Jan 17, 2017
Online tutoring provides you and your students with flexibility, but it comes with its drawbacks. Learn whether adding online tutoring to your repertoire makes sense for your business.
Technology has opened up the floodgates for new ways to tutor, from familiar solutions like Skype to online classrooms like Zoom. Most of these solutions fit into one of the following categories:
Additions to your existing services: Using Skype, Facetime, or even Zoom will allow you to take your existing sessions online. It’s up to you whether you utilize just a camera, screen-sharing, or a full virtual whiteboard and discussion forum. In general, each of these solutions can be a great addition to your existing tutoring business as virtual interactions can enrich your face-to-face relationships.
On-Demand tutoring platforms: Services like tutor.com, Chegg Tutors, and Yup match you with students in real-time and provide you with a platform from which to hold sessions. They include a variety of features such as chat, digital whiteboarding, document sharing, and more. The platform owns the relationship, however, meaning you cannot have repeat sessions with students or bring your in-person students to the digital classroom.
By far the best reason to tutor online is the flexibility it provides you and your students. Sessions can occur anywhere that you have internet, allowing you to schedule more sessions with less time and money dedicated to travel.
Beyond flexibility, online tutoring makes it easier for students to adhere to a routine by making learning possible wherever they are, whether that’s on vacation (sorry, kids!) or waiting to be picked up from school. This drastically improves the chances that progress will occur through tutoring and makes cancellations and no-shows less likely.
In the case of on-demand tutoring, online tutoring opens brand new revenue streams that don’t exist offline. This comes with tradeoffs, of course, but can be useful in a pinch.
There are tradeoffs to the flexibility and adherence boost provided by online tutoring. Namely, online tutoring loses the ability to collaborate on work, most of which is still done on paper. This loss of collaboration results in slightly lowered effectiveness versus in-person tutoring.
Online tutoring generally pays less than in-person tutoring, too. Whether it’s on-demand tutoring (expect less than 50% of your in-person rate!) or Skyping with existing students, you’re less likely to be able to charge your full in-person rate for sessions that don’t involve the legwork or face-time of sitting at a table with your student.
Finally, online tutoring is still error-prone. Internet unreliability, technical issues, and un-synced audio are still common in today’s world. Even if the internet remains stable during sessions, online tutoring is more difficult to memorialize in real-time, requiring the awkward saving of online materials at times and video recording at others. Simply put, it’s an imperfect solution, but it’s continuously getting better.
Adding online tutoring to your existing relationships can help cut down on cancellations and improve adherence to the routine you’ve agreed upon with your students. However, it’s not quite ready to become the only way you teach your students. And when it comes to on-demand tutoring, consider using it primarily as a supplement to your in-person session income.
Got the teaching part down but need help managing your business? Clark can help with that. Visit HiClark.com to learn more.