The Potential of Online Tutoring offered by EdTechs
Online tutoring company GoStudent, conducted a pilot study with learning platform Seneca with the aim of measuring the effects and learning outcomes of 1:1 personalised tutoring through Seneca, an interactive learning platform.
The pilot consisted of five study sessions using Seneca’s online platform and a test group of tutors and students from the UK. The students were in Year Groups 4 to 9 (so between the ages of 9 to 14) and learning maths or English.
- First session: Initial assessment with the presence of the tutor.
- Three optional sessions: Undertaken either with or without the presence of the tutor.
- Last session: Final assessment with the presence of the tutor.
Each student’s performance on the final assessment was compared with their performance on the initial assessment as a way to assess their progress. 113 students took part in the study as a whole, with 58 of them completing the initial and final assessments with 0-3 additional test sessions using Seneca in between.
Results and key findings
So what about the progress data we collected? Does this stack up in favour of this type of learning support? The short answer appears to be yes! Through using Seneca's assessment techniques, we saw that students having 1:1 personalised tutoring lessons improved on their test results.
We can see that the 58 students who received 1:1 tutoring between taking the initial test and final test, showed a significant improvement which was driven by identifying those knowledge gaps and working on them during the sessions. From the graph you can see that the average score in the initial test was 73%, which compared to the average score of 86% in the final test, shows a relative improvement of 18%.
A further key finding, besides the general improvement of the students, is that the deviation between students’ scores significantly decreased, as shown in the graph below. This suggests that GoStudent’s personalised tutoring approach helped the lower performing students to catch up with the higher performing students in the study reducing the gap between them that is often produced by our “one-size-fits-it-all" education system.
In summary, the data suggests two main things:
- Personalised tutoring by GoStudent leads to significant learning improvements and reduces the gap between lower and higher performing students.
- GoStudent 1:1 tutoring, paired with Seneca’s interactive learning elements, allows students to make significant learning improvements.
Additional key insights
Students enjoy studying more when they can see progress.
It is very common for students to feel demotivated about their learning. In most cases, this is not due to their lack of progress, but rather to the lack of progress visibility. It can be hard for students to realise how much progress they have made, making them think they have not progressed at all.
Therefore, when tutors are able to share learning milestones with their students, allowing the students to see a positive visualisation of their learning trajectory, it helps increase motivation and enjoyment of the learning experience as a whole.
Tutor Michael mentioned: "My students found the variety of resources really refreshing and it helped them to easily improve on their weak spots”.
Small break-out exercises help keep students engaged.
One of the most significant takeaways from this pilot study was that the students wanted to keep studying, during and outside the lesson, out of enjoyment of using Seneca’s interactive learning platform. The balance of 1:1 tutoring, with small interactive assessments throughout, helped students to stay engaged throughout their learning journey.
Seneca’s smart learning algorithm adjusts the questions and exercises to each student’s skill level. The added challenge of these adjustments highly increased students’ motivation during their tutoring sessions. They wanted to study, opposed to asked to study, making motivation incredibly high in the five sessions. When using the platform for self-study, they then had the tutor on hand in the next 1:1 session to clarify and explain any questions or new topics that arose from the self-study, better contributing to the students overall learning.
GoStudent’s personalised 1:1 tutoring, as well as the combination of GoStudent and Seneca, proved to be beneficial for the students due to:
- Assist with personalising 1:1 tutoring lessons.
- Standardised tests help to uncover learning gaps more quickly, which tutors can then focus on in the tutoring sessions.
- High engagement and motivation due to the assistance provided by 1:1 tutoring.
The combination of personalised 1:1 tutoring and the use of Seneca's interactive learning platform in this pilot study proved to be very beneficial for the tutors involved also, according to their own feedback:
- Seneca gives GoStudent tutors a great way to track their student’s progress to provide further insights into their learning. This knowledge is invaluable when planning the 1:1 lessons to identify weak spots and tailor their lessons accordingly: Easy to use and a nice layout, gave a very convenient overview of the student’s progress.
- Tutors were able to set very personalised homework and practice tasks, tailored to tackle knowledge gaps for each student. This allows students to be given tasks that are specific to them to work on at home: Provides extra resources for the student to use and helps show different types of questions.
GoStudent and Seneca’s vision
Together, GoStudent and Seneca will continue to seek continuous improvements through their services and tools offered, for the sole purpose of enabling students, parents and tutors the best learning outcomes and experiences possible.
The results of the GoStudent and Seneca learning progress pilot proved that personalised, 1:1 tutoring with the support of an interactive study environment is an effective study approach for the future. 🚀