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Can Online Tutoring Be an Effective Learning Resource?

By Joseph, published on 20/06/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Students > What About Online Tutoring?

Online tutoring is helping students with their studies.

It’s a great way to improve their grades at any time during the year:

  • Before an exam
  • During the school holidays
  • At the end of the year
  • For brushing up on everything they learnt during class

As a result, there are plenty of sites popping up offering materials and resources for all levels.

Primary school, secondary school, and university students all have plenty of free and paid-for resources at their fingertips. However, there are a few questions we need to ask ourselves about them:

  • Can we trust online academic support resources?
  • Should we trust them?

In this article, Superprof’s is getting to the bottom of it.

The Advantages of Online Academic Support

There are plenty of good reasons for taking online classes.

Can kids study online? There are plenty of great reasons for kids to learn online. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Here are 6 of the best ones.

1. A Decent Price

Generally, an online tutor costs about £20 per hour. This price varies in terms of the tutor’s experience, the level being taught, the subjects, etc.

You’ll find plenty of different types of academic coaching, learning resources, and revision help. In any case, the online option is usually cheaper than the one on one tutoring services.

2. Lessons and Exercises that Are Accessible at any Time

You can read over lessons, watch videos, listen to podcasts, or submit an assignment as long as you have an internet connection. At home, you can use your computer or your tablet. When you’re out and about, you can use your smartphone.

This is a great way to make the most of the time spent travelling or when you’re on holiday before school starts back up in September, for example.

3. Perfect for Revision after Class

Sometimes it’s just not coming together and other times you’re on a roll.

Don’t worry: your online lessons will still be there tomorrow if you’re not feeling it. While you can lose your notes, it’s much harder to lose a web address (especially if you save it to your favourites).

In just a few clicks, you can find a maths class, study physics or chemistry, do a few online grammar and spelling exercises, or whatever you fancy.

If you’re struggling with calculus, algebra, geometry, or statistics, you can find plenty of resources online.

There are so many free online tutoring resources.

4. Motivate Yourself to Learn

The great thing about these types of lessons is that they tend to focus on having fun while you learn.

Take video games, for example. You can enjoy fun activities with rewards and medals for doing well that encourage you to learn even more.

You’ll soon start enjoying those maths or French classes!

5. Specialists at the Ends of Your Fingertips

You might struggle to concentrate at the end of the day. This is normal. However, it does mean that you can’t remember a single thing from your German class.

No problem! On the internet, you can ask experienced tutors to help you find academic success. You can do this on forums or via webcam (if you pay a private tutor). It all depends on what you need and what your budget is.

6. Useful and Effective Homework Help

If your grades aren’t great, you can easily find lessons to fill in the gaps. Similarly, if you’re struggling to understand a certain concept, online resources like videos and exercises can help you to see things in a different way.

In any case, you get to focus on the specific topic that’s causing you trouble.

The Limitations of Online Academic Support

There are pros and cons to everything.

We’ve already mentioned the advantages. Now let’s look at some of the disadvantages of online academic support

Artificial Intelligence vs. Human Intelligence

It’s a fact that you’d be able to learn much more with a dedicated teacher.
A child who struggles to work on their own won’t get a lot out of studying or doing their homework online.

Thus, a computer won’t be able to help them that much.

If a student isn’t motivated or can’t concentrate, there’s no online quiz that can help.

The Dangers of the Internet

Very young children run the risk of finding content that’s not suitable for them.

Parents with children in primary school should probably keep an eye on their kids when using the internet even if you do have parental controls.

What are the dangers of studying online? Of course, there are sites on the internet that children shouldn’t visit. (Source: Matwor29)

When it comes to secondary school students, they can be granted more autonomy when using the internet.

You should check that they’re actually using the internet for their work.

It’s very easy on sites like YouTube to get distracted by the other content available. Don’t forget to remain critical of the information you find on the internet, especially what you read on forums.

Too Much Choice

Lots of sites have absolutely tonnes of resources. This is so that anyone can find the English, French, history, geography, or maths resources they’re looking for.

Of course, you should ask yourself whether your child should be studying physics or chemistry if they’re doing just fine in school.

With so much choice, some students struggle to separate the wheat from the chaff and inevitably get demotivated. Encourage them to work little and often and give their study some structure.

What About Free Sites?

The web is the future of free content. That’s also true for content on the national curriculum. There are plenty of free sites that can help students study for their SATs, GCSEs, or A Levels.

It’s also a great way for students to regularly study for their exams. Of course, these resources are rarely good enough to fully replace their classes. Without assistance, even the best students run the risk of their grades going down if they’re only using free online resources.

Online Academic Support Tools and Resources

If you’ve started tutoring yourself, you’re probably wondering which of these resources you could use to help your students in their studies.

What are the best online learning tools? Just like with everything else, you need to use the right tools. (Source: picjumbo_com)

The internet could help you refine your teaching methods.

Here are the top 3 types of tools to use for academic support.

#1: Sharing

Every tutor needs somewhere they can share important documents and files with their students.

Here are 3 platforms you can use:

You can share and transfer all types of file formats and on some platforms, you can even modify them live.

#2: Videoconferencing

Imagine being able to still teach your students from the other side of the world.

You can do so thanks to video conferencing and video chat. Skype is one of the most popular programmes for this.

If you want to teach a whole auditorium, we recommend using BigBlueButton.

#3: Multiple-Choice Tests

To test your students, multiple-choice tests are a great way to complement your lessons.

They’re easy to set up and easy to correct. You can use them to check what your students have learnt and what they need to study.

While you can use Excel, you can also use:

  • Google Forms
  • LimeSurvey
  • KwikSurvey

Other Programmes to Use

Depending on your IT skills, there are a few other programmes that you can use to improve your webcam tutorials or private tutorials. Some of the most important include:

  • Digital notepads
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • Digital whiteboards
  • Audio and video equipment for podcasts or videos
  • Digital Textbooks

MOOCs: The New Way to Learn

Although MOOCs were created in 2002, it wouldn’t be until 2008 that they’d start resembling the platforms we know today.

These courses (MOOC is short for Massive Open Online Course) are free, accessible to everyone, and mainly aimed at university-level students. You just have to sign up.

Thanks to video conferencing, whether you’re an English tutor, chemistry tutor, or a writing tutor, you can broadcast your lessons to internet users. These users can ask them questions on forums and chats, too.

Which are the best online courses? Are prerecorded lessons the classes of the future? (Source: 350543)

While most of the courses are at a university level, there are MOOCs popping up for secondary and primary school pupils.

In fact, Khan Academy, one of the most popular MOOCs, offers video courses on maths and science to primary school and secondary school kids.

Not forgetting:

  • Udemy
  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • EdX

Some students learn better by watching videos.

MOOCs can be a formidable academic support tool for those studying at university or doing their A Levels.

You’ve probably gathered that we’re big fans of online academic support. However, it can never fully replace an actual teacher. Don’t forget that it exists and is a great way to get supplemental instruction in a number of subjects. While most of the courses are at an undergraduate level, there are more and more courses to help with secondary school studies.

For students struggling, it’s probably a better idea for their parents to work with them and even consider hiring a qualified private tutor to help them succeed at school. Even if they’re not struggling, private tutoring can help a learner with exam preparation, doing their homework, or writing an essay.

If you’re looking for writing tutors, physics tutors, or whatever, you can find the best tutors on dedicated sites and platforms like Superprof. To find a tutor, you just need to search either the subject (biology, economics, accounting, psychology, etc.) or a topic (study skills, test prep, etc.) and say whether you want online tutoring services via webcam or one to one tutoring.


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