How to choose between online tutoring vs in-person tutoring for your school

high school student in an online tutoring session

All schools have been affected by the global pandemic in a variety of ways. So many decisions come up within schools regarding online vs. in-person tutoring and questions about best practices and decisions.

Is your school in the midst of considering your options for online vs in-person tutoring?

One result of the pandemic is that we have leaned on online resources and online education to help support our students through difficult times when our traditional teaching methods and resources were not available.

Schools have come out as shining examples of how online tutoring can be successful, albeit with some challenges. In this article, we are going to highlight some questions that schools might be asking about when faced with these decisions.

  1. Does online tutoring actually work?
  2. What are the safety issues with online tutoring?
  3. How can online tutoring be more equitable for students?
  4. Is online tutoring really cost effective for schools?
  5. What are the benefits of online tutoring?

1. Does online tutoring actually work?

Research can be found that shows that online tutoring does work.  This particular study shows how students’ math skills actually increased for those that participated in the online tutoring program.

When assessing whether online tutoring actually works, one needs to look at how online tutoring is being delivered and the resources that are being used to ensure its effectiveness.

A researcher named Cherie Mazer wrote a paper called Best Practices in Online Tutoring and published her results from studying online tutoring from a US-based tutoring company that focused on maths, English and science.

In this paper she found that:

  • 96% felt that their online tutoring service helped them complete their homework
  • 96% felt that their online tutoring service was helping them improve their grades
  • 97% felt that their online tutoring service was helping them to be more confident about their schoolwork.

The study goes on to show and prove that the best practices in online tutoring go beyond the actual medium and that good tutors employ the same research-based practices used by in-person tutors. 

The study further found that for students who had access to one-on-one online tutors, it provided convenience, efficiency and more anonymity. These factors almost could be huge factors driving adoption of this new form of learning.

2. What are the safety issues with online tutoring?

Safety issues with online tutoring might cross your mind as you navigate the possibilities that could occur. 

Prevention is our number one suggestion. If you can anticipate the potential issues that might happen, you can put systems and protocols in place before they occur.

Screen your tutors

If you are the one hiring tutors make sure that you are screening them properly and ensuring that they pass the same background checks that would be required with in-person tutoring.

If you are using a tutoring service like Skooli, then you can rest assured that your tutors have been properly screened and have passed our rigorous and thorough criminal background checks.

Monitor communication

Make sure you are using a platform that allows you to monitor communication. Some applications like Zoom, Skype and others do not always provide high levels of security.  Schools should thoroughly look into the type of platform that is being considered.

There are always risks associated with online learning. Do the research and understand what the potential risks are so you can mitigate them as much as possible.

3. Use protocols and codes of practice

Schools need to outline the way that online tutoring will be adopted and implemented. It will be important to stick to a code of practice that will ensure students have a regular routine and have an understanding of how the tutoring sessions will be conducted.

Schools should also discuss with tutoring platforms how their code of practice can align with the tutoring platform to ensure success on both ends. Make sure to look at the platform’s policies and discuss their alignment with your own.

3. How can online tutoring be more equitable for students?

It is not a surprise that, even before the pandemic, countries around the world have demonstrated unequal access to education resulting in millions of students being behind grade level.

There exists a need for a cost-effective solution to bridge the gap of inequalities faced by students across the country and many nations around the world.

Online tutoring allows that bridge because it can be accessible to all students. Students who might not be benefiting from group virtual classes during the pandemic would have access to a more individualized approach to their own unique learning needs and abilities.

Schools have a unique position to bridge inequalities that exist for students who learn differently and need a more customized approach to their learning. Online tutoring gives access to all students to have professional online tutors supporting their learning journey.

4. Is online tutoring really cost effective for schools?

Schools should do research into online tutoring platforms as to the costs. Due to the fact that online tutoring platforms hire distance and remote teachers, there are no overhead costs and, therefore, generally, you can expect lower fees from tutors. 

Of course, this is not always the case. Some tutoring platforms can be more costly and it depends on the specialization of the tutor and what the needs of the students are.

Online tutoring prices can range anywhere from $25 USD / hour all the way up to $75 USD / hour and higher depending on the tutor, their qualifications and the child’s needs.

Our suggestion is that you do some price shopping and find the best fit for your school needs and budget. 

5. What are the benefits to online tutoring vs. in-person tutoring?

Online tutoring provides a host of benefits to the schools that adopt this model for their students. 

We believe that the following make online tutoring a great opportunity for schools to investigate as you bring in the best programming and services for your student population.

Flexibility of time and location

Online tutoring can happen at any time and can occur regardless of location. You can find tutors available at all times of the day in various time zones. Some tutoring platforms even have 24/7 availability. This allows scheduling and location to no longer be an issue.

Your school can work within your students’ schedules to find tutors to support their learning. Last-minute exams, sports practices and a heavy homework load might inhibit in-person tutoring sessions but online tutoring allows those things to no longer be an issue.

Access to qualified experts

The beauty of online tutoring is the access you have to qualified experts in fields that you might not have available on your school campus. Depending on your needs, you can find tutors that have expertise in very specific areas of the curriculum or specific content needs that your students might be struggling with.

The access to qualified experts makes online tutoring a game-changer for schools that need some outside support for their students. 

Personalised and individual programming

Online tutoring allows schools and parents to find tutors that can really personalize the learning for the student. Where in-person tutoring might be able to offer some of the same, online tutoring, as stated above, lets you find tutors that can really specialize in what your students are struggling in.

Schools will want to prioritize online tutoring for their students who are in the most need. Students with diverse backgrounds, needs and funds will be able to take advantage of 1:1 online tutoring.

Online tutoring is empowering because it allows learners to really take ownership of their own learning. They can browse tutor profiles and make their own decisions on their needs. This really encourages self-confidence and ownership over their learning!

The ability to shop around for prices

With tutoring platforms like Skooli, you are able to look at the best pricing package for your students’ needs. There are other platforms as well that allow you to search by price and find tutors within your budget.

Social distancing and safety measures

With the uncertainty of the pandemic, many schools are forced to adopt social distancing guidelines for their teachers and students.  This can be difficult to obtain safely with in-person tutoring due to the nature of working in the same location and space.

Online tutoring provides that solution for schools to safely give students access to qualified tutors in a safe way allowing for rigorous learning with safety measures in place.

Is online tutoring the right fit for your school?

Take some time to discuss and determine if online tutoring is right for your school. Finding a tutoring service can be challenging but if you know what your needs are then you can find some great options to meet those needs.

With the ever-changing demands of education and student needs, online tutoring can solve a lot of concerns and issues that might exist at a school level when it comes to providing the best for your students.

Safety, accessibility, pricing and equity might be things you are questioning about. 
Learn more about how our expertise in online tutoring can help the students at your school be the best that they can be.

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