The Magic of One-on-One Learning

Fulcrum Labs
138 posts

When you’re not performing well or you don’t understand a topic, do you:

A. Dig deeper into your individual study and hope the information “clicks”? 


B. Find someone who can shed more light on the subject to help you along?

If you chose “B”, you win a fabulous new car! (Said in our best game show host voice.)

Scratch that. You don’t win a new car, but you do win when it comes to understanding how to best address your learning challenges. 

One-on-on instruction, whether it is seeking out clarification from your boss, engaging a coach or asking advice from a trusted peer, is one of the most effective ways to learn. And a rising batch of new, personalized learning technologies are making one-on-one instruction available and scalable across hundreds of thousands of learners. 

One-on-one instruction is effective…


There is a lot of research that proves the efficacy of one-on-one instruction. In fact, studies show that one-on-one instruction promotes greater learning and increased motivation. It improves performance by two standard deviations, and also enhances persistence, retention and degree attainment.

…Because it’s adaptable and personalized


It’s clear that one-on-one instruction works, but what makes it so effective? One factor that makes one-on-one instruction so powerful is its adaptability. For instance, an instructor or coach can, in real-time:

  • Assess the mood, performance and learning needs of their learner and adapt their instruction accordingly
  • Adjust the difficulty of the learning based on how well their learner is performing to provide the optimal challenge- asking harder or easier questions depending on the depth of the learner’s knowledge
  • Provide immediate feedback – offering not just the right answers, but rather giving encouragement and hints that allow the learner to come to the right answer on their own
  • Evaluate mastery of the lesson by assessing their learner’s ability to remember, understand, apply, analyze, and evaluate concepts being taught

One-on-one instruction also provides a safe space for learners to struggle and fail without embarrassment. It holds a learner accountable (who wants to see the look on their coach’s face when they admit they didn’t complete the assigned work?) And it even motivates learners to continually strive to upgrade their performance.

Technologies emulating the one-on-one experience


Talk to any teacher or L&D instructor and they’ll tell you that they’d love to be able to offer learners more one-on-one instruction because they know it works. But in today’s schools and corporate training environments alike, there are simply too many learners and too many topics to cover for instructors to be able to deeply engage with students individually. In fact, it’s essentially impossible to provide individualized instruction to learners in mass. (It’s expensive, time consuming and can’t be standardized).

Traditionally, even the majority of eLearning has treated learners with a one-size-fits all approach that often “teaches to the middle”. But new learning technologies that emulate the one-on-one experience are changing this paradigm – offering learning institutions and L&D the opportunity to deliver individualized instruction at scale.

For example, our platform acts like a “virtual coach” wherein each leaner get their own tailored, unique learning experience. Just like a private coach would, our system:

  • Constantly assesses learner performance
  • Makes content and difficulty adjustments based on behavior
  • Provides helpful feedback, hints and encouragement
  • Drives learners to achieve mastery of the learning

Our learning system also leverages AI to adapt to the learning needs of a new learners based on intelligence gained over thousands of previous users. As a result, our platform can serve up more powerful recommendations, knowledge reinforcement and helpful hints for each person., which provides a richer learning experience and better learning outcomes.

Rather than just using one-on-one instruction to coach learners through difficult content, new technologies are enabling one-on-one instruction throughout the learning process – from beginning to end.

For more information about our approach to individualized instruction, please check out our short overview video.