Private tutoring vs video is an argument that is becoming more and more common as we move into this wonderful, beautiful age of technology. And it’s one that I have strong feelings about (on both sides).
There is a place for private tutoring to reign supreme, and there is a place for video and online resources that is quickly becoming more dominant. We at Simply Maths offer plenty of both, and in our experience there are upsides and downsides everywhere.
So let’s have a look and think about when it might be better to go one way or the other.
The most common argument: “The Personal Touch”
The biggest argument for tutoring over video is obviously the personal factor. The ability to actually speak with someone face to face. You get the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered on the spot, whenever your tutor happens to be here.
Video just can’t compete here. Even live video chat pales in comparison with having someone in the flesh who can sit and talk with you. It’s why tutoring is so popular in the first place.
Winner: Private Tutor
The cost of a private tutor is somewhat of a limiting factor for many students. Many tutors cost upwards of $50, going as high as $100 or even more. There really isn’t a way around this; you pay for one on one, undivided attention.
Video on the other hand drastically reduces the pricing. Video is scalable and reproducible, meaning it costs a fraction of the amount of private tutoring.
As an example, a typical VCE student who receives private tutoring from Simply Maths pays around $250-$300 per month, whereas the gold tier of our online program costs as little as $97 per month – much less than half the price.
Tutors are often flexible and happy to work with their students’ schedules, which is what makes them so easy to work with. Whenever they can, tutors will usually rearrange times and days happily to make sure you get your tutoring once (or twice, or whatever) per week.
Video obviously takes it about ten steps further – it’s never not available. Day or night, from anywhere in the world, you are able to access video content if it’s online. Not to mention, it doesn’t get annoyed if you need a reminder about the same content 6 times over.
A private tutor can answer almost any question (within the relevant content) that you throw at them. They adapt, see new ideas, and can show you creative ways to answer the question that make sense to you.,
Video obviously doesn’t quite have this luxury, although there are ways to fix that. Video content is set in stone. But with technology advancing at such a great rate, it’s not difficult to get around this problem. Members of our online program, for example, post their questions within a private Facebook group where I can see them. It usually only takes me a few minutes to whip up a video with a full explanation and upload it for them. It’s not quite as good as being next to them and helping them, but it’s close.
Winner: Private Tutor
Volume of students
This one is a bit of a personal argument. As a one on one tutor, I am able to help 15-25 students per week. Which is great, and I was really happy with that, as I could do phenomenal work with them.
Since moving into the online realm as well, I help close to 500 students in a similar way. Through downloadable resources, online programs, webinars, videos, worksheet and stacks more – it’s not to the same degree as one on one tutoring, but it begs the question.
I can do a good job helping hundreds (or even thousands) of students through online resources, but only 20 or so with one on one tutoring.
On paper, it seems like video is the winner. But the personal one on one help is something that should NEVER be underestimated. Every student will have preferences, and some will handle consuming video content much better than in person, while others will be the total opposite.
Realistically, the best option is a melding of the two. Which is what our online programs aim to do – provide full access to video content and resources, with a personal tutor ready to step in and help out whenever students need. Which we think is the best way to combine two great educational resources for the most complete educational experience.
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