Online tutoring and online learning may be the future, but lots will have to change before we get there.
As practically every sector of society adjusts to a new normal, many will be wondering which aspects of their lives will return to how they were before COVID-19, and which will not. The business world has had to adapt new strategies to manage staff and supply chains, and some of the changes may outlive the virus. In the education sphere, the main thrust of the changes wrought by the virus is for learning to take place online. So, is this a temporary reconfiguration, or are we looking at the future of education?
There’s no doubt that the worldwide online tutoring industry has ballooned in the last few years. While this is by no means globally uniform, an uptick in STEM-based jobs has contributed to increased demand for STEM subjects at school and university level. This can be seen within the wider trend towards greater integration of technology in the economy. It’s also reflective of an increasingly competitive, exam-based education system.
It’s tempting to foresee a future where everything takes place on the internet, and at face value, there are obvious benefits for education. However, in the UK, while the general uptake of remote learning and e-resources might increase post-Coronavirus, it is doubtful that online education will replace brick-and-mortar schooling any time soon. It seems pertinent that in countries like China, where there is an academically intense culture, tutoring is sought on top of and not instead of regular education.
While the number of parents choosing to home school their children has skyrocketed in recent years, it is by no means the norm. There are countless aspects of regular education that play a function in society and can’t be readily replaced by remote or online learning – not least of which is the notion of attending a physical space. The cost of childcare makes it unfeasible for many working families. Consequently, reopening schools is a sine qua non for any strategy to reopen the economy after the pandemic. Moreover, there is the social aspect of school, and all the myriad ways in which peer groups help to develop children into competent and happy adults.
Another roadblock is internet access itself. The UK ranks 44th in the world for average internet speed. Some rural/remote communities still lack access to the level of internet speed necessary to facilitate synchronous online tutoring. Improving broadband is a component of the current UK government’s plan to ‘level up’ the economy, and so we may see this situation improve. However, until high-quality internet access is the norm across the UK, it’s simply not realistic for online learning to replace regular schooling.
The trend may be generally in the direction of greater use of online resources and remote learning. Nonetheless, before we see anything approaching a full-scale shift to online education, more than just education will have to change. Moreover, specifically with online tutoring, these changes are likely to evolve slowly over time, and won’t come as a single revolutionary moment.
In the meantime, the strengths of one-on-one tutoring are unchanged. What brick-and-mortar schooling can’t always offer is time – in the case both of the student struggling in one area, and the student who excels and wants to be challenged further. Matching a student with a dedicated and experienced subject specialist can be the extra injection needed to help either plug gaps in understanding, or push for higher and more advanced qualifications.
Our 5-step approach for matching students to tutors begins with a free consultation to understand the needs of the student in detail. Based on analysis of those needs, we will progress with a bespoke plan. We aim to find a tutor within a week and decide based on personal as well as professional suitability.
Contact us to discuss whether one of our excellent tutors could help your child thrive.