Online tuition isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ educational tool: rather, there are a number of options available for tutors and students alike. Here I review some examples.
Khan Academy: This is the most famous example of online video-based tutorials. However, strictly speaking, we wouldn’t class it as online tuition. As explained in our report into online tuition, we define online tuition as ‘live tuition provided by a human tutor over the internet to one or more students’.
Skype: Our report into online tuition discovered that Skype was by far the most popular tool for online tuition among independent private tutors. It’s free to use, most people have heard of it, and it provides a quality video experience worldwide.
Scribblar: Scribblar is an online whiteboard and collaboration tool where text, graphs and images can be shared with students in real time.
WizIQ: This tool describes itself as an ‘online learning delivery platform’. It provides a virtual classroom which is similar to video conferencing, but with an educational focus.
Tutorhub: One of a number of online tuition agencies which provide a virtual classroom and manage payments on a commission-based system.
Obrussa: This is a UK-based example of an ‘on-demand’ tuition service. When a student encounter a problem, they can ‘raise their hand’ via instant messaging and get immediate help. It’s a very different model to scheduling a weekly online lesson with a tutor.
ICSLearn: ICS Learn is an interesting hybrid. First, students can choose between dozens of online courses in anything from GCSEs to Accountancy. They are then assigned a dedicated online tutor to provide support along the way.
As can be seen, there are a number of approaches to online tuition. Finding the right solution for you or your child depends very much on the context. Do you need some answers fast? Then an ‘on-demand’ service might work for you. Are you looking for the least expensive option? Working with a tutor who uses Skype, and employing them directly might be the best. Do you need a pre-designed course? Then distance learning with a company such as ICSLearn could work well.