Improving Academic Performance

Five Reasons to Try Online Tutoring

Posted by Mark Skoskiewicz on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 @ 04:35 AM

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Over the past year, we’ve begun offering online tutoring, in addition to our core in-person tutoring.  We’ve noticed something interesting – online tutoring seems much less popular among students than it should be (in our opinion).

Every once in a while, someone requests an in-person tutor but we don’t have one available, and we thus suggest they try online tutoring.  However, in almost all cases, even when we offer free online tutoring for one hour to encourage them to give it a try, they decline to do so and search for a tutor from a different company that they’ll have to pay full price for.

However, in the few cases where a student requests an online tutor directly, or in the extremely rare case where a student agrees to try online tutoring when they had originally requested an in-person tutor, the actual tutoring experience seems to go very well.  In fact, our online math and physics tutor, Sam, has now done over 15 hours of online tutoring with one particular Calculus 3 student who had originally requested an in-person tutor – but this is rare.

This suggests to us that, even with all of the incredible technology available today, which makes online tutoring a very real, viable competitor to the in-person tutoring experience, most students aren’t willing to try it out.  However, there are five clear reasons why you should try online tutoring:

#1 Online Tutoring Platforms Are More Effective, and Cheaper, Than Ever

The most important reason to try online tutoring is that technology has reached a point where the experience tends to go very well.  With lightning fast internet speeds widely available, you can see or hear your tutor through internet video or audio chat, see a virtual whiteboard, upload PDF homework files, and share screens easily.  At MyGuru, we also equip our tutors with electronic pen/tablets, so they can effectively write on the screen, just like they are writing on paper.  We even equip some of our students with such tablets.  So, both parties can “mark-up” materials they are viewing on the screen (via the annotate feature).

At MyGuru, we use WebEx for online math, physics, statistics, and test prep tutoring, but many other programs, such as GlobalMeet, GoToMeeting, and JoinMe, are available.  Of course, you can also use Skype or Google Hangouts.  We created a video to highlight the online tutoring experience at MyGuru here.

At the end of the day, many of the online tutoring platforms, and in particular, the ones that require you to pay a reasonable monthly free, come pretty close to approximating an in-person tutoring experience.

#2 Online Tutoring is Incredibly Convenient

Consider a situation where you are meeting a tutor just five minutes from your house.  You still have the 5 minute commute there and back.  Plus, you can’t just show up exactly on time, in case you hit traffic or are otherwise delayed on the way.  So, on average, you need to be there 5-10 minutes early.  With online tutoring, you avoid all that.  Each one hour session probably saves you 15-20 minutes in “travel” time.  In addition, when you begin working with a new tutor, you avoid that awkward initial introduction, or the need to let a stranger into your home for the first time.  You can get tutored in your pajamas, if you prefer.

#3 You Get Access to the Best Available Tutor

At MyGuru, I have a particular GMAT tutor who I wish every new potential GMAT student lived closed to, because he’s the best GMAT tutor in Chicago that we have available.   I’d like to match everyone with him.  Now, if everyone was willing to try online GMAT tutoring, that would be a reality.  As it stands, unless you’re comfortable traveling to Lincoln Square for GMAT tutoring, it’s difficult for us to match you with John (the aforementioned expert GMAT tutor).

#4 Sessions are Recordable, and Can Be Reviewed Later

One of the little known benefits of online tutoring is that many online tutoring platforms (or, at least many of the ones that you pay for) allow you to record each and every session.  As a student, this means you can go back and review the session on your own.  This is a particularly powerful studying strategy, and reduces the need to vigorously take notes during a session.  Instead, you can simply focus on listening to your tutor, and go back to review the session via video if you need to.

#5 Online Tutoring is More Cost Effective

Finally, at the end of the day, I admit that in-person tutoring is slightly better than online tutoring.  You can see your tutor’s face in person, read body language, etc.  With in-person tutoring, a glitch in your internet service doesn’t result in a lost audio or video feed, and interrupt the tutoring session.  But, that’s why, at least at MyGuru, we price online tutoring at a 10-15% discount to in-person tutoring, saving you money.

On balance, we are surprised that more students don’t ask or at least consider online tutoring.  What are your thoughts regarding online tutoring? Visit our online tutoring page for more information and to request an online tutor!