With the proliferation of Internet-based teaching materials and tools such as virtual whiteboard, online tutoring has seen a 500% growth rate over the past year. With the closure of schools and universities across Canada since March and nation-wide social distancing measures, online learning has never been more important.
More and more tutoring centers are riding this wave by helping students improve their study skills online.
A few mouse clicks can uncover a certified teacher of practically any discipline from science, math and English to niche skills, offering tutelage online.
Let us now discover how we can get help from online tutors.
Hint: there is a lot more out there than academia!
What Can you Learn from an Online tutor?
Online study covers a broader range of subjects than you might think
Learning a Second Language
Students enrolled in Canadian public schools are compelled to study a foreign language for at least 3 years. But why stop there?
Scientists agree that people who are bilingual are better multi-taskers and have increased attention spans. Furthermore, the younger a learner engages in a language besides his native tongue, the greater his cognitive abilities.
To be competitive academically, who wouldn't want their child to receive supplemental instruction in a second language?
Hiring a French tutor or a Spanish tutor is a great way to rise above average expectations put on students.
Technology and Software Applications
Website Talentegg says that a resume listing only basic computer skills is not enough to warrant interviewing that candidate. These days, hiring managers are looking for specific skills sets, such as Python or database management.
Cultivating your digital skills with a tutor online is an excellent way to ensure your viability in the job market.
It can also improve your college graduate's chances of securing a promising career.
Using a video conferencing application such as Skype, your tutor can provide individualized instruction on every facet of any computer science you are learning, and even tutor you in computer programming!
During the first part of the lesson, you would be taught software capabilities using interactive whiteboard. The second half of your online tutoring session would be spent in screen share mode, when you demonstrate your newly acquired skills under the guidance of your mentor.
Screen share is one of the greatest tools of online learning!
With the fitness craze currently sweeping Britain, everybody wants a good workout.
Not everyone wants to put themselves on display, sweating it out in the gym. Wouldn't it be great if you could have a personal trainer at home?
Thanks to online tutoring, you can!
For no more than the cost of any academic lesson (average £20), you could take fitness classes with an online coach. Some of the sports that can be mastered are:
Fitness and Stretching
More vigorous sports, such as martial arts and dancing can also be learned online.
While you're busy getting fit, don't forget nutrition: you can find a dietary coach online, too!
Learn to play guitar
Have you long wished to play the guitar? Do you envision your fingers tinkling the ivories for enraptured friends? What about beating a drum?
Learning music online offers a distinct advantage over traditional music lessons because you can record your tutor's instructions for later playback, should you need reinforcement until your next scheduled lesson.
Also, you can ask your tutor to recommend videos to watch online that complement your session.
Instead of lugging that guitar or clarinet across town, you/your child can learn everything from chords and fingering to writing music from the online teacher of your choice.
Studies have proven that learning to play music can result in improved academic skills. Besides your love of music, isn't that a great reason to take a private class online?
Gaining Academic Skills Online
It goes without saying that online tutoring is most suitable for sharpening academic skills.
Youths spend the majority of their free time in the digital world: chatting with friends on social media, watching videos and playing games.
Online learning is a logical extension of youths' digital existence.
Students who work with tutors online are comfortable and at ease in part because they are acclimatised to the environment so closely associated with their social lives.
Another reason students enjoy online lessons is because online tutors tend to be closer in age to their tutees.
Rapport is key to successful learning; tutors who instruct online are more likely to connect with their tutees because of the minimal age difference, and the medium and methods they use to teach.
How to Ensure Successful Online Learning
If you are a digital native - someone who has always had the Internet in the palm of your hand, you may have tried taking lessons online and found them satisfactory.
On the other hand, there is a substantial portion of the population who has had less than stellar experiences.
The main reasons are:
- Technical issues: poor or dropped connections, screen freezes and not hearing tutors' instructions clearly
- Lack of personal connection withe the tutor: this remains a challenge in spite of the relative proximity in age.
- A large part of effective tutoring is patience, empathy and support - all rather hard to feel from a distance
- Effective communication: without being able to read body language and other non-verbal clues, it is more difficult for both the tutor and the student to build a productive learning environment
Tutors are supposed to 'be there' for you, right?
That very principle begs the question: how can they be there for you if they are not physically there?
Fortunately, the best tutors are aware of your sentiments in that regard and they go the extra mile to ensure that you enjoy the most positive learning experience possible.
There is new technology on the market seemingly every day that permits you and your tutor to work closely together to reach your learning goals, be they academic, artistic or holistic - understanding nutrition better and learning yoga, to name just two examples of such.
