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Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Tutoring

There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major educational disruption not just in the United Kingdom, but all over the globe.

The closure of educational institutions is estimated to have affected over 70% of the world’s student population.

Of course, the continuity of learning has to be maintained so schools have utilised the simplest, most convenient solution: online tutoring.

Some people remain unsure about the effectiveness of online tutoring compared to that of traditional in-person tutoring, but online tutoring is nothing new.

In fact, around 90% of all corporations opt for online tutoring over traditional tutoring nowadays, compared to only 4% in 1995. This trend is mirrored by the tutoring choices families are now making for their children.  Kumon, Explore Learning and Tutoring Heroes all have considerable numbers of students opting for their online tutoring services.  

If you are still not convinced, read on as we attempt to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of online tutoring to determine its effectiveness.


Advantages of Online Tutoring

No learning system is perfect, but the advantages of online tutoring heavily outweigh the disadvantages.  Let’s go over the most notable ones.


Reduced Costs of Learning

According to Training Mag, of the $83 billion that made up 2019’s learning expenses in the U.S., $29.6 billion were associated with travel, equipment, and learning facilities.

Online tutoring cuts a sizeable percentage of learning expenses, including the cost of a facility, hiring a tutor, travel, printing costs for curriculum materials, and so on.

Moreover, it’s estimated that one hour of 1-1 online tutoring is equivalent to about half a day’s learning in the school classroom.  Put differently, 1-1 online tutoring boosts productivity and is, therefore, very effective.


Way More Convenient

Let’s be honest; no one enjoys having their sleep disrupted by a persistent alarm clock that won’t stop blaring until you’re jolted awake.

There are days when our bodies and minds just crave one more hour of sleep to function properly.  Equally, there are days when once home from school, children and parents alike just want to stay inside and not venture out into the cold and dark.  On such days, online learning comes to the rescue!

Another advantage to remaining in the comfort of your own home is that no time is wasted driving to school or a tutoring centre – one less chauffeuring duty for Mum and Dad!  With online tutoring comes great convenience.


You Set Your Own Schedule

Set your own schedule

As well as being more convenient, online tutoring isn’t as restrictively timetabled as traditional learning, and works alongside your own schedule and that of your child.

This is especially beneficial to busy families who feel like there are never enough hours in the day.   


No Time Wasted on Travel

Online study save time from traveling

Whether you’re the tutor or the student, you no longer need worry about driving to and from a tutoring centre or your tutor/student’s home.  This, in turn, will save a considerable amount of time that can add to your productivity.

From a tutor’s perspective, time is money.  The more time you spend driving, the less money you make.  Not to mention spending money on fuel.

Online tutoring spares you this particular waste of time and money and enables you to take back-to-back tutoring sessions from the comfort of your home.   In turn this makes online tutoring cheaper for families who also benefit from not having to travel to the tutor’s home or a tutoring centre.


Prompt Results and Feedback

Prompt Results and Feedback

Another benefit of 1-1 online tutoring is instant feedback.  The typical UK classroom has 28 students to 1 teacher, inevitably limiting the teacher’s ability to give individualised feedback to students.  Tutoring Centres such as Kumon, Explore Learning and Kip McGrath also have high student to tutor ratios (commonly at least 6 students to each tutor), which limits the amount of feedback students receive.

When an e-learning student takes a test or quiz, they can see their results instantly.  With traditional learning methods, students take tests and then must wait for their tutors to grade them – this may take a while, depending on the number of students and the teacher’s other responsibilities.

Tests and quizzes aside, feedback can be received through online learning much faster than with traditional learning.  Students can ask a question and receive an answer almost instantaneously.  Discussions between groups of students (with a tutor facilitating) can take place without anyone having to leave their homes.


Pre-Recorded Sessions

Pre-recorded sessions

Online learning means that tutors aren’t required to teach the same sessions over and over again; they can just record one session and upload the recording for other students.

This benefits both the tutor and the students: the tutor doesn’t need to exert unnecessary effort, and the students can re-watch the recordings as many times as they please until they have fully absorbed the content.

As previously mentioned, not all classes and courses are pre-recorded; some are conducted live via platforms such as Zoom and Groupworld.  Whilst this format requires students to attend at an agreed time, this type of 1-1 online tutoring provides students optimum support during which they can ask their tutor questions about their learning and make even faster progress.   


Higher Retention Rate

Higher retention rate

One of the most notable benefits of online tutoring is that it utilises multimedia more effectively than traditional learning, and the use of multimedia undoubtedly helps boost retention rates.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the Research Institute of America, online learning helps increase students’ retention rate by up to 60%. Still think e-learning isn’t effective?

With online learning, tutors can combine text with pictures and videos to better communicate the material so that students are able to comprehend more efficiently.

There are numerous tools and forms of multimedia that can be integrated into e-learning.  Most of these tools are not accessible with traditional learning, and if they are, the limited timeframe for teaching can hinder their use.


Regularly Updated Content

Regularly updated content

Traditional learning relies mainly on textbooks.  The problem with textbooks is that they can take a long time to write and publish, which is why providing up-to-date content on a regular basis is fairly challenging.  Moreover, students are often given just one textbook, which can be rather limiting. 

This problem doesn’t exist in the online learning model. Online courses are easy to update compared to physical textbooks, and so the vast majority of online course content is up to date and more varied in nature. 


You Pick Your Teacher

Pick your Favorite Teacher

Teachers make or break a class.  Sadly, traditional learning doesn’t allow students to choose their teachers: they are stuck with whoever is assigned to the class or the tutoring centre.

Being tutored by an unlikeable teacher can be a difficult experience for students.  Whether the teacher talks too slowly, lacks passion for their subject or can’t explain key concepts in an easy-to-understand manner, difficulties of this kind inevitably affect the value of the learning experience.   

Luckily, with online tutoring, your child doesn’t have to take classes with the type of teacher we’ve just alluded to; you can opt for the tutor that best suits their needs.

The great thing about online tutoring is that you can have lessons with a tutor who’s based in a completely different part of the country.  Your family may live in London, but your child’s tutor could be in Manchester, Exeter or Glasgow; you have access to the best tutors in the country, not just those who live in your area.  The options are limitless!


Boosts Discipline

Boost descipline

What may be less obvious than the benefits mentioned above is that e-learning promotes self-discipline.  With traditional learning, most teachers find that they are constantly pestering students to concentrate on their work.

With online learning, there is no pestering, and so students learn to overcome procrastination and develop their self-discipline.  Making the commitment to meet with their tutor every week at a set time helps children learn to honour engagements and take ownership of their learning and development. 


Disadvantages of Online Tutoring

Now that we’ve mentioned the most notable benefits of online tutoring, let’s talk about the limitations and drawbacks associated with the online tutoring model.


Limited Social Interaction

Limited social interaction

Social interaction can be limited with e-learning, but it’s not absent.  We’d say that it’s just a little different from what you may perceive by the term ‘social interaction’.

For instance, instead of discussing concepts and topics with classmates in a schoolroom, your child will be discussing them within the confines of online forums.

Instead of meeting a tutor in a tutoring centre or at their home or your home, your child will be meeting them on online whiteboards such as Groupworld and Zoom.  In fact, 1-1 online tutoring provides more direct interaction than visiting a tutoring centre where the student to tutor ratio is commonly 6:1 or higher.  With 1-1 online tutoring your child has the full attention of their tutor and so can discuss their learning in far more detail.

However, as mentioned previously, some courses are based entirely on pre-recorded materials.  Such courses tend to have the most limited form of social interaction.  It’s also worth noting that several educational institutions are starting to implement hybrid courses, which are courses that combine online and in-person learning.

Online tutoring offers students and tutors varying options in terms of the extent of social interaction. It offers something for everyone.


Too Many Distractions

Too many distractions

In a classroom, it’s hard to be distracted for long, as the teacher’s physical presence tends to keep the children attentive. This may not always be the case with online learning.

Despite its convenience, online learning opens a fairly large door of distractions. Your child may get distracted by their phone, the temptation to browse the internet or a mere notification.  They may get distracted by family members talking or walking around.

If your child routinely gets distracted during online sessions, it will slow down their progress, so it’s best to set them up to take online classes somewhere quiet and free from distractions.  However, a skilled online tutor will know when your child is distracted and will have strategies to keep them focused and motivated throughout their lessons. 


