The Benefits of Learning in Small Group Classes

Tutoring sessions give the opportunity to fix gaps in a student’s learning material through personalised lessons. 

They create a low-pressure setting where the student can feel much more comfortable in asking questions and discussing challenges that they are facing. This is something which is significantly more challenging to do in a classroom environment.

Small group learning programs are commonly used within schools and universities for extra support and catch-up learning, yet many people can be cautious towards their effectiveness for several reasons. 

In educational establishments, they are usually very difficult to source or set up due to limited resources and their effectiveness is determined by the size of the class, the skills of the teacher and their ability to adjust the content to the students' needs. 

However, the benefits can be just as great if not more so than one-to-one sessions for some students, especially with someone who is experienced in tutoring rather than teaching a whole classroom. 

Small group classes serve as an intermediate environment between a classroom full of up to 30 students or various levels and motivations and the sometimes overwhelming (and expensive) private one-to-one session. 

In this blog, we will discuss some of the points that make small groups so beneficial.

Learning with Others

Learning and revising can be an isolating experience for some, but it doesn’t have to be. 

In a small group lesson, students can motivate, inspire, and boost each other’s confidence as they learn. 

In fact, productiveness and motivation levels have been found to be higher within small groups of 3-6 students. They often learn more in a group setting than they would in a one-to-one setting. 

This depends on their learning style and academic level. Working with peers, you can reach a learning objective together, using a shared cognitive process rather than relying on an expert attempting to explain it in terms relevant to you as a younger student. 

Of course, this is something the best teachers and tutors are also well-versed in.

Sharing Knowledge and Quality Discussions

Students will have different levels of knowledge and experience on certain topics. However, this can be cultivated and used in a group setting. 

Students can share what they know with each other and bring their own understanding to the discussion. As they develop their understanding of a topic, they can discuss answers and work with each other to aid each other’s learning. 

‘The Protege Effect’ describes this phenomenon and it has been observed long before it got its name in the 1980s by Jean-Pol Martin. 

Tutors can mix quizzes and interactive tasks into lessons to help secure their understanding of the topic at hand, while students have to explain their answers or even write some questions of their own to other students. This works especially well if pupils enjoy healthy competition. 

These are just some of the ways in which a group tutoring programme aids greater engagement from students throughout the lesson, something which can be an issue in one-to-one programmes where students can be a little more reserved with their participation.

Trying to learn a new concept on your own can be a daunting and challenging experience. Doing so in a group can be a lot more fun and as a result, keep you engaged a lot more. Engagement in the lesson is the key to attaining the maximum out of a tutoring session. 

If collaboration, communication, and discussions are the way you learn best then group tutoring might be the perfect fit for you.

Built For Purpose

Group classes take place in an online classroom and whiteboard which is specifically for collaboration between students and tutors.

This purpose-built whiteboard allows students to have an interactive experience with a range of tools at their disposal. 

Tutors have plenty of subject-specific tools such as an equation and graph editor for STEM subjects or a Code tab for computer science, thus allowing them to teach concepts visually to aid learning of all styles. 

For essay-based subjects, the Sherpa classroom also has a document editor where everyone can edit, highlight and review the same document in real time.

Another great feature is the ability to playback whole lessons as well as viewing and downloading the lesson notes from previous sessions. This allows students to review lessons in their own time as well as consolidate their learning long after the class itself. 

Specific Feedback

Even though a group tutoring programme is not a one-to-one session we still have the advantage of giving personalised one-to-one feedback to each student in the group. 

Having a maximum of 6 students in a group programme enables the tutor the ability to provide students with clear, actionable feedback to help them improve their work and understanding of a topic matter. As mentioned before, it can be helpful for other students to be involved in this process too and review the work of their peers to test their understanding with a tutor there to help.

This is something that is very difficult for teachers to implement with any regularity within a classroom setting, however, it is something that is much more manageable for tutors due to the smaller groups of learning - with the added benefit of a real-time interactive classroom.

Flexibility and Adaptability

The flexibility that makes one-to-one tutoring so effective in allowing students to work at their own pace is also present in group tutoring in the right environment. 

Working alongside students with similar attainment goals and learning styles allows a group tutoring session to be tailored in a very similar manner to an individual tutoring session. Not to mention, that a group setting often helps to create a more relaxed and calming environment for students which in turn leads to better performance.

Group sessions as well as individual sessions offer much more tailored lessons to the specific needs of the students in the lesson space. This is something that is almost impossible to implement effectively in a classroom due to the sheer number of students present. 

Tuition enables the student to learn as effectively and efficiently as possible. As a result, this helps them gain skills and techniques that will make revising and learning a much more enjoyable process for them across their subjects as well as in their education beyond school.

For more benefits to tutoring see: 7 Most Important Benefits of Tuition

Learn Beyond The Curriculum

Group classes give you the opportunity to ask and learn about topics that are beyond the curriculum. 

This gives you the opportunity to learn and develop an understanding of a topic before you even cover it in school. This in turn will practically make the classroom lesson on this learning at a later date a revision session for yourself as you will have already covered everything you need to know about the topic. 

On the other hand, you can also learn something that isn’t on the curriculum at all. For example, group classes are an opportunity to learn and develop a new skill such as coding; a skill which is in high demand throughout every industry in the world. 

This would give you the skills to potentially launch an app or optimise a website. This is just one skill from a list of many that can be acquired and refined through expert-led group classes.

Removing the restraints of a prescribed syllabus and enabling a passion for learning is one of the best gifts you can give a child. 


A group tutoring programme can be a much more cost-effective way of obtaining the revision support that you need. With the cost of a session being spread out across the group it is a strong alternative to 1 to 1 tutoring programmes. 

Furthermore, if you are new to tuition then it is an excellent opportunity to get you to learn and work with an expert tutor, whilst being able to analyse whether group tutoring is right for you. 

Group classes also benefit the tutor. With only so many hours in the day, they can potentially earn more for their time and expertise whilst the pupils get a great tutoring experience at a significantly lower cost. It’s a win-win!

Group Tutoring or Individual Tutoring?

Truthfully, group tutoring might not be for everyone. 

Group sessions are great when revising and recapping covered content or practicing exam techniques and past paper questions, but may not be the most effective way to fill in a lot of identified learning gaps. They can, however, help highlight those gaps quickly. 

Having a taster group session through a lower-cost group class space may also help you find the tutor that is the right one for you, even if the group setting isn’t ideal. 

Having this connection with a tutor already should ensure a smooth transition to one-to-one tutoring sessions with the same tutor, allowing you to pick up where you left off without having to go through the process of finding another tutor.

Check out what group classes are happening soon on Sherpa to level up your knowledge!

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Tahidur R


Personalised lessons. 3000+ hours experience.

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