Peer mentoring, a concept introduced by psychologist Lev Vygotsky in the 1920s, is personalised instruction by a person of similar status to supplement normal teaching.
It is an extension of Vygotsky’s notion of ZPD or “Zone of proximal development” (the space in which a learner may benefit from guidance) and asserts that the learner does not necessarily have to learn from an expert but simply someone who is one step ahead of them.
Enter, Vygo! A peer tutoring mobile platform that connects students with peer mentors who have aced their exact class.
In addition to the obvious increase in grades (in 2018, 95% of Vygo students reported a 20% increase) peer mentoring has many surprising benefits, including but not limited to:
1. The material is fresh in the mentor's memory
Perhaps they completed (and excelled in!) your class as early as last semester. Even if it was five years ago, their memory will be fresher than that of a private tertiary tutor who potentially never attended your class or university—which brings us to:
2. They understand your social context
Every university, every discipline, every faculty, every lecturer, is different. Vygo peer mentors understand your specific context. They know your lecturer, they’ve taken your exam, they’ve handed in your assignment and they’ve mastered it. It doesn’t matter if your degree is objective like math or subjective like the arts, this insider knowledge is invaluable to both.
3. It saves times
Instead of pulling your hair out at 1 am in the morning willing your brain to cooperate, spending as little as 30 minutes with someone who has completed your class recently is a more efficient use of your time. Study smart, not hard.
4. It increases a student’s confidence
Nervous about an upcoming exam or assignment? Sitting with a peer mentor and confirming your understanding of a concept can do wonders for your confidence and, in turn, your grades.
It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming for a pass or high distinction, the value of talking to someone who has aced your class recently is tremendous.