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4 Key Takeaways from the ‘Impact and Efficacy of Peer Tutoring in Virtual and In-Person Settings’ White Paper

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In a recent white paper, Knack’s Head of Academic Relations, Page Keller, analyzed the driving factors for adopting innovative technologies in higher education, the impacts on student engagement and success, and the differences between existing platforms and support services.

Here are some of our key takeaways from the white paper:

Preference Towards Personalized, One-on-One Peer Support for More Courses

Keller discusses how the one-on-one, personalized peer support not only caters to the unique learning needs of students but also enhances the overall learning experience, helping students to develop a greater sense of control over their educational journey.

These preferences are much different than a majority of those offered for students, including group tutoring sessions, supplemental instruction (SI) and drop-in tutoring. 

Students Take Advantage of After Hours & Virtual Support

Since August 2020, Knack noted a majority (79.3%) of completed tutoring sessions took place in a virtual environment. This shift was linked to convenience as well as the constraints imposed on education by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the shift to virtual tutoring models has stuck. 

Traditional models of tutoring typically operate within constrained schedules, predominantly during standard business hours, which can inadvertently exclude a sizable portion of student populations. The limited temporal flexibility can inadvertently overlook non-traditional students, such as those who work part-time, participate in extracurricular activities, or have family responsibilities

The ability for tutors and tutees to connect virtually from any location, at any time, eliminates the necessity for travel, offering substantial advantages to students with packed schedules who might find scheduling in-person sessions challenging. It was also noted that significant tutoring activity took place between 8pm and 2am. 

Leveraging Technology Contributes to a More Comprehensive & Diverse Support System

The adoption of technology in higher education has a major impact on teaching and learning as well as the way students access and interact with information and content. By embracing this change, institutions remain competitive and meet the changing needs of students, offering more comprehensive and diverse support options. 

This approach helps traditional students as well as non-traditional adult learners, part time students and international students. 

In the case of Knack, the platform not only allows students to tutor their peers giving them valuable skills to use towards post-education employment, but also tutored students show a marked improvement in grades following the completion of tutoring sessions. The ability to meet both in-person and online for tutoring, in addition to the platform’s innate flexibility overall, showcase the diverse support options available by adopting technology. 

Tutor Recruitment & Training Matters

From Keller’s analysis of successful peer tutoring programs, two things were extremely clear: tutor recruitment and tutor training impacted the success of programs immensely.

By recruiting  top performing students as tutors, campuses foster an environment of trust and respect that contributes to the educational development of the students they tutor. These high performers are more likely to host engaging sessions and promote personal growth due to their strong understanding of the course materials. 

Training also played a vital role in equipping peer tutors with the skills and knowledge to effectively tutor. From her research it was also clear that training should include guidance on tutoring techniques, active listening, communications strategies and how to provide effective feedback. These skills allowed tutors to adapt their approaches to the individual needs of students. 

Additionally, she noted that institutions should consider ethical practice training to ensure a high standard of tutoring, including maintaining confidentiality and adhering to professional boundaries.

Research has consistently shown a strong correlation between student engagement, satisfaction, and education outcomes, like academic performance, retention and overall college experience. It also showed that measuring those successes in tutoring programs was critical.

Overall, peer tutoring can have a major impact on student success, engagement and overall experience. Download the complete white paper here to learn more: