First, some definitions: Virtual tutoring differs from in-person tutoring because the tutor and student(s) will be communicating via the internet via Skype, Zoom, or some other, similar program; Synchronous means that the tutoring/teaching is happening in real time as opposed to, for example, the tutor responding to a student’s work at some later time with a grade and/or comments.
Here are advantages, some of them inter-related, of synchronous virtual tutoring (SVT).
- No travel required. So all of the tutor’s and student’s time can be devoted to teaching and learning. Any actual travel costs are virtually eliminated.
- Better tutor selection. The availability of qualified tutors is limited only by the internet’s reach. That’s not always so for in-person tutors, and that’s a particularly important issue for students that need help in more than one subject or have specific learning needs. Because SVT increases the pool of qualified tutors, relative scarcity isn’t as large a factor in tutoring costs, an advantage for students and their families. Further, SVT helps tutors reach a geographically unlimited potential student base.
- Convenience. Once a mutually agreeable time is found, SVT is can be incredibly convenient. Either or both of the tutor and student could be traveling or even on vacation, and because SVT educational materials tend to be digital, neither party has to transport them from place to place.
- iGen approved. Since SVT is intrinsically an internet-connectivity phenomenon, it speaks and teaches the language and employs the software platforms used by internet-connected students and business people. Students learn how to use digital platforms strategically and effectively, a skill that can serve them well in their future business endeavors.
- It keeps a record. Because they’re on-line, SVT sessions can be easily recorded for future reference.
- No coronavirus. SVT severely limits that interaction’s chance of transmission of the coronavirus or any other contagious malady between the student, the tutor, and the physical environments in which the tutoring session takes place.
While SVT isn’t the only potentially beneficial method of supplementing and enhancing learning for students, it has some distinct advantages that make it an important part of a student’s toolbox.