The role of online tuition this academic year

Online tuition is expected to reach an all-time high amongst pupils and parents in 2021

The expected surge in digital tuition is largely due to the pandemic and the effect that national lockdowns are having on the academic syllabus. Teachers are finding that certain pupils are further behind than others, and the whole class may be suffering by not completing the required content on time.  

On the flip side, this experience has opened up teachers’ and students’ eyes to the possibility of online learning. Where previously it was seen as a last resort alternative, now, the method is viewed as perfectly acceptable and in a few ways, advantageous. It’s hard to believe that this time last year, many could not have envisioned how online learning would work, while now, both pupils and teachers could set up a Zoom call and share documents in their sleep.

The distractions of schooling online

There have been countless studies about digital distractions in the online classroom. On average, a student with access to devices such as laptops, mobiles or tablets waste a fifth of the lesson time on other activities, and will also pick up their devices, on average, 11 times per lesson for non-class related reasons (i.e texting or social media). 

Online tuition plays a role here; presenting the opportunity for one-on-one lesson time with a qualified teacher where the sole focus is on the student. Individual lessons using an interactive whiteboard stops any outside interference from taking place since all of the student’s concentration bis focused on conversing with the tutor. 

Year group suspensions

Even when the country was not in full lockdown, schools remained the centre of attention in the coronavirus debate. They found it very hard to abide by rules, with pressure from both sides as to whether to stay open or not. The solution has meant that, in many cases, whole classes or year groups were told to stay home to isolate. For years containing A-level and GCSE students, this can be a big problem. 

Some pupils have been affected particularly badly, having to isolate multiple times. This has created a large disparity in the amount of teaching between students across the country, and even between pupils who used to be classmates. It’s the difference in levels of teaching that will prompt so many to hire a tutor this academic year. 

The two most prominent reasons why parents are likely to hire a tutor for their child are:

  • Their grades are slipping or they’re falling behind the rest of their class
  • They have a test or exam around that corner that needs urgent attention

Exam uncertainty

We already know that the 2021 national exams have been cancelled and replaced by teacher assessments. Many call this a better solution than the algorithm used last year

With uncertainty as to how this may play out, there’s no doubt that the pupils will want to be as prepared for this as possible, and with many face-to-face tutors unable to make the visits to a student’s household, they’ll look online for the help that they need. 

This is where companies such as Sherpa, an online tuition platform, are benefitting students the most. Sherpa offers one-to-one private tuition online. They will be particularly useful this summer as all of their tutors are qualified UK teachers who are familiar with the teacher assessment idea and can help students reach the maximum grade possible. 

What will the future look like?

All things considered, the online tutoring market is set to grow rapidly this year, and we should be expecting large capital and technological investment into it. Given the data and current situation, many educational experts state that a new hybrid model for education will emerge, encompassing both online learning and face-to-face lessons in school.

Successful transitions within world-leading universities are seen to have taken place. For example, Zhejiang University managed to get 5,000 courses online just two weeks after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.

“I believe that the integration of IT in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education,” says Wang Tao, vice president of Tencent Cloud and vice president of Tencent Education.


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