Tutoring online and tutoring services in general, have exploded as an industry and are one of the fastest-growing franchise niches worldwide. In Canada, over 25% or 1 in 4 students receive tutoring as supplemental instruction to their formal education, at some point in their academic career.

Online tutorials are a growing factor in the tutoring world as they provide incredibly flexible times, many subjects, and levels of expertise, all ready to be consumed from the comfort of your home.

Online tutoring is convenient, cheaper than home tutoring, and easily accessible no matter where you live.

If you live in a rural area outside of one of the bigger Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa, tutoring online can cut down on a great deal of expense because it is at least 30% cheaper than one-on-one tutoring. As well, you don’t have to travel to the tutor, nor do they have to go to you. There are number of online tutoring services across Canada.

Getting Smart an online thinktank dedicated to the advancement of education has reviewed the online tutoring services industry and found that there are five types of students who are most likely to avail themselves of academic support.

  1. The struggling high school math student
  2. The ESL student
  3. The “Last Minute, I Need Help” student
  4. The Homeschool student
  5. The Adult College Student

Let’s look at what you need to start an online tutoring program.

Check Your Equipment Before You Start Your Online Lesson

Mainstream education has gone viral. Online tutoring is a virtual whiteboard for achieving student success.
Mainstream education has gone viral. Online tutoring is a virtual whiteboard for achieving student success. Source: Free-Photos

Before you start your online tutoring program, make sure that your equipment: your computer and internet connection are working well. Communication is critical between a tutor and tutee, and without crystal clear understanding, you will not get the maximum value out of the session.

Here are three elements to ensure your equipment is top-notch before you start:

  1. Check the quality of the camera on your computer or webcam. Most recently purchased computers and laptops have HD quality cameras, but if you find yours is not very good, you have two options:
    • Purchase a separate web camera.
    • Plug in a camera to your computer and use it. Make sure that the room is well lit (natural light works best) and that there isn’t much glare.
  1. Check that the audio component of the computer is functional. Ensure the microphone is working well by calling a family member on Skype and seeing how it works live. If it’s not very good, you can purchase a microphone for under $20 on Amazon.
  2. Make sure your internet connection is running at maximum speed. You don’t want the call to drop audio or video while you are talking, as that will significantly reduce the quality of your lesson. You can use this website on Speedtest to check if you are getting the internet speed you are paying for.
  3. Before you start any lesson, make sure to power-up your computer at least 15 minutes in advance, so it is ready to work, and any updates have been downloaded and completed.

Now you can start your search for a math tutor, English tutor, language tutor, social studies tutor, or whatever your most pressing need happens to be. Before you start, you might want to download video conferencing software like Skype or Google Hangout.  If you're using a private tutoring company, they may have their proprietary software that you can connect to, inquire beforehand, so you’re ready.

Lastly, find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted and start the call.

What Do You Want to Achieve During Your Online Tutorial?

The best tutors will ask you about your goals and academic progress to date, to offer assistance, and help you obtain the academic success you want.
The best tutors will ask you about your goals and academic progress to date, to offer assistance, and help you obtain the academic success you want. Source: StartupStockPhotos

When you begin your online tutoring sessions, your tutor will want to get to know you and what your goals are academically.

Here are some typical questions:

  1. In what subjects or subjects do you need assistance?
  2. What level academically is required?
  3. What do you want to get out of the tutoring sessions? Homework help, test preparation, exam review, writing/math assignments?
  4. How long do you think you will need tutoring for – short term or long term?
  5. How do you learn best – visually, audibly, kinetically?
  6. What areas do you struggle in particularly?
  7. When are you available to meet?

After you establish what your pain points are and where you need assistance, as well as how you learn best, etc. you can set up your tutoring schedule and negotiate the rate.

Search for a private class on Superprof.

How Should I Structure my Private Lessons Online?

Individual tutoring by appointment is much the same, whether it is home tutoring or through the virtual environment.
Individual tutoring by appointment is much the same, whether it is home tutoring or through the virtual environment. Source: Free-Photos

Lesson Review

When you begin online learning, your tutor will want to know where you are in the course, what you have learned to date, and where you are struggling. It would be best to share with your tutor any course materials you have online either through Dropbox, Google Docs, or scanning course material to them via email. This will help the tutor to prepare relevant exercises and review material for your lessons beforehand.

