Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The explosive global growth for the need in online tutoring

·         Online tutoring1  is the process of tutoring in an online, virtual environment or networked environment in which teachers and students are separated by time and space;
·         Live online tutoring2  is the process of tutoring in an online environment, with teacher and student interacting in real-time without necessarily being in the same place.  This option presents a significant technical challenge. However, it attempts to mimic in-person interaction as closely as possible, rather than simply facilitating knowledge transfer.
·         A tutoring agency3  is a business that acts as an intermediary between people who are looking for tutors and tutors wishing to offer their services

There has been a great increase in the number of high-school, and college students receiving online tutoring.  However, it seems that a greater number of students have never received any online tutorial assistance before, and are unaware of the benefits of online tutorial assistance.  As such, the objectives of this posting are:
·         To increase awareness of online tutoring;
·         To promote the use of online tutoring; and
·         To point our audience in the direction of selected online tutors.

·         If you have never used an online tutor, you might have concerns about how well online tutoring  works.  For example, you may be worried that a difficult math question might be easier to explain in person.
·         Despite these concerns, online tutoring has many benefits that in-person tutoring cannot provide.  As technology improves, online tutoring is finding ways to overcome its past challenges.

If you want to tutor online, there are many different paths and options. From using a simple application like Skype to using a full featured tutoring platform and marketplace, tutors have a wide range of choices. Some of the top online tutoring platforms available today include:
•             Tutor Universe
•             Chegg Tutors (previously called InstaEDU)
•             WyzAnt
•             TutorsBox

What equipment do YOU need to start tutoring online? 6
Having the right equipment ensures that you can give a smooth and professional lesson online. Here is a rundown of the equipment needed:
·         Webcam
·         Microphone
·         Internet Speed
·         A decent PC/Mac
·         Lighting
·         Software

Every service is different, but most follow the same basic model:
Once you have registered, you simply select the topic and grade level you need help with and the system will give you a list of qualified tutors.  From there you can view a detailed profile of each tutor, send an introductory email, submit a question, or schedule a future session.  If you are using an on-demand service (which allows us to use cloud computing, storage, etc.), the system will automatically pair you with an available tutor and drop you right into a live session.

The methods in which the tutors conduct those sessions vary by company, but the most common are:
·         Video sessions -Students and tutors work together via Skype or similar video chat.  With Skype, students click on “Share Screen” at “Skype Call” so they can see their tutor’s screen while the tutor writes;
·         White board -Students and tutors work together on a shared virtual “whiteboard” which they use to write, draw, and solve problems in real time.  Whiteboards typically include a built-in text chat feature;
·         Virtual classroom -Students and tutors work together using a combination of audio, video, and text chat, as well as shared whiteboard and document sharing tools.”

The global online tutoring market is divided into four regions as given below:

North America
·         Has 31.01% of the global online tutorial market 2016;
·         Expected to generate a revenue of $38.89 billion in 2021.
·         Has 27.65% of the global online tutorial market 2016;
·         Online tutorial market expected to reach $46.54 billion by 2021
Asia Pacific
·         Has 26.09% of the global online tutorial market 2016;
·         Valued at $21.26 billion in 2016, growing at an annual growth rate of 15.38%
Rest of World
·         Has 15.25% of the global online tutorial market 2016;
·         Online tutorial market should reach $25.81 billion in 2021, growing at an annual growth rate of 15.73%
Inter-Regional Tutoring9
·         There is online tutoring both within and between the regions;
·         India, for example, is a leader in providing e-tutoring at affordable prices, particularly in the area of math, and the U.S. is the largest consumer of its services


