What Makes an Effective Tutorial?

Teachers and tutors are both educators. However, teachers lead classes. On the other hand, tutors help individual students, typically on a one-on-one basis. The learning session a tutor conducts is a tutorial. However, tutors do not give grades to the students.

During a tutorial session, the student or group discuss and assess the lecture content. It is also the time to present and debate the concepts and themes referring to the course. Often, a tutorial is more specific and interactive, teaching students by example while supplying the information to students so they can complete their particular task.

Tutors use different approaches to prepare the tutorials. Some may prepare basic tutorials. Others include various methods to make the tutorials lively and interactive. Whatever method they use, tutors need to ensure that the tutorial is effective.

Here are a few ideas.

Has a clear statement of the learning goals and purposes 

At the beginning of the tutorials, the tutor should give an outline of its structure and flow, similar to those provided by Oxford Tutorial College. The method gives the students a better idea of what they are doing and how long the tutorial will take. The tutor should explain the purpose and expected results of each task and activity, including when and how the new information will be of value to the students.

Includes general and broad questions 

Tutors must ensure that they can activate how students organise and build knowledge. They should help learners recognise and extract knowledge they already possess about a topic by asking some broad and general questions. Whether that is “what is broadband internet” or “how do you calculate the area of a triangle” or something else entirely. It will help them to develop links and start an interaction among the learners, giving them opportunities to discover and express their reactions and ideas.

Includes logical progression of the pacing, staging and sequence of activities and tasks

The tutorial will be more effective if the progression of the instructions is in a logical sequence. The students will learn better if they start with straightforward lessons before moving on to more complex and challenging tasks. Students will learn to handle challenges by creating a learning format that mixes tasks and activities in varying styles, formats, and lengths.

Builds learning using the insights and experiences of students

The tutorial will be more effective if it starts with familiar things to the students, boosting their competence. Then, from the usual, the students can progress to tasks and activities that are more intellectually demanding. If they feel that the class values their contributions, they develop the trust and confidence they will need to discover new and possibly daring ways to express their ideas.

Incorporates more interactions and collaborations 

Tutorials should allow students to expand their potential and perspectives with the other learners in their group. They should enjoy learning with their peers and building relationships with the other learners, encouraging them to share their points of view and concepts without fear of making mistakes.

Tutorials become more effective if there is active involvement from the learners. They should include tasks and activities that require problem-solving and discussing their ideas with the tutor and other learners. An effective tutorial should allow learners to construct arguments and understand the concept through interactions with the learning materials, their peers, and the tutor.


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