Another major reason for the success of online tutoring is the lower cost of tutoring. The availability of tutors was earlier limited to those living close-by to the student. However with the online tutoring, the tutor can now be located in any corner of the world. Thus the tutors located in the third world countries while being equally competent as their counterparts in the developed world are able to offer their services at much lower prices – primarily due to the difference in valuation of their currencies wrt the dollar. While a face to face tutoring session would cost nearly $ 70 – 100 per hour earlier, a online tutoring session from tutors in USA / UK costs $ 30 – 50 and those from tutors located in India is available for $ 12 – 15 per hour.
Tutoring Companies. As the demand for online tutoring grew, a number of tutoring companies surfaced on the horizon. These Online Tutoring Companies generally offer tutoring in a variety of subjects so that a student can obtain tutoring in any subject desired by him. This follows the culture where all subjects are available under one roof.
This company culture in tutoring however cannot be termed as the best solution in online tutoring. Most parents would agree that the vital aspect to achieve supportive learning help is the continuity of the tutor with the student. The tutor needs to develop a rapport with the student and identify his strengths and shortcomings. He must then empathize with the student and focus upon helping him overcome his shortcomings while reinforcing his strengths. With large tutoring companies this is often a problem as their tutors cater to a large number of students and thus are not dedicated to a single student. While most online tutoring companies offer the ‘preferred tutor’ system in some form or the other, the availability of the favorite tutor cannot be guaranteed being booked by a number of students. Thus the child is left to adjust to each of the tutors he comes across and at best is able to achieve ‘topic help’ rather than supportive, continued learning.
Freelance Tutors. On the other hand are the freelance tutors who offer Online Tutoring on the internet. Most of the tutors list with the tutor directories for their availability. Tutors having their own websites are a rarity - probably due to the costs involved. However the ones who do have their own websites and thus are able to make themselves available on the internet are probably the best choice for online tutoring. They combine the best of online tutoring and offer continued supportive and dedicated learning support to the students.
Training Content. Some of the tutoring companies use their own ‘unique training content’ which is specifically developed keeping in mind the requirements of the students. There is no doubt that specially developed training content is helpful in imparting instruction. It must however be remembered that there is no shortage of training content on the internet with most schools and college websites providing free high quality training content. What is most important is ability of the tutor to make the student imbibe the training content properly.
Tutor Remuneration. In case of freelance tutors, the complete remuneration made by the students goes to the tutor who is free to set his own price. However in case of tutoring companies, the company would pay the tutors minimum wages, keeping most of the profits for themselves. The tutor compensation in some of the tutoring companies can be as low as $ 2 per hour. This obviously affects the quality of tutors who would be ready to serve with them.
Selecting the Right Tutor. Making the right choice of the Online Tutor however can be difficult. Considering that the websites offering these services are not the swanky big banner sites, it is difficult to gauge the prowess of the tutor at the first instance. It is advisable to go over the credentials and experience of the tutor. However before finally selecting a tutor, the student must ask for a Free Demo Session. Nearly all the tutors offer the introductory demo session so that they can interact with the student. This provides a good opportunity to the student to gauge the tutor first hand and if found suitable, he can interact with the tutor to finalize his schedule.
Teaching Tools. The quality of tutoring also depends on the tools for teaching used by the tutor. The demo session would also help to confirm the suitability of the web conferencing software including the audio, whiteboard and file sharing. The student should evaluate them well during the demo session before signing up for online tutoring.
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Article Added on Sunday, December 20, 2009
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