Globally (Including Four Regions listed below)
·         Intense competition among students to secure enrollments in good colleges and universities
·         Reputed universities are raising their examination standards, which is driving students to seek online tutoring services
·         Top vendors in the global online tutoring market include: Club Z! Tutoring, Fleet Education Services (Fleet Tutors), Huntington Learning Center, and Pearson ELT
North America Region
·         The market is growing with a rise in number of K-12 enrollment rates.
·         Many Test Preparation Centers such as Sylvan Learning, Princeton Review, and Club Z! Tutoring witnessed an increase in students from primary and secondary education sectors.  These centers and other vendors provide personalized online learning programs for courses such as mathematics, reading, and writing, which is driving the market
EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) Region
·         High quality online tutoring platforms drive market segments
·         Increasing requirements for employment-ready students have created a need to enhance and modify the education systems
·         Online tutoring platforms act as a bridge by imparting quality English language and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education
·         Educational institutions in the Middle East are progressively investing in digital learning technologies to replace standard textbook education systems
·         Education system in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council – including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman) incorporates online tutoring services to augment their learning processes and resources, to increase educational standards.
APAC (Asia Pacific) Region
·         The Online tutoring market in APAC Region is driven by increasing migration rates among students to more developed countries for the pursuit  of higher education.
·         Standardized exams, such as the SAT, the ACT, the GRE, and IELTS, are often mandatory for students to qualify for international colleges.
·         With the increased internet and online retail penetration, students make use of online tutoring platforms to prepare for these exams.
ROW (Rest of World) Region – also includes Central & South America
·         Region with fastest growth - with annual growth rate of almost 16%
·         Adoption of online tutoring services mainly for language learning courses  is one of the main drivers in developing countries such as Brazil, Chile, and Argentina 

The need for online tutoring is expected to reach massive levels as online tutorials gain popularity and as the nation faces budget cuts in education:

Market Share & New Models
·         The online tutoring market in North America was valued at USD 25.27 billion in 2016 – the highest among all four regions10
·         In the U.S.,11
o   it is now easier than ever for kids to find the help they need online. On-demand virtual tutors are an increasingly popular (and affordable) ways for kids to get help. Companies like Chegg and Princeton Review are competing against startups like MathCrunch to win kids’ loyalty and help them succeed.
o   Students are increasingly using their mobile phones to receive tutoring help.
o   The old model of finding a tutor and hiring that person to come to your house once a week no longer makes sense for this generation of students. They often need help immediately.  “They are now driven by the devices in their pockets and at home.”  Mobile has transformed the opportunity around tutoring.

Budget Cuts in Education12
Ron Ottinger is the Director of “STEM Next” and serves as Co-Chairman of the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Funders Network.  He is greatly concerned about the Trump administration’s proposed $9.2 billion spending cut in education and especially its effect on STEM learning. The expected weakening of government support in education will drive a further increase in the demand for online tutoring.


Benefits of Online Tutoring from Students’ Viewpoint13
Online tutoring offers a plethora of benefits to the student.  Especially where the student is serious about learning, and the tutor is well qualified and experienced, and the platform provides the tools necessary for a productive learning environment.  In such a situation, the student should expect the following benefits:

·         Able to attend a tutoring session from any location with an internet connection (and from any device if using an adequately equipped service)
·         Free to schedule his/her session when it best fits his/her schedule
·         Access powerful one-on-one learning opportunities from a subject expert of his/her choice
·         Access premium learning tools: video communication, interactive technology, instant messaging, and document sharing
·         Able to work and learn at a custom, personalized pace – even if student is a "challenged" or "accelerated" learner in the classroom
·         Learns in an environment that makes it possible to ask whatever questions student wants in order to accomplish his/her learning goals
·         Able to track achievements and progress with easy-to-use measurement tools
·         Have access to one of the best ways for students to tackle material and concepts in an individualized forum.

Benefits of Online Tutoring from Tutors’ Viewpoint 13
·         No travel time, can tutor from home
·         Students don't forget to bring materials – as they are at home with all their books and other resources
·         Tutor can easily share documents with students
·         Better  communication between tutor and parents
·         Tutor can reach more students, and build a stronger 'entrepreneurial' business
·         Tutor can record sessions for review
·         Improve skills in working with educational technology

Benefits of Online Tutoring from Colleges’ Viewpoint14
·         Better results for current students make college more popular with prospective students

This was the experience of Virtual College (VC) at Fort Hayes State University.  VC was created in 1999 and they implemented Smarthinking, Pearson’s online tutoring service in 2002.  Enrolment at VC went from 839 (1999) to 1,920 (2004) to 6,323 (2015).  Staff and students agree that the effectiveness of their online tutoring service played a key role in ensuring better student performance, which attracted more potential students to VC.

