Learning from Large Groups

April 22, 2021 by Andrew Ground
Image Many tutors will have seen that we have been experimenting with large group tutoring.  This is a first attempt to explain to you what we have been working on and share one piece of learning that could be a win for tutors as well as students.

We felt that large group learning was so different from one to one that we needed to give it attention.  Small groups are similar to one to one tutoring; the tutor can hold in their mind what stage each child is at; can respond to questions; can take time to let each student ask questions.  In fact is it tutoring at all if there is a large group?  Is it really more like broadcasting?  If so, why should we think that we can add value by doing large group tutoring.

A quick scan of the internet showed that there are majorly successful examples of tutors expanding into large groups.  In South Korea there is megastudy.net which boasts of paying top tutors millions of dollars with tuition taking place in centres across the country and relayed online.  While in Hong Kong celebrity tutors run big advertising campaigns.  Across in the US the newly floated “Nerdy” sees large groups, often run by celebrities, as a way to bring a large audience to their tutoring platform. They claim to have had 500,000 participants in 2020.  So it would seem there is potential.

A year ago with the pandemic and lockdowns causing seismic shifts in online learning, we felt like it was a great time to experiment. Co-founder Mark agreed to offer free online Maths GCSE support, and were stunned to see our class of 30 grow to 1000 attendees after a series of 19 lessons.  Based on that group we set up a pilot class of 100+ students who are actively engaged and learning, and a curriculum which covers the entire Maths higher paper syllabus in 32 lessons across the academic year.  We are busy working out how to make the group as useful as we can for the students; learning how to produce, moderate, organise and make the classes interactive and engaging.  There will be much more to share when we have digested all the discoveries.
One thing we can do straightaway

But for now, one feature has emerged that we think could immediately benefit our most experienced tutors. One of the things Mark does for his tutoring clients is to give out a short summary of the points for revision.  Essentially it contains the key points of the Maths GCSE syllabus on four pages.   When we showed the class, the students reacted very positively.  One of them put in the chat:
“... can I just say this is so so very very really really extremely extremely cool and I can't thank you enough for this. I absolutely love it and I cannot tell you how helpful this is.  It's out of the world …”

Speaking to other tutors, we found many of them share summaries of key points for students to use to revise. So that got us thinking could we make a collection of revision sheets.  We can publish them on the resource centre straightaway.  It would be a great help to many students and would help parents see who really teaches what. The top resources have now had over 100,000 views so the publicity value to tutors could be considerable. If you’ve already created a revision sheet, please do consider sharing it on our resource centre. Not only is it super helpful for students, but it will make you visible on our site. We’ll include them in a write up, and add extra links to them on our platform.

There is a quick idea to help thousands of students and help build the authority of our most experienced tutors.  We thought that sounded very very really extremely cool.
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