In recent years, online tutoring has really gained traction as an alternative to traditional, in-person tutoring.
However, many adults still doubt whether online tutoring is effective enough to merit trying; as someone who grew up before constant use of technology was the norm for young people, I had my own doubts when I first heard of the concept. However, students and parents are starting to find that online tutoring holds a number of advantages over traditional tutoring: it is convenient, cost-effective, and it appeals to students. Online tutoring also delivers results just as well - if not better than - traditional tutoring. Here are some of the benefits you can gain from hiring an online tutor.
Why an Online Tutor Might Be a Good Solution
Convenience and Flexibility
One of the major selling points for online tutoring is that sessions can be held in your home, at whatever time is convenient for you. Let’s be honest - there are many things that students would rather be doing than studying, and students today often have schedules that are crammed full of sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities, on top social activities. And as much as you, as parents, want to support your kids and ensure that they do well, sometimes it can be difficult to juggle and coordinate all those activities. Arranging in-person tutoring sessions and carving out the time to drive your student to and from them can be challenging, to say the least. With online sessions, you can enjoy much more flexible scheduling, and you don’t have to waste time - or gas money - shuttling your student back and forth. It’s best to avoid giving your child - and yourself - any excuses for skipping a tutoring session. Inclement weather, busy schedules, and even a trip out of state are no longer valid reasons to miss a session when the sessions can be held anywhere that you have a reliable Internet connection.
Online tutoring is also a great option for students with unusual circumstances - in fact, sometimes it is the only reasonable option. If you have a sick child or an illness in the immediate family, or if you travel a lot, or if your child is homeschooled, in-person tutoring on a set schedule might not be convenient or even feasible. That doesn’t mean, though, that you have to take the tutoring upon yourself or leave your children to fend for themselves. Online tutors can easily work with your schedule and situation.
An online tutor will also be available more often to help your student. Of course, the tutor won’t be constantly waiting at your beck and call, but he or she should be able to meet with your student on a more frequent basis. With a traditional tutor, if your student had a few last minute questions or just wanted to spend a quick fifteen minutes reviewing a concept before the big test, you probably wouldn’t even think of arranging a tutoring session. The time spent deciding when and where to meet and then driving there would probably exceed the length of the session. However, with an online tutor, there’s no reason not to have brief meetings, if those are what your student needs.
Desirable for Students
To you and I, being taught by a stranger online might sound like a bad idea - we would probably find it difficult to maintain focus, stay accountable for doing the work, and connect and feel comfortable with this person. However, this is mainly because we didn’t grow up using this type of technology on a daily basis. Students today are not only comfortable with the Internet and remote communication in the form of texting, sending emails, or Skyping - they often prefer it. If your student is shy, he or she might be much more comfortable and able to focus if the tutoring is done virtually. Additionally, many students have shorter attention spans and may have trouble spending a few hours talking to a tutor in person without looking at their phone or having access to a computer. Online tutoring at least delivers the message to them through a medium they are comfortable with.
Another major benefit of online tutoring is that you have your pick of top-quality tutors. Depending on where you live, geography can really be a limiting factor in finding an in-person tutor. You might have to settle for someone who isn’t quite as qualified as you would prefer, or you might have to agree to drive your student 30 minutes or more to meet with an exceptional tutor. You also have to put in some effort to accommodate another person’s schedule. You could argue that the outcome will be worth the trouble, but really, why bother when you can find experienced and successful tutors online and avoid the hassle? You can search for tutors based on their area of expertise and availability, so that you don’t waste time with someone who isn’t really a great fit.
You also have more opportunity to shop around with online tutoring, and compare costs, qualifications, materials used, and more. When you hire an in-person tutor - especially if you found this tutor online or through the recommendation of someone else - you might not know exactly what you’re getting into. Online tutors know that they can’t make a living from word-of-mouth alone, so they have to provide you with information regarding their qualifications and what kind of tutoring package they are offering.
Studies have shown that students benefit more from consistent and frequent tutoring. It takes time to build good study habits and teach complex concepts. With traditional tutoring, because of the scheduling inconveniences that are often created, parents and students may be tempted to try to condense the tutoring into fewer and possibly longer sessions. However, it is more beneficial to move slowly, giving the student time to absorb the material and develop a process for learning the subject and answering the questions. With online tutoring, there is no reason not to do this.
Online tutoring offers a few additional benefits over traditional tutoring. You can save money with an online tutor, because you won’t be paying for gas or the cost of paper materials - in fact, you're reducing waste and energy use. Students, meanwhile, benefit from the fact that, since the session is held online, everything is archived. If they want to go back later to listen to an explanation or see a problem solved again, or if they need to look back at material used in the lesson, it will all be there.
To ensure a good online tutoring experience, your best bet is finding a company that specializes in this field and only hires top tutors and experienced teachers. You might be able to find someone qualified who just works on his or her own, but it’s hard to verify quality and credentials this way. A legitimate tutoring company can guarantee tutors who are experienced and can help your student reach his or her full potential.
Online tutoring shouldn’t be shied away from just because it is new.
Online tutoring creates a better value for you, because it offers you choice, flexibility, and convenience without sacrificing any of the benefits of traditional tutoring. More importantly, an online tutor can work with your student’s schedule to provide consistent support and maximize learning.
This is a guest article by an independent author. This article reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of BusyTeacher.org as a publication.