Is the Synchronous Tutorial Still a Learning Activity in the 21st Century?


  • Iain Lambie Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Bobby Law Glasgow Caledonian University and the Open University in Scotland



Tutorial, Recording, active learner, online tutorial, oxford tutorial


“Is the Synchronous Tutorial still a central learning activity in the 21st Century?” 

The Tutorial or seminar is a key aspect of many academic courses and provides opportunities for the student to ask questions and investigate ideas and theories on the theme of the module being studied. Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic Universities were investing in Digital technologies to support student learning. This has involved using products such as managed learning environments to store learning materials and to record synchronous sessions. Evaluation of learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic is raising a number of questions regarding providing direction to students on a module. While some institutions have invested in technology to record in class sessions the move to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic made recording of synchronous sessions much easier. Scheduled classes are seen as key to establishing study patterns for students and provide focus at set points during the study week. The trend to record everything that is delivered to students may end up changing student study patterns with an implicit movement to asynchronous leaving activities. Why attend when a recording can be viewed? Alternatively, is recording just a natural progression that is supported by modern Educational Technology? This paper will explore the effects the record everything culture is having on learning in Higher Education and will seek to investigate if there is still a role for the synchronous Tutorial in the 21st Century.