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The challenges, changes and opportunities offered by vicarious tutoring

Friday 5 July: Conference day three, 11:00am – 11:30am parallel session



Room 3 – 303-G15 Sem  



Professor Susan Geertshuis
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand

Odette Murdoch
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand

Ngaire Rix
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand

Dr Qian Liu
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand

Mark McConnell
University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand



The paper addresses an important aspect of this year’s conference theme. The paper reflects the need to discover ways of doing more with less, of offering safe, scaffolded and socially bedded learning to students who are enrolled in large classes.

Tutoring in small groups stimulates learning, providing opportunities to engage with ideas, discover new perspectives and learn from role models who demonstrate academic skills. However, small-group tutoring requires resources beyond the means of higher education institutions.  In this paper we explore the potential of vicarious tutorial based learning. Vicarious learning is a form of observational learning whereby individuals learn through watching others learn.


The initiative

The initiative began with a literature review and progressed to test the use of video technologies as a means of offering vicarious tutoring. The project is taking place in a Business School where first-year classes exceed 1000 students and where 1/3 of students indicate that English is a second or additional language.



Using an educational design-based approach we conducted an initial review of the literature to develop a suite of design principles and guide the development of two prototype vicarious tutorials.


Evidence of effectiveness

The results of the literature review were positive and convincing; however, many studies were laboratory based or heavily resourced rather than being executed by educators within live classes.

The two prototype video-based tutorials for vicarious learning have been built using technologies available to most educators. One attempt was unsuccessful but provided a great deal of practical learning for the researchers. The other was successful and was developed, demonstrated, critiqued and tested in a controlled environment. We will demonstrate a vicarious tutorial, discuss the theoretical and practice-based wisdom developed by the authors as they have sought to learn, design and build their learning objects and conceptions.


Presentation topic

Students – Learning

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