Many students and instructors alike are familiar with the benefits of one-on-one learning: high quality interactions with instructors, elimination of distractions, low stress environment, etc. Though one-on-one learning has its strengths, evidence suggests that small group classes can have other advantages that cannot be offered by one-on-one learning. Small group settings allow students to participate in a more relaxed environment than in a one-on-one setting and also create more opportunities for feedback compared to a larger group class. Additionally, students can also build on their team working skills in this intimate and constructive learning environment.
Small group classes allow students to experience an aspect of learning that educators and academics call synergy. Synergy is defined as, “Any interaction or cooperation which is mutually reinforcing; a dynamic, productive, or profitable affinity, association, or link” (Oxford English Dictionary). With synergy, the idea is that a group can come together, learn together, and achieve an outcome as a group that would not have been possible on an individual level. Through this shared decision making and discussion, a wider range of resources and ideas can be available to the respective group members of a class.
In fact, according to a University of Minnesota publication, Communication in the Real World, “Participating in groups can also increase our exposure to diversity and broaden our perspectives”. By working in small groups and learning in these types of learning environments, students can gain access to a wide variety of perspectives; therefore enhancing their learning experience. With these ideas in mind, Sivana decided to include this type of learning as a part of our platform. We believe that by being inclusive in our classrooms and allowing for these small group interactions, our goal of life-long learning can be better realized.
After first launching the site in March of 2020, Sivana has updated its platform to be inclusive to small group classes. While still hoping to maintain the feeling of community throughout the side, we recognize that group classes will give some instructors the ability to reach a wider audience with more class time flexibility. With the smaller class sizes that our platform permits, one-on-one interactions are still possible and encouraged! In the coming months we are looking to expand classes to include more health and wellness, such as yoga and group mentoring; as well as music mentorship programs, after school enrichment programs, and more. With the launch of our homework helpers page, after school enrichment group classes will be added to add even more opportunities to our students and volunteers who join our community.
Sivana decided to take this step to help grow our community and provide opportunities for more collaboration between users. A group class setting can allow a small group to all meet at the same time; thereby allowing for more conversation to happen regarding a particular subject. Smaller classes allow for personal attention to be paid to each student while also allowing users to ease into the virtual learning environment before taking one-on-one classes which can sometimes be intimidating at first.