Online Tutoring 2 of 5: Online Tutoring and Traditional Tutoring Methods

As the second article from an informational series on Online Tutoring, this feature aims to clarify how online tutoring differs from other out-of-the-classroom programs including private tutors, online homework help sites, after-school programs, and computer software programs.

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The first thing that you'll learn about when researching online tutoring is the convenience. Online tutoring is so convenient, it seems almost too good to be true. Fortunately, in most cases, it is true. It allows your student to receive all the help they need with arithmetic, pre-algebra, phonics, syntax, geometry, and other subjects from their home computer, and it's true that your student can work with a live tutor, speaking and writing--not necessarily just typing--in real time over the Internet. (See the article on this site, How Does Online Tutoring Work? for more details.) Online tutoring is not only more convenient, but it is also incredibly effective. Maximizing the benefits of this method, however, requires discipline and a high level of commitment from both students and parents.

Home-Based Learning

Enabling your student to work from home not only eliminates the burden of traveling to a learning center, but it also provides a parent peace of mind: online tutoring means no unfamiliar environments or strange people coming into your home.

Working from home, as many modern parents might know, is hard to get used to. Home is, well, home to many distractions, especially for a child, and it's easy to let your child slip from his or her schedule if no change in environment is required. Online tutoring (versus other computer-driven tutoring programs) encourages students to develop more of a sense of discipline when working at home by providing them with live, online teachers that work with them over the internet on a tight schedule-usually during after-school hours. This means that a skipped lesson won't go unnoticed like it would if your student was working with a software program for math or reading.

A Personal Touch

These live, online teachers as well as their programs are different from the teachers and programs that your student might encounter through a school tutor or an online tutorial. The teacher that your child is working with will be trained and qualified for his or her position, meaning no high school students or teacher's aides. The program they create for your child will be structured around the results from a diagnostic test all students take prior to beginning online tutoring. This means that your child will be working on lessons created to meet their independent needs and learning styles, which are more like the proven lessons they'd encounter at a tutoring center.

Staying Connected

Most online tutoring programs offer parent conferences to discuss the specifics of the progress a student is making. Some private tutors offer this benefit, and programs that don't involve a live tutor don't have the capacity to explain the work your child is completing. In this way, online tutoring strives to keep a pupil's parents involved. For additional peace of mind, some online tutors also offer the same guaranteed results that one might find at their tutoring center counterparts.

The Bottom Line

Discipline, commitment, and the inclusion of parents are all factors that are worked into the overlying theme of convenience that online tutoring manages to maintain. It's after you absorb the benefits and relevance of online tutoring that you have to consider the price you'll pay. Compared to private tutors, online tutoring seems like a bargain starting at around $30 an hour, but software programs and online tutorials that allow your student to work independently may charge a subscriber or licensing fee. Depending on the amount of help that your child needs and the amount of time and money that you're willing to spend to get them proven assistance, online tutoring may or may not exist as an option among private tutors, online homework help sites, after-school programs, and software programs.

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Kaplan Kids

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In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

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  • Online and in-center tutoring
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In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

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  • In-Home tutoring
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In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
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  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
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Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

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