Online tutoring has become increasingly popular in recent years, mainly as a result of necessity due to COVID-19. Whatever the reason, more and more students and parents are now turning to online tutoring as their preferred mode of receiving educational support. But is online tutoring actually effective? Let's take a closer look at the evidence and discuss the potential advantages and disadvantages of online tutoring.
One of the biggest advantages of online tutoring is convenience. With online tutoring, students can receive personalised help from a tutor at any time and from any location, as long as they have access to a computer and a stable internet connection. This flexibility allows students to fit tutoring sessions into their busy schedules and to learn at their own pace.
Another advantage of online tutoring is the ability to connect with a wide range of tutors. In a traditional in-person tutoring setting, students are typically limited to tutors who are available in their local area. But with online tutoring, students can choose from a global pool of tutors, allowing them to find the perfect match for their individual learning needs and preferences. This is what we see day-to-day on Learnmate, with students living on one Australian coastline regularly being supported by online maths tutors or online English tutors (for instance) living on another coast!
Online tutoring can also be more cost-effective than in-person tutoring. Because online tutors don't have to travel to meet with students, they can often offer their services at a lower rate. This can make tutoring more affordable for students and their families.
But what about the effectiveness of online tutoring? Some studies have found that online tutoring can be just as effective as in-person tutoring, particularly when it comes to subjects like math and science. In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, researchers compared the academic performance of students who received online tutoring with that of students who received in-person tutoring. They found that both groups of students made similar gains in their academic performance, suggesting that online tutoring can be just as effective as in-person tutoring.
Of course, online tutoring isn't without its drawbacks. One potential disadvantage is the lack of in-person interaction. In an in-person tutoring setting, students can ask questions and receive immediate feedback from their tutor. This can be more difficult in an online setting, where there may be delays in communication or misunderstandings due to the lack of nonverbal cues. Some students may also have a particular need for an in-person setting, such as if they have difficulty concentrating when not in a formal learning environment.
Another potential disadvantage of online tutoring is the potential for technical issues. While most online tutoring platforms (including Learnmate's online classroom) are very reliable, there's always the possibility of internet outages or other technical problems that can disrupt a tutoring session. This may include particular users having issues granting the necessary permissions on their computers to make full use of the online platform. This can be frustrating for both the student and the tutor, and it can make it difficult for the student to get the support they need.
Overall, the effectiveness of online tutoring depends on a number of factors, including the student's learning style, the subject matter being covered, and the quality of the online tutoring platform. While online tutoring may not be the right fit for everyone, at Learnmate we're seeing it present an affordable, convenient and effective way for the majority of students to receive the support they need to succeed in their academic pursuits and to achieve their learning goals.