Technology-Related Issues

Technology related issues

Technology is remarkably convenient, but it’s not always reliable. If you engage in live online courses, it’s a prerequisite to have a reliable internet connection.

The constant lagging and glitching of audio and video associated with a poor internet connection can be detrimental to your child’s ability to make the most of their 1-1 online tutoring lessons. 

To truly reap the benefits of online learning, you will need to ensure that your internet connection is stable and fast and that your device’s camera, microphone, and speakers are working, so that your child can communicate effectively with their tutor.


You’re Fully Responsible

Self responsibility increase

As we mentioned previously, online learning lacks the physical presence of a teacher to ensure that students are concentrating on their work. This puts a greater level of responsibility for their learning onto the student, which relates to the development of self-discipline mentioned earlier.

If a student is easily distracted or has the tendency to procrastinate – which we all do to some extent – it will make online learning more challenging.

The keys to reaping the benefits of online learning are organisation, time management and self-discipline.  These are all excellent skills that your child will pick up almost subconsciously while studying with a 1-1 tutor.

Initially, the need for these skills may make online learning more challenging but by providing your child with the opportunity to develop them now, you are ensuring that they will benefit in the future at college, university, and the workplace.  Self-discipline and responsibility are simply two of the best traits your child can develop.



In summary, online tutoring has a lot to offer, from convenience, flexibility, and reduced costs to a wider range of learning materials, fast feedback, and higher retention rates.

Is it more effective than the traditional learning approach? In a lot of ways, yes, but not entirely.  

Whilst the physical presence of a tutor plays a huge role in the learning process, highly effective online platforms such as Zoom and Groupworld mean that 1-1 online tutoring lessons can feel almost like having an in-person tutoring lesson.    

With self-discipline and a good sense of responsibility, a student can benefit tremendously from online learning.

Hopefully, the information provided in this article has helped diminish any uncertainty you may have felt towards online tutoring. If you have any questions, please feel free to let us know.

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During her time at primary school, Sukirith struggled with maths finding it difficult to truly understand the more challenging topics.  Despite these initial struggles, Suki worked hard to overcome her low confidence in maths and achieved top grades in both GCSE and A-level maths!  Suki has shown that it is possible to turn a weakness into a strength and that lacking confidence in maths at an early age does not need to determine future success in the subject.  Suki has since helped students struggling in maths at her local primary school and she is currently completing a BSc in Economics at Aston University.  Suki is friendly, patient and understanding of the struggles students face in their learning and she takes great pride in the fact students love their online lessons with her.


Uswah is an incredibly compassionate and enthusiastic tutor who embodies Tutoring Heroes’ core philosophy of helping others.  Uswah prides herself on helping students lose their fear of maths and English, replacing this fear with a newfound enjoyment of the subjects.  As an active member of her University’s Muslim Society, Uswah has played a leading role in raising over £6,000 for charity.  In addition to this, she volunteers weekly for the homeless charity, Strathclyde Street Care.  Uswah is able to build incredibly inspiring and productive relationships with her students, who benefit not only from her subject expertise and tutoring skills, but her ability to act as a role model.


Tiana has volunteered as a primary school teaching assistant, been an Economics Subject Leader, and mentored children through her roles as House Prefect and Year 7 Prefect during her A-levels, and so she has extensive experience working with and teaching students.  Tiana has a natural ability and willingness to form genuine relationships with her students.  Due to her experiences, and having gone through the 11+, GCSEs and A-levels herself, Tiana understands exactly how challenging preparing for exams can be.  This is why she is so passionate about instilling perseverance into students, through her patience and enthusiasm, along with the belief that they can do anything they work hard at.  As well as her academic success, Tiana is an avid singer and enjoys playing netball for her university team.


Currently studying Maths at the University of Strathclyde, Zaynab is a tutor who excels at building positive relationships with her students and instilling them with confidence.   Recently described by a parent as being ‘so thorough and yet so fun’, Zaynab excels at making maths both accessible and enjoyable for our students.


