Maximize Peer Learning by Removing Constraints

Traditional tutoring programs operate under a list of constraints that inhibit their ability to meet the needs of today’s students. These constraints, like set hours of availability, result in latent demand for tutoring.

Removing unnecessary constraints can dramatically increase the efficiency and impact of your tutoring program by increasing the accessibility of your services. 

Removing constraints does not mean losing control. Proper use of technology can actually provide you more control over your day-to-day operations, and spending less time managing logistics allows you to focus on higher impact activities like tutor training. We will refer to this as a “distributed model” of tutoring.

Hours of Availability

When students are only able to access tutoring at certain times, they become discouraged if those times don’t fit into their schedule. Furthermore, if they make it to the tutoring center and they need to wait on a tutor to be available to assist them, they are less likely to return next time they need help.

It is also important to keep in mind availability on weekends, a time when most centers on campus are closed. Does your tutoring program shorten its hours over the weekend? Are students ensured to get the help they need at all times of the week?

With a distributed model, students handle scheduling directly with tutors to ensure maximum flexibility. As such, students have access to tutors whenever they need them.


Traditional tutoring centers lack geographical flexibility. While most centers are in a convenient place for most students, they are not always easy to access for those who live off campus. Parking and/or transportation limitations can discourage these students from receiving tutoring.

With a distributed model, students can work with their tutor to find a location that works for both parties. No excuses!


Are budget restrictions keeping you from offering tutoring in a more courses? What do students do when they can’t find the help they need?

One of the biggest limitations of a traditional tutoring center is course coverage. This is due to the upfront costs of hiring more tutors. As a result, most centers only cover the courses with the highest demand.

With a distributed model, costs are only incurred if tutoring is used. This makes it easy to offer significantly wider course coverage and meet every student’s needs.

Frequency of Sessions

Students meeting with a peer tutor are encouraged to meet regularly. When students are meeting frequently with their tutors, they are guaranteed higher academic success.

With a distributed model, students can more easily access tutoring services. This allows them to meet with their tutor as frequently as they wish.

The Harvard Example

Harvard University has one of the best peer tutoring programs in the world. As such, it comes as no surprise that they make use of a distributed model in order to remove unnecessary constraints. Harvard’s BSC is able to do this while still maintaining control over the important stuff.

What Harvard Controls:

  • Tutor Onboarding
  • Tutor Training & Orientation
  • Session Reporting
  • Payroll

What They Let The Market Control:

  • Frequency of sessions
  • Session Feedback
  • Courses Requested/Covered
  • When Tutoring Takes Place
  • Where Tutoring Takes Place (Faculty-Approved Locations)

By removing unnecessary constraints, Harvard’s tutoring program is able to focus on the high impact activities and operates at the highest level of efficiency possible. As a result, more than 20% of their undergraduate population utilizes tutoring.

Utilizing a distributed model with the aid of technology will increase tutoring activity and result in the collection of valuable data. Stay tuned to learn about the many ways this data can be utilized to drive student outcomes.

Check out how Knack can help you utilize these strategies and more at