Helping them to help themselves? An evaluation of student-led tutorials in a Higher Education setting

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This article delivers an evaluation of a pedagogical intervention implemented within a first-year undergraduate university module. The intervention, termed the student-led tutorial (SLT), is based on the concept of the tutorless tutorial and presents a platform for student learning which was designed to increase active learning prior to their participation in more traditional and tutor-led modes of university teaching. To evaluate the efficacy of this method, a mixed-methods approach to the data collection was undertaken. The sample for the study was drawn from students enrolled on a Sport Development degree programme at a university in the North West of England. The first component of this methodological approach entailed the repeat completion of a questionnaire by 62 first-year undergraduate students on two separate occasions. The questionnaire was administered in two phases: a baseline wave at the beginning of a core module and a secondary wave 16 weeks later. In addition to this, a focus group consisting of five students was conducted within two weeks of the second round of questionnaires to gain a more in-depth understanding of students’ experiences and perceptions of the SLT model. The findings demonstrate that SLTs hold the potential to facilitate active learning and aid comprehension and understanding. Students particularly value the social aspect of the SLTs, which enables extended peer-to-peer interaction. The data suggests that students develop a sense of responsibility for and ownership of their learning, yet for the SLT mechanism to be effective, all members of the group must buy-in to the concept. Where commitment and contributions to the group process are uneven and inequitable, resentment and discord within an SLT may be fomented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-29
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


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