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Online tutoring is more effective than in person, according to students

by Will Chambers on 1st July, 2020

Thanks to the announcement of the UK's National Tutoring Programme, tutoring has become the hottest topic in education. Our latest survey, the most comprehensive of its kind, shows a wholesale shift in attitudes towards tutoring online since lockdown began. We'll be publishing a detailed report in due course but in the meantime, here is a preliminary analysis.

Who took part?

Over 2,000 Bramble users – from teachers, tutors and students to parents and organisations – shared their experience of online tutoring over the last 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 find online tutoring more effective

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.

Benefits of online tutoring for students

We asked the various parties to choose 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 over the next year.

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

Online tutoring is here to stay

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 will 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.

The future of tutoring

These results shows that the shift from in person to online tutoring is not just for the lockdown. They also dispel the myth that online tutoring is inferior.

Online tutoring is now the most likely way tutors will teach their students for at least the next 12 months, and likely much further beyond that.

It’s a dramatic change that’s been driven by necessity but there is now a widespread realisation amongst students as well as tutors and parents that tutoring online is just as effective - and for many even more effective – than the in person approach that was so prevalent just a few months ago.

This efficacy is partly due to using a platform that was actually designed for teaching. Bramble goes beyond videoconferencing to offer a superior learning experience. Live lessons are focussed on a highly interactive shared whiteboard with lesson recordings augmented by artificial intelligence which turns the words spoken by teacher and student into powerful transcripts that can be used for revision and safeguarding.

Since making Bramble freely available at the beginning of March, we've hosted over 280,000 hours of live teaching and learning in 123 countries. The survey results suggest that this number is only heading in one direction.

Bramble is a market leader in the online tutoring industry. An award-winning online tutoring platform which has been used by over 46,000 tutors and students in 148 countries. The experience and knowledge gained from over 350,000 hours of online tuition has given us a unique insight into how people teach and learn online, and ultimately what makes the difference between a poor and a great experience tutoring online.