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Online Tutoring - The Advantages & Disadvantages

Updated on May 10, 2014

Tutoring can be a great opportunity for someone who knows education, but doesn't want to spend each day teaching in front of a classroom. Some students need one-on-one attention which is why tutoring is always in demand.

Just a few years ago, in-person tutoring was the only option for students to receive the help they needed. However, with the ever-increasing advances in technology, online tutoring is becoming more and more popular. But how do they compare and which method is better? In this article we'll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each from the perspective of a tutoring business owner and in a later article we'll look at it from the perspective of a student.


1. Work From Home (or anywhere)
The most obvious advantage of online tutoring is the opportunity for the tutor to work in the comfort of their own home. With a computer and an internet connection, can connect with students and provide the help needed without ever leaving their home. There's no worry about traveling to different locations, which saves time and money. This advantage leads naturally into the next.

2. Work on Your Own Schedule
Without having to meet students at various locations, online tutoring offers the tutor the opportunity to set their own schedule. Again, travel time isn't an issue. A tutor can provide students with times they are available for tutoring, and because of the time saved in travel, they can schedule back-to-back scheduling times between different students. With in-person tutoring, this is only possible if tutoring is available in one location.

3. Reach a Larger Market

Because you aren't limited by geography with online tutoring, you can potentially reach a much larger number of students. This is especially an advantage if you live in a small town. This is also a major advantage if your tutoring is very specialized, since there may not be a high concentration of students that would benefit from your services in your area, but there will likely be enough in the area that you can reach through the internet.

4. Technology & Learning Tools
Tutoring online can provide both the tutor and the student with the opportunity take advantage of what technology has to offer. Some examples are online lessons, video chatting capability, using an online whiteboard, and a host of supplemental aids the tutor can use to enhance a student's ability to understand. A tutor can even record the tutoring session for future reference.


1. Communication Difficulties

Although online tutoring has some very convenient advantages, the tutor does lose out on the ability to really connect with a student's needs when they're not right there face-to-face with them. For example, a student might be struggling to pay attention or to understand a concept. An in-person tutor can often pick up on nonverbal cues the student puts off. An online tutor loses out on this opportunity.

2. Student Distractions

Some students can get very distracted by being on a computer because of the many other things they want to be doing. If they're using their computer at other time to play games or connect with friend through social media, an online tutoring session might be the last thing they'll be able to focus on.

3. Technical Difficulties

Finally, with online tutoring, there is always the possibility for technical difficulties, such as poor internet connection or microphone failure. A tutor doesn't want to be working through the issue of a web camera not working during the valuable time that a student needs to be tutored.

Which Is Better?
Both in-person tutoring and online tutoring have their advantages and disadvantages. There is an obvious appeal for online tutoring from a tutor's perspective, but it really comes down to what the tutor wants most from the experience and what they want most for the student. Great tutoring can happen either way.

Which tutoring method do you prefer?

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