“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” - William Arthur Ward

The private tutoring and academic support market have seen an increase in recent years. Academic support, as the name suggests, is there to support students who are struggling in one or several academic subjects. Private tutors can teach either in person or via webcam. We’ll be looking at the latter today.

In this article, we’ve got tips for online tutorials including how to find the right tutor, the cost, the equipment you’ll need, and how an online private tutorial should go. Here we go!

The Required Material for Online Private Tutorials

You can get a lesson from the comfort of your own home thanks to computers; this is the new way to get private tutorials. Before you start your online private tutorials, you might want to check the condition of your computer and equipment.

What do you need for online tutorials?
You'll need a computer, a good internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. (Source: StockSnap)

The first thing you’ll need is a computer as you can’t find a private tutor without it. Even though you can follow lessons on your smartphone or a tablet, you’ll be far more comfortable at a desk in front of your computer. Whether you’re using a desktop or a laptop or a PC or a Mac, it doesn’t matter as long as your computer is fairly quick and can support videoconferencing.

Make sure you always turn your computer on 15 minutes before the start of your lesson as you don’t want an update or a slow startup to cause you to miss the start of your tutorial.

You should also make sure your internet connection is working and quick enough. A video call uses a decent amount of bandwidth so make sure your internet connection can keep up. To ensure that the connection is smooth and doesn’t buffer, you’ll want at least a 30Mbit/s connection for a high-quality video call.

Tip: use Speedtest to check your internet connection speed.

You’ll also need to make sure that you have a microphone and webcam that work so that the tutor can see and hear you. Whether you’re doing catchup lessons, a foreign language tutorial, or maths, you’ll want to be able to hear your tutor without having to send messages via typing. You want your webcam to be of a high enough quality so that your tutor can read your work when you show him it.

Test your microphone and webcam by calling a friend before your first tutorial. Speak, get them to listen to you, and show them some written work to see if they can read it. This is a great way to check if everything is working fine. Download a videoconferencing programme that both you and your tutor agree on. Generally, Skype is the most commonly used and it allows you to share your screen and send files during calls.

After all, you'll never be able to achieve academic success if you struggle to communicate with your tutor online.

Find out more about online tutorial resources.

What Online Tutorials Are Like

Just because you’ve checked all your equipment before the lesson, it doesn’t mean everything will go well. You’ll need to check the quality of the connection once you start. This should only take around 30 seconds but it’s essential for ensuring that the tutorial will go well and not be full of technical problems.

What are online tutorials like?
Unlike school, the tutor will be ensuring that the tutorials are engaging and tailored to the student. (Source: KokomoCole)

Just like during your first face-to-face tutorial, during your first online tutorial, you’ll need to determine your objectives and what you want to learn.

Your tutor will ask you questions to help you prepare for your next tutorials, your expectations, and your difficulties. You’ll need to tell them about your level, your short-term and long-term objectives, and you’re availability. You might want to book a few classes together so that your tutor can plan.

After that, your lesson will be just like a traditional face-to-face tutorial:

  • Covering the lesson
  • Exercises to check retention
  • Correction and explanations
  • Homework for the next lesson

Of course, the tutor will adapt the lessons to your needs. If you need help with your homework, let them know. Similarly, some lessons can be entirely dedicated to correcting errors, going over a class you missed, or past papers. It’s up to you.

Even if you get supplemental instruction via webcam, you'll find there's a lot of similarities between home tutoring and online tutoring. The only real difference is that the person being tutored isn't in the same room as their tutor.

Find out more about what online tutorials are like.

How Can You Find Online Private Tutors?

To make sure you find the right online tutor, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. Their answers will help you decide the criteria for any potential tutor.

Where can you find online tutorials?
There are many places where you can find online tutorials. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)
  • The subject you need help with: physics, chemistry, biology, maths, Spanish, French, etc.
  • Your level: primary, secondary, GCSE, A Level, degree, etc.
  • Your objectives: exam revision, preparation, learning a new language, improving your grades, etc.
  • Your budget.
  • Your availability: evenings, weekends, during the holidays, etc.

Once you’ve worked out what you’re looking for, you can then start looking at online tutors via classified sites, academic support organisations, or online platforms for finding private tutors.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Classifieds: the rates tend to be better but you’ve no guarantee of the tutor's experience or reputation.
  • Academic support organisations: tutors are often required to have certain qualifications and experience. In some cases, they’ll be students but they’ll also have professional teachers in some cases. The rates tend to be quite high in comparison to the other types we’ve seen. Of course, these tutoring companies don't tend to let anyone become a tutor, so you are guaranteed a higher level of tutor.
  • Tutoring platforms and search engines like Superprof: you can see a tutor’s rating and reviews from former students to get a better idea of their quality. The rates are more competitive than tutoring organisations. The tutors’ profiles are checked and many of them even offer free tutoring for the first hour. While you don't need any formal qualifications when it comes to becoming a tutor on these types of platforms, you do need to assist students properly else you'll never build a reputation.

With hundreds of thousands of tutors on Superprof, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Don’t hesitate to ask around and pay particular attention to the tutors who respond quickly (in less than 24 hours) and are active on the platform.

Whether a student needs help with test prep, test-taking, writing skills, note-taking, study skills or other academic support services, you're bound to be able to find a tutor who can offer tuition in the academic skills they need.

How Much Do Online Tutorials Cost?

The cost of online tutorials will depend on various criteria.

  • The subject
  • The level
  • The tutor’s qualifications
  • The tutor’s experience
  • The platform or service you use to find your private tutor
How much do online tutorials cost?
A good online tutor will help students regain their self-confidence. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

However, online tutorials are generally more affordable than face-to-face tutorials since the tutors don’t have as many outgoings to worry about. With the tutor staying at their own home, they don’t have transport costs to worry about. Similarly, they can schedule more tutorial each week, increasing what they can potentially earn.

You’ll have to consider your budget. It’s difficult to find a tutor who meets all your criteria so you’ll need to find one who meets most of them. Your budget will probably make the final decision for you.

There are plenty of online tutoring services online. In addition to the one-on-one tutoring offered by tutors on Superprof, you can also find the best tutors from all over the world. If a student's academic performance is suffering and there are no local tutors or your need a more affordable way to help, many of the great tutors on the platform are tutoring online, too.

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 as for online tutorials, you already know everything you need to know about them!

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Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.