For tutoring to be successful, the tutor will need to prepare a tutoring program that meets the student’s needs, learning style, and course objectives.

Note taking is an integral part of the learning process and one of several critical academic skills. Your tutor will want to see your notes from class, and if you can understand, from what you have written, the essential elements of the lesson. If your note taking is not up to par, they will give you concrete ways to improve it.

Exercises to test your understanding

Once you have demonstrated where you are in the course and your note taking, your tutor will provide exercises to understand if you have grasped the core concepts or not. To do this online, the tutor will likely use the following tools:

  • Screen Sharing – this will enable you both to see what you are looking at online and make any changes to the document live or watch what the other is doing on a page live.
  • Google Docs – is useful to send written material back and forth (either writing or spreadsheets), and edit is live while you are both in the document.
  • GeoGebra – is an interactive math tool that helps teach geometry, algebra, statistics, calculus from primary school to college-level. Math tutoring groups often use it for test prep. You may want to try it on your own, as it provides a bit of free online tutoring.

Review your progress and focus on improving your weaknesses

Your tutor is available to assist you whenever you need and create an individualised plan so you can obtain the academic achievement you desire. As your lessons progress, your tutor will provide you with an update on where they think you have improved and where you still need to work to shore up your skillset.

Regular feedback is crucial as is telling the tutor whether you feel the lessons are going well and where you think things may need to change. This is the only way you will get the academic support you need to do as well as possible in the course.

Find out more about how to prepare for an online tutoring session.

How Are Online Tutorials Different from One-on-One Tutoring?

Academic advising, whether it be in person or online, is often the difference between average and outstanding marks.
Academic advising, whether it be in person or online, is often the difference between average and outstanding marks. Source: weisanjiang

Supplemental instruction is much the same, whether you are live in person or virtually connected via webcam.

The critical part is the student can ask the certified tutor questions, in a private setting, and not worry about appearing dumb or slow.

The lesson is for them alone, and the tutor is devoted to making sure the student understands all course concepts, does their homework assignments, improves their study skills, and is successful in test taking.

The benefit of using an online tutor is there are several tutoring programs and websites that can be used to make the learning process more exciting for the student. When a tutor screen shares with the student, on these programs, they have a soft introduction that takes away all the trepidation that might prevent them from trying it otherwise.

One of the real benefits of online learning is you can see first-hand how straightforward and accessible tutoring can be for people around the world.

Those who have been tutored online are often inspired to become a tutor. Superprof makes it very simple to find a tutor and advertise your tutor services FOR FREE. They provide the platform and means to get clients in just a few easy steps.

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, why not have a look at Superprof and see if you have the skills needed to offer assistance to those who could use a critical you have like: math, science, anatomy, and physiology, organic chemistry, etc.

If you are a student, you can provide peer tutoring in all subjects, as long as you have grades that illustrate you have mastered the course. If you have excellent academic performance, you can assist students as a peer tutor online, in tutoring centres, do private lessons, or provide group tutoring.

What about Online Tutoring Jobs? 

The online tutoring market has been growing rapidly  as technology has been developed to make it even easier for students and teachers to connect around the world. Many tutors opt for online lessons, as this makes it more convenient for tutors and students who are able to carry out their classes from the comfort of their own homes. This also reduces transportation costs and time wasted going to and from class for both teachers and students. It's a win-win situation!

Tutors can propose their services to students all around the world. For example, if you're an English teacher in Canada, you can teach students in Spain, Brazil, and China how to speak English! You'll have a chance to connect with students of all different cultures, levels and educational backgrounds through online tutoring.

Each method is slightly different than the other. However, the essence is the same.

Great tutors find out what is missing from the student’s academic arsenal, and then they shore up those weak areas with lesson reinforcement and exercises.

They also work on their student’s confidence, challenging and encouraging them to work harder than they thought they could. They also provide them with those vital study skills that make academic success easier.

Tutors are mentors who believe you can succeed and give you the tools to do so.

If you would like to learn more about the online tutoring world, check out our article on how to get the most out of your online tutoring session.

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I am a Freelance Writer from Toronto with two teenage boys who keep me laughing and perpetually learning.