Long gone are the days when the only tools in a tutor's arsenal are books and talk!
These days, savvy tutors use interactive whiteboards and digital pens; screen sharing functions that are built-in to most videochat software and they recommend their students use Google Docs or Dropbox, rather than email to upload assignments.
You may even find that your tutor has built up Quizlet study sets for you to learn on the go!
Quizlet is a web-based learning application that takes a multi-pronged approach to presenting study materials. From any study set you may use their flashcards, the writing quiz to test your knowledge; you may even enjoy playing the games associated with your lessons.
You may use such applications online, while sitting at your home computer, or you may download study apps that your tutor recommends so that you may learn on the go!
What Do You Need to Learn Online?
Now you're thoroughly enthused about online tutoring and want to give it a go!
Before you dash out to buy a top of the line computer, let us reassure you: if the machine you are currently reading this on is Windows 8 or 10, or a MacOS Sierra, you do not need another system in order to learn with your tutor online.
Your connection speed is what really matters. For online learning sessions, you need at least a broadband link to insure against screen freezes and delays in transmission. Fiberoptic would be even better!
WiFi works too, but with a caveat: low speed or weak signals might interrupt you while working on assignments with your tutor.
Two accessories you should invest in are:
A webcam. Most laptop machines come with a camera built-in but only the newest desktop screens are so equipped. If your computer monitor is a bit older, you will need a camera so your tutor can see you.
A headset with telescopic microphone. Most laptops include both microphone and speakers but they tend to be of inferior quality, and desktop machines require an external microphone.
After investing in private lessons online, why risk misunderstanding your tutor, or him/her not hearing you correctly?
Neither of these accessories are terribly expensive and their functionality make them well-worth the cost.
The Software/App Question
No need to fret over buying a license for specialized applications for online learning. Your tutor will most likely suggest the software you will use to take lessons; ones you probably already know about.
Of the millions of apps floating around cyberspace - more than two hundred thousand of them dedicated academic study, it is likely you will use either Skype or Google Hangouts, or a combination of both.
You might already be familiar with these video chat platforms. They are the most commonly used applications for online instruction because they have a screen share function that allows your tutor to see what you are doing while you're doing it.
For example, after a vocabulary session during your Spanish lesson, your tutor announces a short dictation exercise. You would engage 'screen share' so that s/he can see what you are typing as you type it.
Isn't that convenient?
Hangouts provides the additional benefit of allowing several participants to join a conversation.
That is an excellent feature that allows your tutor to teach you and a small group of your schoolmates at the same time. How does that help you?
For one, you may be more receptive to instruction if your friend is included in your extracurricular learning. For two: your tutor might give you a lower hourly rate!
Online Tutoring with Superprof
Historically, one of the greatest challenges for tutors to overcome was advertising their services in such a way that they would be absolutely indispensable to students' learning. After all, they are teachers, not marketing experts!
Unless, of course, they teach marketing, in which case they would be experts!
That problem was compounded by the lack of any outlet dedicated to learning that would permit prospective tutors to write an inclusive bio: what their educational background is and all about their teaching experience.
Naturally, tutors could and did place adverts in local papers and, later, as online advertising grew in popularity, a well-written ad was sure to get results - especially if it included a picture.
Still, those outlets put forth only a little information; not much more than the tutor's name, minimal educational background information; the subject(s) they would tutor in, and contact details.
Superprof came online in 2013, effectively giving tutors a way to market their skills effectively and permitting students and their parents a much wider selection of teachers to choose from.
Every tutor gets his/her own page to expound on everything from their educational background to their teaching philosophy and methodology.
One glance at any Superprof tutor page will reveal whether they would travel to your home for lessons or welcome you into theirs, and even if they give lessons by webcam - to individuals or in small groups.
Perhaps the best part of Superprof tutor pages is that you are treated to reviews left by previous students. These testimonials are meant to help you decide whether that tutor would work well with you, and also speaks to the depth of experience s/he has to offer you.
Obviously, you would want to work with a tutor who has a measure of experience in his/her field; one who charges a reasonable rate and who is responsive to your needs. Thanks to Superprof tutor profile pages, you can deduce all of that! Take, for example...
- Myriam, who is in London on an Erasmus exchange, has been tutoring maths for several years and has earned such a stellar reputation that she has been named a tutoring ambassador!
- Benjamin teaches English in person (if you live in London) or by webcam, anywhere in the country. His students have left him 5-star ratings
- Andy works with students who have special needs; he also teaches Mandarin and English to students up to 16 years old. Testimonials indicate that he is a supportive, nurturing and passionate educator!