 Jessica is currently studying Clinical Pharmacology at St George’s University of London.  She is an avid reader, netball player and Formula 1 enthusiast.  Jessica has always had an affinity for teaching and learning.  Throughout both secondary school and sixth form, Jessica took part in multiple tutoring, paired reading, and peer mentoring schemes to help support other students.  These experiences helped her to gain valuable skills which are essential for tutoring.  Jessica really understands the positive impact 1-to-1 tutoring can have on a student.  She believes that tutoring is not only about improving the student’s performance in a subject, but also about instilling self-belief in them.  Jessica is committed to being as patient and supportive as possible to ensure each student can achieve their goals.


Aliceah is currently studying for a degree in mathematics at the University of Sussex.  She loves sharing her passion for maths with her students and has a wide range of experience supporting young people to achieve their ambitions, including through her role as Widening Participation Ambassador at Sussex University.  Outside of her love for maths and helping younger students, Aliceah is a keen artist (achieving A* in A-level fine art), photographer and crochet enthusiast!


Ariana is a second-year biochemistry student at the University of Nottingham and she loves all things maths and science.  In her spare time, she enjoys developing her artistic skills, such as: creative writing, photography and playing the cello.  Arianna is a strong believer in the value of maintaining a diverse skill set and she uses her creativity to personalise the learning for her different students.  She is acutely aware of the importance of demonstrating patience and compassion to bring the best out of her students, which ensures that they make excellent progress in both their subject skills and self-confidence.


Autumn has a stellar academic background, holding a BSc in Biomedical Sciences, MSc in Psychology and MSc in Phytochemistry.  Autumn has a talent for instilling a passion for learning in her students and being able to explain challenging concepts in simple ways; we are very lucky to have Autumn as a member of the Tutoring Heroes team.  In her spare time Autumn plays the saxophone and is a keen diver and martial artist.


When it comes to tutoring, Ben has lots of experience from both the student and teacher perspective.  Currently completing a Masters in Engineering, Ben has practised maths for many years at a high level, enhancing his understanding of the foundations of mathematics, which he loves passing on to his students.  However, learning has not always come easy to Ben and he has first-hand experience of struggling in school and needing to catch up with his peers.  As a result, it is easy for Ben to empathise with students who are currently struggling with their learning.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing the guitar and a wide range of sports including football and table tennis.


Alexis is currently a Year 2 Undergraduate at New York University, pursuing a double major in Economics and Sociology at the College of Arts and Science.  In secondary school, Alexis achieved stellar results in her A-levels, with straight As across the board.  In particular, Alexis enjoys mathematics and literature, and strives to share her enthusiasm with her students.   Alexis has significant experience tutoring both in a private and voluntary capacity, and is known to be exceptionally friendly and patient, often going the extra mile to ensure students have a deeper understanding of the subject.  Beyond academia, Alexis loves hiking across new terrain, trying her hand at embroidery, and watching the intensely thrilling sport that is competitive figure skating.  Needless to say, she looks forward to meeting and interacting with her students during their weekly lessons!


Chloe recently completed A Levels in Maths, Psychology and Art, achieving grades A*, A, B. She is now at university studying Primary Education in the hope of becoming a Primary School teacher.  Chloe struggled with English in school, but with the right support was able to achieve a grade 8 (A*) in her GCSEs.  Therefore, Chloe is aware of the importance of extra tuition for children and strives to not only improve their understanding but also their confidence.  Throughout school, Chloe gained experience working with children, including SEND children and young adults, and has recently been teaching on placement for her degree.  Chloe is very patient, calm and encouraging and thoroughly enjoys seeing her pupils make progress.


Farah has significant experience helping children improve their skills and understanding across a range of subjects (English, Maths, Coding and TOEFL), as well as being a young leader at her local Girl Guiding group.  A lover of the English language, Farah is currently studying for a Masters in Speech and Language Therapy.  Farah is an incredibly friendly, calm and patient tutor, who takes pride in the fact her students love their online sessions with her.


Grace is currently studying Architecture using her talents in art and design, combining them with her love and aptitude in maths, English and history to help to create her projects.  Her university career follows on from her successful school and college years where she gained the highest grades in her GCSEs and A-levels.  Grace has a wealth of experience working with younger students to help instil confidence and enjoyment - from peer mentoring, sports coaching and English and maths tutoring.  Having recently worked through exam processes herself, Grace understands the difficulties and pressure on young people, and is passionate about supporting students to achieve their full potential.  Grace strives to create a positive and reassuring learning environment where she can support her students with the most appropriate learning strategies and techniques for each individual student.  Grace is very proud of the partnerships she has built with her students, and how the subjects she supports them with often become her students’ stronger subjects.


