There was a time not too long ago that a tutor was required to be sitting next to a student in order to do his job. I would know – I’ve been earning a living as a private tutor for the past 10 years. When I work a 50-hour-per-week schedule, 25 hours are spent tutoring, the other 25 are spent driving. Together with the fact that you have no income 30% of the year (whenever school is not in session or is just starting up again after the summer and major holidays), it’s impossible to do any better financially as a private tutor than just getting your bills paid.
Then one fine day, the internet was born, and along with it came the virtual tutor. Anyone anywhere in the world can now tutor anyone else anywhere in the world as if the two were sitting side by side – simply amazing. With increasing access to the internet, along with high-speed broadband connections, online tutoring has become the low-cost, most convenient method of learning anything, be it academic or non-academic. In addition, there is a world of educational activity taking place through online tutorials, videos, and voice recordings.
The Y2K generation, raised on all things electronic, is no stranger to online learning. Online tutoring has opened up a whole new world for all citizens of planet Earth – anyone capable of turning on a computer and sliding a mouse can enjoy it’s benefits. Here are seven reasons why online tutoring is so powerful:
1) Adaptability – online tutoring is a natural product of our electronic age, all part of the internet revolution symbolized by words like iPhone, iPad, iPod (not to mention iCarly), Android, browser, search engine, operating system, and other technical jargon. Online tutorials update and adapt themselves to advances in technology and current research almost instantaneously, in ways that printed media cannot. Graphics and intelligent use of animation help to further refine the activity.
2) Accessibility – online tutoring sites are accessible all the time. Whenever students are ready to work, all they have to do is log in and start studying – anytime, anywhere.
3) Comfort – which one of these do you prefer, a quiet den on a soft couch or a cold, noisy classroom far from home? I know it’s a tough choice.
4) Better Results – many people learn more efficiently and effectively with online tutorials than they do sitting in a classroom. One reason for this has to do with the ability of the online tutor to repeat the concept or skill again and again until understanding has been achieved. Online tutorials also point you to a vast number of reference and support sites, allowing you to pinpoint the type of help you need very quickly.
5) Perfect Pace – online tutoring provides a learning rate that matches exactly the skills and capabilities of the student, unlike classrooms, where a student is subjected to the momentum of a teacher and a class full of other students, each with unique needs and abilities.
6) Cost – online tutoring costs significantly less than conventional teaching activities. The analogy is parallel to the difference between a brick-and-mortar business and its online counterpart. No buildings, utilities, maintenance, parking lots, etc. mean vast savings for consumers, not to mention the environment. Personal tutors are therefore much more expensive than online tutors.
7) Vast Resources – whereas an individual teacher is limited by the teacher’s knowledge and experiences, online tutorials tap into the knowledge available on the internet – virtually unlimited and growing all the time.
For the reasons mentioned above, online tutoring will continue to play an increasingly important role in the field of education, especially with college students and adults taking college classes. With the advent of avatar teachers and 3D holographic instructors that will appear within your home, there is no way to predict just how advanced this area of education will become.
Although COVID-19 has popularized online learning, one-on-one virtual tutoring has been around for years. For students, online platforms allow distance learning and flexibility in their schedule, eliminating any need to commute.
At the same time, there’s more to virtual learning than convenience and practicality. The rapport, accelerated learning and ease of use of one-on-one virtual tutoring can promote familiarity and stress release. As a camp or class program manager, parents trust and rely on you to build a bond with their students, trusting you to advance their child’s educational enrichment outside of the traditional classroom. Plus, offering personalized tutoring during this time is a great way to bring in revenue while in-person programs are canceled.
Here are a few tips to smooth the transition for all types of students:
Ease the Student Into Learning
Pre-evaluation – What are the student’s capabilities? A pre-evaluation is crucial since you don’t want to overestimate their abilities, which can result in lower confidence. That said, you also want to continue to challenge the student, so a pre-evaluation is essential. One tip would be to ask your students some basic questions on the core of a topic. For example, if you’re working on an art project, ask your student a question about the differences in primary colors versus secondary colors.
Guided Inquiry – Using prompts and leading questions, encourage a student to form steps and processes in their head to improve their learning. If a student asks you a specific question, have them recall the steps they would take to get to a certain point, such as where they got stuck. This will help you understand their thought process before attempting to challenge them a little further.
Coordinate Your Tutoring Sessions
1. Compliance – Make sure your virtual sessions are complying with consistent guidelines and standards.
Have the lesson planned out beforehand.
Have everybody on board, with expectations set—time, platform, and syllabus.
Expect some technical difficulties in the first session.
Have a PDF troubleshooting handout ready. Advise a student to keep the reference open in a computer tab, prepared to read in case of technical difficulties.
Make sure all students in your program know how to access and find supporting resources to utilize their online tutoring.
2. Engagement – Keep your students motivated and inspired.
Have a game plan in place that fosters active engagement and learning, along with collaboration and building rapport.
Encourage open-ended questions. Ongoing dialogue provides an opportunity to talk about learning resources and activities.
Vary different resources such as video and audio capabilities, live feedback on document work or whiteboard capability to replicate face-to-face communication.
3. Technology – Know, demonstrate and explain platform basics.
Troubleshooting communication: describe and demonstrate active listening, paraphrasing and establishing rapport
The platform features: know, show and explain the use of system or platform properties (e.g., whiteboard, chat, screen sharing, or writing/drawing).
Marketing Your Virtual Tutoring
Taking the right approach in marketing your virtual tutoring services is critical. Consider utilizing the ACTIVEWorks Camp & Class Manager’s Virtual Programs Toolkit that includes email tools, landing pages, merchandise and supplies, donations and Virtual Classroom Support.
Offering people the ability to donate to your program while registering can help during COVID-19.
Some other things to consider are:
Offering a Free Trial Class – In many cases, younger children want to try something, but they don’t know where to begin. An example would be a music conservatory offering a free class, an ideal situation as younger children don’t always know the differences between instruments.
Packaging Discount – Make it an attractive offer, perhaps something such as four 30-minute private lessons for only $99.
Offering a Time-Sensitive Tuition Discount – An example would be a 25% off tuition if they register before a specific date.
Tapping Into the Local Schools – Make sure your marketing includes the age group you are targeting. Families want to know what is available for children of different ages.
Targeting New Movers – New families moving into your area are a great source of potential new students.
Optimizing Your Google Listing – It’s easy to make sure your Google listing is up-to-date. Google My Business is an outstanding resource to be current.
Getting to Know Your Competition – Become friendly with other virtual teachers and exchange tips.
Ready to get set up? Learn how to create virtual programs in ACTIVEWorks Camp & Class Manager, a robust, powerful tool with a variety of business management capabilities to drive success for any program offered—whether it’s in-person, online, or both.