By skimming through tutor profiles on Superprof, you are sure to find at least one tutor who can help you get an academic leg up.
- Math tutors – KS1-5, SAT, GCSE and A Levels test prep
- Science tutors – biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences
- English tutors – vocabulary, grammar, spelling, ESOL
- Foreign languages – French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian
- Computers and digital technology
- Engineering tutors – civil, electrical, mechanical
- Music – piano, guitar, drums, singing
- Economics – macro and microeconomics, econometrics
- Statistics and Probability
- History tutors
- Art tutors – sculpting, drawing, acting
- Yoga and fitness training tutors
- College level tutoring in all subjects
You can even learn how to cook, sew and swim and do yoga while face to face with a Superprof tutor!
Should there be any shred of doubt whether any given tutor is the ideal tutor for you, rest assured that most Superprof tutors give their first hour of lessons for free - just to see how well you would work together.
With more than a million active tutors registered to the site, Superprof has a tutor for every student, anywhere in Canada.
Superprof certifies that every tutor is properly qualified to teach in his/her field, something you can verify yourself: every tutor page indicates their profile and credentials have been vetted to provide you with the best possible learning experience, in the most capable hands.
Where Else Can You Turn for Private Lessons Online?
A survey done for the Sutton Trust discloses that 24% of all students in Britain have benefited from one to one tutoring at some point during their academic career. The figure for private tutoring jumps to 40% in London.
Where is everyone finding online tutoring?
Tutoring Agencies that offer Private Lessons Online
Keystone Tutors has a London-based office that provides home tutoring in the city and online tutoring all over the UK. As well as college entrance and national exam preparation, these tutors provide academic support and homework help from KS1 to GCSE.
In addition to videos and instruction via webcam, Keystone tutors use whiteboard and digital pens to ensure an interactive experience with their tutees.
These dedicated tutors include your parents and other caregivers in the learning process by providing them with a monthly report that details:
- the focus of that month’s tutoring
- the form of assessment used
- the student's achievements and areas for further work
- the focus for the coming month
Simply Learning Tuition – or SLT is a London-based agency that offers online tutoring across the UK. They also provide in home tutoring and lessons for home-schooled students.
This organization functions as an academic consulting agency, performing an initial assessment exam and a family interview, after which they select the tutors most suited to your child's temperament and scholastic needs.
SLT embraces standard academic tutoring subjects that reflect national curriculum demands, as well as SAT, GCSE and A Levels test preparation. Their mentorship extends to tutoring at college level and for International Baccalaureate prep.
Websites that Provide Tutoring Online
TLC Live is a tutoring website based in East Anglia and staffed by certified teachers, for students from KS1 to GCSE.
Since their inception in 2003, they have worked closely with schools to develop a bespoke curriculum of supplemental instruction that ties in with national education requirements. Because of their close association with formal learning, they tutor using the most up-to-date classroom textbooks and exam criteria.
The Khan Academy is another great learning portal if you are struggling academically.
Created in 2005 with the aim of producing online tools for academic support, their site consists of a series of YouTube videos, organised by subject and grade level. There are also exercises that correspond to each lesson as well as a short test for you to take once you feel you have mastered the material in that lesson.
Although initially meant just for primary and secondary school students, the utility soon expanded to include college-level study materials. Today, they include tutorials for college graduates, job seekers and young professionals.
Their videos are hosted by real teachers with classroom experience and experts in the discrete fields of study.
Two aspects of Khan Academy to keep in mind: the site originates in America, meaning the grade levels would be different than our curriculum.
If you are looking for videos to get a better understanding of GCSE maths, it might be easier to find the specific topic you are looking for by its category - calculus or linear equations, for example, than to look for the lesson you need among the 10th grade math videos.
Another, more vital distinction to keep in mind: this is not a tutoring website in the sense that a tutor will work with you one on one. It is a video bank replete with admittedly excellent teaching material that you may refer to for an extra boost in understanding the subject material at hand.
You may even want to talk it over with your tutor; see what s/he thinks about it!
Finding Your Online Tutor Through Adverts
Every Canadian city has their own directory. You can conduct a search for tutors of subjects you are interested in, from reading and writing to Algebra and Trigonometry. And then, you only need to read through your search results in order to decide who would best suit your learning needs.
At Gumtree you can conduct a search by typing in what you need help with – academic, sports or music, and what city you live in. The adverts are listed in no particular order, so it might take a while to find the best tutor.
The benefit of these types of tutor adverts, as well as the next few we cover, is that you are virtually guaranteed a tutor who is local to you.
