Literature Review of support mechanisms to aid tutors in teaching Level 1 students

Gaved, Mark; Brasher, Andrew and Tessarolo, Felipe (2024). Literature Review of support mechanisms to aid tutors in teaching Level 1 students. PVC-Challenges Response; Quality Enhancement and Innovation, The Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University.


This report investigates scholarship and research that has been carried out to identify digital approaches and pedagogies that support tutors to enable better outcomes for students early in their learning journeys. This is intended to offer university-level insight by identifying and categorising areas of activity and gaps in present tutor support which could be addressed and form the basis of further innovations (e.g., cross-university pilots).
We carried out the following: (a) a review of recent OU teaching best practices and Scholarship activities; and (b) a global horizon scan of published, peer-reviewed English language articles, for the period 2021-2023. We have found 439 OU activities and 216 published papers (total: 655); of which 81 OU activities, and 13 published papers were deemed to be in scope for further thematic analysis. These were categorised by considering eight aspects of a tutor’s role that may be supported, and hence in turn improve their ability to improve their students’ outcomes.

Main findings include:
1.OU teaching and scholarship activities: Most OU activities were found to examine the development of tutors’ pedagogical expertise, one-to-one interactive support skills, and group-support and management. Fewer studies were focused on developing tutors’ subject-matter expertise, professional skills and responsibilities, and IT skills.

2. Global horizon scan of published articles: Reviewed studies collected data through interviews, surveys and focus groups and were mainly focused on the development of tutors’ technological and pedagogical expertise and the importance of engaging tutors in continuing professional development. All selected studies stressed the importance of enabling the sharing of good practice amongst tutors. The majority of studies in this review did not assess the impact of proposed interventions on student outcomes.

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