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The Value of Recorded Tutoring Sessions

Information is everywhere. 

Advertisements bombard us when we’re on our phones, watching television, and even boarding city transit services. We can use any wifi-enabled device to access the nearly unlimited amount of material that exists on the Internet. And for 17.5 million undergraduates (Hanson, 2021), information exists in libraries, lecture halls, and labs.

We can access a vast majority of this information whenever, and wherever, we want. 

But not all of it.

As is commonplace in education, a teacher or faculty member may share knowledge in the form of lectures or even discussions, where students must take notes to review later. This is not to say such a method of information delivery is flawed.

However, many students can certainly benefit from being able to see or hear information more than once. Fortunately, this is a strategy available to them with tutoring sessions managed through an online tutoring platform designed specifically for HigherEd institutions.

Here’s a look at the true value of a recorded tutoring session:

Encourages Active Learning

Imagine attending a tutoring session. You ask a question about the material you’re struggling with, and frantically try to write down everything your tutor says so you won’t forget it when the session is over.

If the tutor asks you a question, you have to switch from passively taking notes to actively engaging with the tutor. But again, you’re afraid to miss something important.

Active learning has several benefits, including enhancing understanding of subject matter (Doyle, 2019). And tutoring sessions are an excellent setting for active learning to take place, especially when the student feels free to engage in a back and forth conversation, and isn’t burdened by trying to write everything down.

In fact, simply writing down information isn’t a very good way to learn it.

In a study by Biwer, oude Egbrink, Aalten & de Bruin (2020), the researchers compared the effectiveness of learning strategies. The strategies that ranked lowest were those where there was little interaction with information, such as writing down main points, rereading, and highlighting text. More effective strategies included practice tests, spacing out studying, and producing explanations about facts and concepts.

This research leads to an inherent benefit of recorded tutoring sessions: knowing that they can access the recording of a tutoring session at a later time, students can engage in active learning with their tutors.

And when they do go back to look at a recorded session, they’ll be able to review more than just what the tutor said about a concept. They’ll hear a conversation with explanations, connections, and higher-level thinking about the knowledge and skills they need to know.

Promotes Review of Material

One of the most effective learning strategies, with high effectiveness for long-term learning, is distributed practice, or “spacing study in several sessions over time and reviewing learning material studied earlier in later sessions” (Biwer, oude Egbrink, Aalten & de Bruin, 2020).

This strategy stands in huge contrast to that used by students who listen to or read the material once, and never visit it again. Or to students who collect piles of notes and articles, only to try to review them all at once before a major exam.

Not every student will take advantage of distributed practice. But for those who do, they can access their recorded tutoring sessions whenever they want.

Additionally, consider one of the purposes of tutoring: to supplement academic learning. If a student is taking advantage of campus tutoring services, he or she is likely to have some perceived weaknesses in skills or knowledge. 

A tutoring session might help bridge this gap in understanding, but if the student becomes confused again later, where do they go for assistance?

Instead of repeating material over and over in subsequent tutoring sessions, this student can review a session that has covered the information he or she needs, and benefit from moving on to new material and new understandings in later tutoring sessions.

Creates a Personalized Collection of Information

A hundred undergraduate students sit in a lecture hall. The faculty member delivers an engaging and memorable lesson, and even uses a learning management system to post supplementary materials and videos online.

This is likely a good strategy for a good number of students enrolled in the course. 

But what about students who are lacking important foundational knowledge? They may have been engaged, but how well will they retain information? Or what about students with diverse and culturally divergent backgrounds, who have little context with which to connect new material?

Even the best faculty may not be able to reach every student. Office hours and personalized assistance can help bridge this gap. 

And so can tutoring, especially if sessions are recorded.

With a tutor, students can receive a more personalized learning experience that caters to their strengths and weaknesses.

A collection of recorded tutoring sessions, by extension, becomes a repository of custom resources that the student can access as needed. Lectures, videos, and materials posted by faculty are generalized to an entire course of students. A recorded tutoring session is the perfect resource for one.

The ability to record tutoring sessions, and then allow tutees to access them at will, has immense value for student learning. They can engage more actively with their tutor, review information with ease, and obtain a collection of personalized learning materials.

It’s a truly amazing resource that benefits students who want to grow academically and gain skills and knowledge that will lead them to success.

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