What About Your Local Newspaper?
Diversifying is one of the best ways to achieve results, be it in investing, eating and nutrition and, especially in advertising.
The best tutors are aware of that fact, so they take a multi-pronged approach to announcing their services -not just online but by other means as well.
Even in these digital times, you can still find one to one tutoring services listed in the classified ads section of your local or regional paper. With a bit of time, you may well find a good match to your educational needs.
Another reliable tactic tutors employ is posting fliers in high-traffic areas, such as your local newsagents, supermarkets, libraries and community centres.
Most such places - cafés and restaurants included, hang bulletin boards expressly for such notices. In fact, you may consider posting an advert there yourself so that tutors may find you!
One more means of finding quality tutelage that has little or nothing to do with technology is word of mouth advertising.
Let's say your mate has suddenly started getting good marks on his school work. Naturally, you would want to now how he got so good, so fast... right? That's when he tells you about this great tutor he's been working with and passes on that worthy's number.
In the digital world, student testimonials serve the same purpose!
While it is true that, these days, such approaches could be considered low-tech, do such adverts necessarily mean you will be divorced from your beloved electronics while being tutored?
Not at all! As previously mentioned: savvy tutors employ a range of advertising tactics. They are not necessarily a reflection of said tutor's supposed aversion to digital self-promotion; s/he most likely advertised online, as well.
As you can see, tutoring in general and, specifically online tutoring services are not difficult to find. But what does all that searching boil down to?
What are the Benefits of Online Tutoring?
The benefits of tutoring have long been established and acknowledged by the educational community worldwide.
Since the advent of the Internet, especially as it became more than an object of curiosity - as it evolved into an integral part of our lives, the inevitable extension to traditional classroom learning became learning online.
That truth is borne out by the number of colleges and universities offering online courses and even entire degree plans online.
Likewise, distance learning has become a staple of professional training and continuing education, as well: rather than employees losing valuable time commuting to overcrowded, expensive seminars, they simply log in to their company's training website for instruction, right from their work station!
The natural complement to online learning is tutoring online.
Just as retail outlets are migrating to the digital realm, so too is the business of education - and for many of the same reasons!
The benefits of private tutoring online are numerous.
Before enlisting the help of a tutor for academic success, perhaps you could benefit from free tutoring.
Taking lessons or seeking homework help online is cost-effective and time-saving, especially because online tutors are particularly adept at delivering quality instruction via webcam.
Besides your study materials, you shouldn't need any more than a computer with Internet connexion, a webcam and a headset.
Conferencing software allows for several people to be on the same 'call'. The tutor might suggest group learning with his/her other students, who are all studying the same topic and are at approximately the same level as you are.
Peer tutoring is a great way to build confidence while helping others learn.
Doing so will save you even more money. Online tutoring in general and Superprof tutors especially are great at giving lower rates to students who participate in group studies.
Convenience and time-saving
According to a study conducted in 2014, average commuting time throughout the UK clocked at 54 minutes per trip. That is nearly a full hour that you could be increasing your competencies. Nearly a full hour tutors to spend traveling rather than instructing.
With tutoring live online, the only traffic is what you and you teacher send back and forth... and that's nearly instantaneous!
Through online tutoring, geographical restrictions are eliminated.
You could join study groups in Scotland or Wales – or any other (English speaking) country with no worries about where to meet or paying extra for your teacher to come to your home.
Furthermore, because of the wealth of tutors advertising their services online, you can easily find a tutor you would like to work with.
If you live in a remote area or want to learn a niche skill, you are much more likely to find the best tutor over the web than a home tutor in your corner of the world.
Learning in Comfort
Studies show that learning is best done in an orderly environment. If you have joined a learning center online, that orderly space should include the desk you are sitting at and the room it is situated in.
However, nothing says you can't benefit from E-tutoring in your pyjamas or other such comfortable garb.
Besides, as someone who has never known a world without a digital presence, chances are you are completely at ease using technology and would most likely embrace the use of any educational platform your tutor might suggest.
Breaking from Traditional Learning Model
New studies in cognitive behavior indicate that changing instruction delivery methods can improve how much pupils retain. By engaging in online learning, you eschew the traditional image of teacher-before-student, effectively exposing yourself/your child to the very change that top psychologists recommend.
By learning from a tutor online, you are embracing the very latest educational theories for success.
The latest data conclusively prove that students involved in online learning tend to outperform their peers in scholastic aptitude tests. Aren't you eager to drop in on your tutor?
If I'm searching for tutors near me, I always use Superprof. With over 1000 subjects and 10,000 tutors, you can learn anything you want.