Principal Investigator (PI): Kenneth Ong Keng Wee
, Senior Lecturer, Language and Communication Centre
Co-PI: A/P Tan Seng Chee
, Deputy Director, Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU)
E-Learning platforms have become staple learning complements in most tertiary institutions. But teaching needs remain to be holistically met with shadow education done privately among peers in person. In most wired societies like Singapore, these peer tutoring schemes are electronically mediated to match students’ learning needs with tutors’ expertise.
While e-platforms have been extensively used for supplementary private tutoring, there remains a lack of research on the efficacy of facilitating peer tutoring electronically. Moreover, this is aggravated by the fact that there is presently no available suite of technological affordances to facilitate peer tutoring sessions remotely.
The Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU), in collaboration with Dr Kenneth Ong of the Language and Communication Centre, Nanyang Technological University, aims to fill this gap through the development of a smartphone app called Mobile Education Networked Tutoring on Request (MENTOR) to help analyse students’ tutoring needs.
The app hosts a number of innovative features inclusive of predictive and prescriptive analytics to match student data with tutor’s expertise, ratings, and gender; location-based services to link tutees to proximal tutors; interactive digital sketchpad that allows real-time commentaries on formulas, equations and geometrical shapes; voice calls and instant messaging functions for verbalised conceptual explanations or clarifications; upload of digital texts to view tutors’ edits in real-time; session scheduling for face-to-face tutorials; cross-platform compatibility in mobile technology; and customisation with pre-existing school databases and NTU Learn for student profile authentication.
The study is aimed at describing the learning processes in remote tutoring sessions offered through the app; investigating the efficacy of on-demand tutoring versus scheduled tutoring; and examining students’ perceptions on tutor-tutee matching. While the app supports both in-person and remote tutoring, dyadic interactions in computer-supported campus-based tutoring schemes are reportedly more egalitarian and anonymous.
The software would be developed through needs analysis, and a series of evaluations on the prototype and its corresponding product to ultimately analyse learning gains from MENTOR.
Results of this project are intended to learn about the learning processes and outcomes afforded by the tutoring-centred smartphone app, and to ultimately harness the iGeneration’s aptitude towards e-learning, which is beneficial to improve academic performance.