“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” - Anthony J. D'Angelo
The private tutoring market continues to grow but it’s difficult to find information on what percentage of students are taking online tutorials via webcam. However, with technology advancing and the market growing, it’d be safe to say that more students are probably opting for online tutorials as well as face-to-face ones.
It might be difficult to find face-to-face tutorials if you live away from a large city. In this case, online tutorials via webcam are a great way to avoid paying for the tutor to travel to you since they’re often cheaper than face-to-face tutorials.
But are the same as face-to-face tutorials? What are online tutoring services like?
Checking Your Equipment Before an Online Tutorial
The first thing you need to do before getting online tutorials is checking that everything works fine.
Your tutor won’t be next to you but you will need to ensure that they can see and hear you. Poor communication can ruin a good lesson. Similarly, you’ll waste time and the lesson will be less effective.
Here are our three tips for ensuring you’re ready on the day of your first lesson.
- Check the quality of your webcam and consider getting a new one if the quality is really low. You can also use a camera plugged into your computer as a webcam if necessary. Make sure that you’re in a well-lit room and avoid glare.
- Check your microphone: call a friend or family member over Skype and ensure the sound quality if good. It’s important that the teacher can you as clearly as you can hear them. If your microphone isn’t very good, you can get decent microphones for under £20. If you can’t hear very well, you might want to use headphones.
- Check your internet connection: if the call regularly drops or the video freezing, your internet connection may not be quick enough. You can use resources like Speedtest to check.
If you’ve got everything working fine, you can then start looking for an online private tutor. Make sure you turn your computer on at least 15 minutes before the lesson in case it has any updates to install or you need to check your equipment again. The right equipment will make your online tutorials better.
Before your first online tutorial, ask the tutor which video conferencing software they prefer. Download and test it before your first lesson. More often than not, tutors will opt for Skype or Google Talk. In some cases, private tutoring companies will use their platform and software.
Make sure you check the quality of the call before you start any online tutorials. Find a quiet place where you won’t get interrupted or distracted.
Now you’re ready to start your online private tutorials.
Defining the Objectives of Your Online Private Tutorials
During your first online tutorial, your tutor will probably want to know about your level in the given subject, your learning objectives, and establish a methodology that will work well with your learning style and goals.
Your first session will be used to establish the best course of action and is a great opportunity for the tutor and student to get to know one another a bit. You’re more likely to just chat with each other rather than do an actual lesson.
Your tutor will probably ask you questions like:
- What is your level?
- What is your goal? Catch up, preparing for an exam, learning a new language, preparing for a job interview, etc.
- Do you need help in the long-term or short-term?
- When are you available?
Of course, there’ll also be questions specific to the subject you want to study. This first meeting isn’t just about getting to know one another. It’s also about working out how your tutor can teach you, how much time they’ll need, and what they’ll need to teach you. Of course, this isn’t all set in stone and can change over time.
Discover how much online tutorials cost.
The Structure of an Online Tutorial
Your lesson will be just like traditional one-on-one tutoring in many regards. Of course, unlike home tutoring, your supplemental instruction will be provided using a webcam.
Going Over the Lesson
In any academic support tutorial or private tutorial, you’ll need to first go over what you’ve previously learnt to ensure that the knowledge has been consolidated. They’ll check that you’ve remembered the stuff from the last lesson or what you’ve been studying in school, for example.
You’ll need to either send your tutor notes or materials from your classes via email, Dropbox, or Google Drive or via the video conferencing software you use. They’ll use this information to plan future tutorials and exercises.
They’ll also be interested in your notes as they’ll be able to help you improve your note-taking. Poor note-taking can hinder your learning in a giving subject. If you can’t follow your notes or the lesson, it’ll be harder for you to learn.
Your tutor is there to help you with all this.
After you’ve gone over previous lessons, the tutor will take you through some exercises to check your understanding of certain concepts. These can be speaking or writing exercises. At this stage, you might need a few tools to help you:
- Screen sharing: this allows you to show the other person what’s on your screen and it’s effective for correcting errors.
- Google Docs can be used to send documents to one another and also work on the same document simultaneously.
- GeoGebra is a useful tool for maths including geometry, algebra, statistics, and calculus.
Each Lesson is Unique
Not each lesson will be the same and follow this revision, exercises, correction structure. The tutor can change and adapt the lessons according to your needs. Don’t hesitate to tell them how you feel about certain activities and what you need to study.
The lessons can change according to how you progress and your strengths and weaknesses. Trust that your tutor can guide you towards success. Don’t hesitate to ask for regular feedback and assessment every month if your tutor isn’t already offering this. This will help you see how you’re progressing towards your goals.
Learn how to find online tutorials.
How Are Online Tutorials Different to Face-to-Face Tutorials
As you’ll have noticed, you have to prepare differently for online tutorials (scanning and sending documents, screen sharing, checking your connection, etc...). But other than that, there isn’t that much difference.
The academic support tutor is there to help the student to learn. Over webcam, you can still ask the same questions that you’d ask a tutor who’s there in the room with you.
They can also show you different resources and make use of technology to make the lessons more entertaining and engaging. They'll help you rediscover a passion for learning. You’ll learn more effectively through the learning approaches they can teach you. They can do this either via webcam or face-to-face.
The tutor’s there to give you confidence in your abilities and support you through the learning experience. They may need to motivate you and ensure you don’t get distracted by everything you can find on the internet. Whether you need help with test prep, study skills, test-taking, or a particular subject, you can find many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof, many of whom offer free tutoring for the first hour.
While it's true that anyone can become a tutor (as there are no formal prerequisites), the best tutors tailor their lessons to those being tutored, whether they're tutoring them online, in person, or as part of a study group.
No matter what you want to learn, there are three main types of tutorial available: the online tutorials we were discussing in this article, face-to-face tutorials, and group tutorials. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and it'll be up to you to choose which works for you, your learning objectives, and your budget.
Group tutorials tend to be the cheapest per person per hour since the cost of the tutor's time is divided between all the students attending. However, this means that you won't have the tutor's undivided attention during the whole class.
Face-to-face tutorials are just between you and your tutor. The courses are tailored to you and as a result, you'll pay a premium for all the time inside and outside of the class the tutors puts into planning and teaching the course. These tend to be the most cost-effective type of tutorials even if they're also usually the most costly.
And you already know what you need to know about online private tutorials!