When is online tutoring a good option? Depends how you want to use it. There are a number of approaches, none of which are mutually exclusive. You can use it as an enabler, as part of a blend or as the solution that delivers the best learning outcome.
Online tutoring as an enabler
Online tutoring can make the impossible possible. The student desperately needs a tutor but lives way out in the sticks. With online tutoring that's not a problem, you can find students a great tutor no matter where they live. Maybe they've already got a great tutor, who they've been working with offline for years but that tutor's about to move away. With online tutoring, they can keep tutoring. Perhaps the student needs access to an overseas specialist. In the case of Lanterna Education, that's an IB specialist who could be based anywhere in Europe. Match the student with that tutor online, throw in a great online whiteboard and they have a great learning experience.
There's more temporary solutions too. Perhaps the tutor or student have an accident or are unwell. If they want to keep the tutoring going online, they can. If one of them goes on holiday but they want to maintain the continuity of tuition, they can move online. We hear lots of cases of online tutoring whilst on holiday turning in to permanent online tutoring upon the students return. Mum says it's just so much more convenient and she doesn't have to worry about cleaning the house before the tutor comes over!
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Online tutoring as a blended solution
You can mix online tutoring and offline tutoring. We've seen lots of different flavours of this. Sometimes, it's tricky for the tutor to get to the students home during the week when they both have busy timetables. If that's the case, they can have a couple of online sessions in the week and then an offline session on the weekend. The travelling distance might be too much for regular visits, so they go online three times a month and offline once a month. They could have the first session offline, so they get to meet in-person (although, as we've discussed previously, there's no need to get too hung up on body language) before moving online for the rest of the tutoring.
Online tutoring as the best solution?
I was recently asked:
do you believe online tutoring is better than offline?. It was a good challenge. If location, schedules and the rest were no object, would I choose online or offline tutoring? The answer revolves around playback. It's playback that makes Bramble more than just an online whiteboard and playback that makes online better than offline. If every session can be recorded, the student can review it whenever they like and that can only lead to better learning outcomes. As Jill, from Tutor Doctor QCA, put it:
I see this application for intense data rich courses like AP Physics and calculus tutoring sessions. These students may need to review their 4pm tutoring session again at 10 pm to get ready for tomorrow’s exam. I want to maximize this usage woven into regular face-to-face tutoring so there is more opportunity for learning.