Gregory is currently a second-year law student (LLB) at King's College London.  However, getting into such a prestigious program was no easy task.  Prior to entering University, he would often burn the midnight oil, pushing himself to go above and beyond his studies. His efforts were not in vain, obtaining straight As in his GCSEs and A-levels, and securing a place at such a prestigious institution in London.  Gregory is motivated by wanting to ensure his students do not have to go through their school studies alone, and wishes to be there for them both as a tutor, and a source of inspiration.   Gregory prides himself on being patient and kind with those he is tutoring, focusing on understanding rather than mere memorisation of concepts.  He believes that with a strong foundation, all students can build up their understanding and tackle harder problems without difficulty.


Mel is currently studying for her Masters in Theoretical Physics, and enjoys being able to pass her enthusiasm for maths onto her students.  From experience, Mel appreciates the importance of having confidence in your own abilities in order to succeed.  This inspires Mel to focus her teaching on building her students’ confidence, knowing that it will in turn improve their maths.  In her spare time, Mel loves to read and crochet, as well as being a gym enthusiast.


Prisha has a fantastic record of academic achievement in not only English and maths, but across the board, which makes her a very well-rounded tutor.  Prisha is currently pursuing a BSc in Product Design, which deepens her understanding of maths (and how it is applied) which enables her to bring maths to life for her students.  As an avid reader, English language and literature has always held a special place for Prisha, and this passion helped her to score full marks in the IELTS test.  Having worked on educational projects with young people, she is experienced at how to interact with them and explain concepts in a manner that is not only fun, but also does not overwhelm them.  Prisha works hard to ensure lessons with her students are not considered a chore and strongly believes that with the right support, every child is capable of great achievement.  Outside of education, Prisha plays for her university basketball team and is also a big fan of baking and dancing.


Rabia is a highly organised individual who, throughout her GCSEs and A-levels, had been a peer-mentor to younger students, aiding them to build confidence with their reading and writing skills.  Through her Audiology degree at university, in which she supports patients of varying ages, Rabia has attained an appreciation of how to modify and adapt her communication style, in order to facilitate effective communication with different individuals, something that she also utilises in her tutoring sessions.  Being an avid reader, Rabia spends her free time reading books of different genres and time periods, and enjoys discussing with others the themes and messages in a particular novel/text.


Shair has a notable range of English tutoring experience across the student spectrum, teaching from KS2 and up to GCSE level.  Her aspirations to make a difference in the field of education continue to grow.  As well as through Tutoring Heroes, she teaches a range of students at her local tuition centre, ensuring they also receive the 1-to-1 support they need in order to fuel their progression in English.  An avid reader with an immense love to learn about different cultures and writings, Shair is currently in her final year of studying BA Comparative literature.  Shair is an approachable, friendly and considerate tutor, who ensures her students leave their lessons feeling confident and ready to take on new academic challenges.


Sipeng was originally educated in China where she developed a very strong understanding of maths.  After moving to the UK, she achieved the highest grade (A*) in GCSE and A-level maths.  Crucially, in addition to her strong maths ability, Sipeng has significant experience of tutoring and inspiring younger students to achieve beyond their expectations.  Sipeng recognises the positive impact that several teachers have had on her own education, and is driven by the desire to help her students in a similar way, so that they too develop confidence in their maths ability and achieve higher grades as a result.


On moving to the UK aged 11, Shatha found that her maths skills were behind the standard expected, so Shatha has first-hand experience of what it feels like to struggle with maths.  Despite this initial struggle, Shatha achieved a Grade 8 in GCSE Maths and Further Maths, and an A grade in A-level Maths, proving how it is possible to turn a weakness into a strength.  Shatha has a range of experience helping children, including two years’ tutoring at a Kumon centre and volunteering at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.  A keen tennis player and trilinguist (English, Arabic and Spanish), Shatha particularly loves watching her students overcome their fear of maths, just as she did.