction is designed to cater specifically to individual students' learning needs.
However, the reality is that only a minority in society can afford the services of a private tutor. The natural consequence of such a disparity is that the attainment gap between those who can afford private tuition and those who cannot is only bound to widen.
A solution that can effectively solve the aforementioned problem of accessibility and level the playing field amongst students is group online tuition. Group lessons not only provide students with the opportunity to share the cost of lessons, but they also provide tutors with a platform to expand their reach. Moreover, they allow schools, educational institutions, and government bodies to deploy targeted tuition programmes at scale.
Whilst the economics of group lessons naturally increases affordability, this is by no means the only benefit that group lessons have to offer. Group online lessons have also been shown to increase engagement and focus among students, they add an element of accountability that pushes students to perform, and they expose students to other perspectives thus driving them to further consolidate their knowledge.
After witnessing the staggering uptake from students on LessonWise over the last 4 months, with enrolment rates rising to 115 students in a single lesson at times, and analysing available literature on group tuition and collaborative learning, we have summarised the main benefits that make it a transformative tutoring alternative:
- Learning in a group can unleash students’ creativity. In a group setting, all participating students present different personalities and backgrounds, and this variety can promote creativity and a diversity of ideas.
- Through debate and collaborative learning students can share their ideas with their peers and be exposed to other perspectives. This exposure can drive students to challenge their views and push them to expand their knowledge and understanding.
- Students can build a support system amongst their peers and lean on them for further collaborative learning. This is a distinguishing component of group tuition which presents students with the opportunity to co-learn and cooperate within and outside the virtual classroom.
- Given the social element associated with group tuition and collaborative learning, students can overcome shyness, increase self-confidence, and discover leadership skills. Collaborative learning can also improve soft skills such as decision-making, flexibility and problem-solving (Sumtsova, 2018; Wang & Huang, 2021).
- Group tuition entails a strong element of accountability. Through a collaborative learning approach, learners make individual progress whilst working with others towards a common goal making them accountable to one another (Kurni & Saritha, 2021).
- By leveraging technology such as breakout rooms and on-screen polling students can be involved in group discussions during live lessons. Such activities encourage thoughtful involvement and reflection, enable peer-to-peer feedback and they can drive students to assume responsibility and become critical thinkers (Kurni & Saritha, 2021). Discussions in small groups also provide all students with the opportunity to think and express their ideas (Black and William, 1998).
- Collaborative learning enhances satisfaction with the learning experience. Naturally, people tend to find satisfaction in activities which value their input and their abilities, and include them in the process. When students are encouraged to work together as a team towards a common goal, this results in higher student satisfaction with the learning experience and is particularly helpful for those students who have a history of low achievement and performance (Turnure & Zeigler, 1958).
- Collaborative learning can sharpen critical thinking amongst students and improve their knowledge retention as well as their interest in the subject matter. When students feel a sense of accomplishment, they view the subject matter with a more positive attitude as their self-esteem is enhanced (Kulick & Kulick 1979).
- Given the economies of scale tied to group online tuition, students can share the cost of lessons which in turn drives the price of tutoring down and allows for more students to reap the benefits of private tuition. The dissemination of high-quality education and knowledge can be scaled effectively regardless of students’ geographical location and demographics (Friedman, 2012). Offering affordable access to private tuition also acts to mitigate the impacts that lockdown had on students’ learning and can help institutions deploy tutoring programmes to help students catch up on lost learning.
- With the right technology and collaboration tools in place, digital collaborative learning offers advantages which impact sustainability in learning including saved time and fewer costs, strengthened team relationships and teamwork and better structuring of teaching work (Zabukovšek, Deželak, Parusheva & Bobek, 2022).
We believe that online group lessons have the potential to effectively solve significant problems in society such as learning gaps amongst pupils, attainment gaps between those who have had access to private tutors in their life and those who haven’t, school readiness amongst primary and secondary school children, high-stress levels due to academic overload and lack of access to the right support, and lack of support in exam preparation.
Everyone deserves access to the life-changing benefits of private tuition and here at LessonWise, it is our mission to scale participation through live online group lessons.
Manfred Olbrich, CEO & Founder of LessonWise.
Black, P. & Wiliam D. (2010), ‘Inside the Black Box Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment’, Phi Delta Kappan , 92(1): 81-90. Available on: https://doi.org/10.1177/003172171009200119
Friedman, T. (2012), ‘Come the Revolution’, New York Times. Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/friedman-come-the-revolution.html/ (Last accessed on 7 May 2022).
Kurni, M., & Saritha K. (2021), ‘Applying Collaborative Learning for Enhancing the Teaching-Learning Process in Online Learning through Social Media’, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET), 16(16), pp. 251–259. Available on: https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i16.23207
Sternad Zabukovšek, S. et al. (2022), ‘Attractiveness of Collaborative Platforms for Sustainable E-Learning in Business Studies’ Sustainability, 14(1857):1-25.
Sumtsova, O.V. et al. (2018), ‘Collaborative Learning at Engineering Universities: Ben- efits and Challenges’, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 13 (1): 160-177.
Wang., C. & LuSha H. (2021), ‘A Systematic Review of Serious Games for Collaborative Learning: Theoretical Framework, Game Mechanic and Efficiency Assessment’, International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 16 (6): 88-105. Available on: https://doi.org/10.3991/ijet.v16i06.18495