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Online Tutoring More Effective Than in Person, According to Research

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Thanks to the UK's National Tutoring Programme’s announcement, tutoring has become the hottest topic in education. A survey from last year shows a wholesale shift in attitudes towards tutoring online since lockdown began.

Over 2,000 teachers, tutors, students, parents and organisations shared their online tutoring experience over three months. They represented 38 countries. The majority of respondents (73%) were from the UK. Canada (12%), the US (4%), Singapore (4%) and Australia (2%) round out the top five.

Students were overwhelmingly positive about their experiences online – 84% said online tutoring was more effective or as effective as tutoring in person. 73% of parents and 72% of tutors agree, although the responses of tutors, in particular, are weighted more towards online tutoring being as effective as the in-person alternative.

When it comes to the three main benefits of online tutoring for students, tutors, students and parents all agree that flexible lesson scheduling, searchable lesson recordings and a more relaxed and focused atmosphere are the primary benefits.

73% of students said they planned to use their searchable lesson recordings for learning and revision in 2021.

Many respondents felt that searchable lesson recordings perform a dual purpose; they also help keep tutors and students safe. Many students and tutors noted that they cover more content in their online lessons than they did in person.

When asked what proportion of their child’s tutoring will be online over the next 12 months, 95% of parents believed that some or all would remain online – a figure which rises to 98% when put to students.

This figure is a dramatic contrast to pre-coronavirus tutoring. Most parents (84%) said all tutoring before the pandemic was in person, with just 6% saying that half or more was online.

The shift is even more pronounced for tutors. Virtually every tutor (99%) said at least some of their tutoring work would be online over the next year, with 86% saying that at least half will be online. More than a third said that all their tutoring would be online over the next 12 months. Before lockdown, 80% of those tutors had never taught online.

These results show that the shift from in-person to online tutoring is not just for the lockdown.

It’s a dramatic change driven by necessity but there is now a widespread realisation amongst students and tutors, and parents that tutoring online is just as practical or even more effective than the in-person approach that used to be prevalent.

And while talking about the effectiveness of online tutoring, it turns out that it also comes with measurable benefit for students.

Two independent studies, from 2015 and 2017, showed that online tutoring significantly raised the performance in assessment scores of students who were previously struggling with maths.

Four factors contribute to improvements in students' performance, these are:

  • The ability to record and playback tutoring sessions

  • Access to the very best tutors

  • More focused tutoring sessions

  • More flexible tutoring sessions

The great thing about using technology to enhance the learning experience is that most students are already so comfortable with it. There are several other benefits like choice, environment, consistency, flexibility, recordings, and search.

Sharan (JS Tutoring)

Sharan Spall BSc (Hons) First Class is Lead Learning Mentor & Private Tutor, Founder and Director at JS Tutoring.

Experienced in professional Private Tutoring and Mentoring for over 10 years, she has a large portfolio of over 200 successful clients.

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