In the country where I live, university students studying mathematics usually attend lectures, consultation with their lecturers (if they have questions relating to material taught) and tutorial/practice classes.

Years ago there was a change in the way tutorials are run. Now students work in groups of 2-4 in front of white boards and the tutor walks around and checks and comments on the solutions written by students (on the white boards). (Previously the students would have asked questions and the tutor would have solved problems on a white board).

The change was implemented on the basis of some research that suggested possibly greater learning benefits for the students. Is anyone familiar or can give a reference to this research article/s?

I'd be interested in how tutorial in mathematics are run in other countries.

The benefit of the above practice class is that student is `forced' to participate. Or at least one student from each group since there are always students who either don't attend or simply stand and contribute very little to the group discussion (even though they are encouraged to take turns and help each other understand this does not necessarily work).

It is also hard to tell how much this helps an average student learn things. Have there been any studies on this?

  • 3
    There is a vast literature on Active Learning. A simple search will turn up a lot. The idea isn't new, actually.
    – Buffy
    Sep 29, 2019 at 0:14
  • Have a look at flipped learning and TBL - team based learning too
    – Poidah
    Sep 29, 2019 at 5:00
  • 4
    Mathematics Educators version of this question
    – JRN
    Sep 29, 2019 at 14:13
  • 1
    I agree with Buffy, there are hundreds of high quality studies supporting this change. In my discipline, it's often discussed in the form of "Studio Physics." Sep 29, 2019 at 23:46
  • 1
    We are discussing now in our place whether to implement this completely absurd method. Students must study, that's it. Period.
    – John B
    Oct 28, 2019 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


In a german university where I go to, (also studying math) we have two tutorials. In one we have an exercise sheet that we work through during the course of a bit less than 2 hours and the solutions get presented at the end by the lecturer.We also have tutorials where we go to to recieve our homework and a lecturer, you or your classmates present the solutions.


We used to have a similar tutorial setup wherein the class, divided into groups of 3-4, were given a common problem set to solve. These usually happened for classes in probability or statistics. The professor would take doubts at any time and the whole atmosphere was a healthy-competitive blend between the groups.

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