Interactive Sciences has long used "peer tutoring" to help people learn and teach about technology.  Peer tutoring is a fast, friendly, and easy way to learn almost anything.

A typical peer tutoring session using the computer has one student teach two others.  The tutor sits near the learners and never touches the keyboard.  Lesson plans help remind the tutor how and when to introduce new concepts and provide an easy streamlined sequence.

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After six to ten hours of instruction (typically one or two hours per week or over a weekend) and some additional practice, the learners are themselves able to serve as tutors.   With this "each one teach two" approach, starting with just one student, you can generate hundreds of tutors within a few months and thousands within a single year.

What are the benefits of peer tutoring?

How has Interactive Sciences used it?

Here are some examples:

"children who have never written a legible sentence in their lives are soon composing letter-perfect paragraphs and experiencing levels of communication they feared would be denied them forever.  That kind of rapid success makes an enormous difference in how people feel about themselves, and about learning."

"Peer tutoring, a concept older than the one-room schoolhouse, is an idea whose time has come again. ISI has updated it with its Computer Tutor method, a system that promotes a chain reaction of learning."

Who else has used peer tutoring?

Peer tutoring is being used to teach in thousands of other situations.   Here are two interesting discussions of peer tutoring, one about a project to teach literacy throughout an entire nation, the other detailing how peer tutoring can be more cost-effective than alternative methods in U.S. schools:


    Children of the Revolution: A Yankee Teacher in the Cuban Schools

        Kozol, Jonathan

        Delacorte Press, 1978.

    Cost-effectiveness of four educational interventions.

        Levin, H., Glass, V., & Meister, G.

        Stanford, CA: Institute for Research on Educational Finance and

        Governance, School of Education, Stanford University, 2-42, 1984.