Based on curriculum, session options, tutor qualifications, learning tools, and cost, Reviews.com determined that the best online tutoring services of 2017 are provided by:
No. 1: WebWise Tutors
No. 6: Chegg Tutors
No. 11: Eduboard
No. 2: Skooli
No. 7: TutaPoint
No. 12: TutorVista
No. 3: Club Z! Tutoring
No. 8: Growing Stars
No. 13: Wyzant
No. 4: Eduwizards
No. 9: Princeton Review
No. 14: e-Tutor
No. 5: eTutorWorld
No. 10: MindLaunch
No. 15: Buddy School



Disadvantages of online tutoring that have been reported13 include:
·         Sometimes difficult to share materials;
·         Loss of body language and other signals;
·         Inefficient communication;
·         Technological barriers for clients;
·         Possible interruption in service;
·         Possible expense of platform.

Most if not all of these issues will be addressed as students gain access to better tools already available, and as technology comes up with even more advanced tools.

Cost and Marginalized Communities

A key issue relating to online tutoring, or any kind of tutoring for that matter, is the additional cost it brings to the basic cost of education. This is of particular concern to people from marginalized, underserved, and impoverished communities.  In the U.S., these communities are particularly vulnerable as the nation currently faces a proposed $9.2 billion spending cut in education.15

Ron Ottinger, Director of “STEM Next” and Co-Chairman of the national “STEM Funders Network” has suggested a number of things that needs to be done12 in view of the proposed budget cut.  To his list, we would like to add the need to promote online tutoring.

·         Schools and colleges could learn from the experience of Virtual College (described above) and implement an online tutoring service for their students;  Parents, teachers, and others could organize a volunteer /peer tutors network;
·         Parents, teachers, and others could organize partnerships between children in their communities and selected tutors;
·         Churches and other charitable organizations could organize fundraising activities to fund online tutorials for children in need;
·         Tutors who have a heart for helping the marginalized could contact and form partnership with marginalized communities.  One such tutor is Mr. Dan Jetter who has done work for this Foundation in the past, and is now online tutoring. Dan focuses on coaching STEM (especially in Chemistry, Physics, & Calculus) and also SAT/ACT Prep. Dan is based in Warren, N.J. – particularly in the NJ/NYC Metro Area.
·         Charitable organizations, other NGO’s, and government agencies could consider running capacity-building workshops for online tutors
·         We could  also consider the tons of educational resources that are available online and could greatly help struggling students.  These materials include: excellent video courses (including MOOCs), electronic resources and simulation models that could help STEM students and others to easily understand complex phenomena.  With reduced funding where field trips and experimentation become difficult, electronic simulation would be the next best bet.
o   There is a need to identify this vast quantity of resources, select the best and most relevant ones, categorize them according to educational levels in the US education system (as huge amounts of these resources are created by non-Americans, with a different education system). Online tutors in marginalized communities could be assisted in gaining access to these resources;
o   Charitable organizations could consider organizing workshops to familiarize tutors with above-mentioned resources;
o   Charitable organizations could also consider buying licenses for the use of online resources (including those that could be downloaded for offline use) – and make the resources available to tutors. Especially those serving children in disadvantaged communities.
·         Those in the U.S. and other developed countries wishing to assist with online tutoring in some of the marginalized areas of the developing world, may have to work through CPs (Connection Points). These CPs act as an intermediary between the onliners and the mostly offline locals who are based out of their own homes or, more likely, using computers in local RCs (Resource Centers). 
o    At the moment IT support is weak and cost of connectivity is too high to make online tutoring a viable option for many of the people in these marginalized areas 
o   The majority of envisioned Connection Points and Resource Centers mentioned above have yet to be set up and could be something that charitable organizations could help with
o    The major need in these areas is the training and coaching of offline and Resource Center tutors

Three Concluding Thoughts
·         This post  shows the online tutoring industry is a huge one and growing at an exponential rate
·         We wonder whether some (additional) appropriate regulations could be useful in protecting those involved
·         As we contemplate how far tutoring has progressed thus far, let’s give a thought for those in marginalized areas around the world

·         To view details of “the best online tutoring services of 2017,” please check out the 11th page of this document
·         For guidance on how to find local tutors, please check out the 14th last page of this (same) document
·         To contact, Mr. Dan Jetter mentioned above, please contact him via dan@oncalltutor.org or via www.OnCallTutor.org


Posted by: Dr. Nat Tuivavalagi

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