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Online Tuition vs Home Tutoring: 10 Key Differences

In today’s competitive global work environment getting good education is essential.

It is common knowledge that those children who enjoy the privilege of having a tutor have an upper hand. For many decades parents have used the services of home tutors to ensure their children’s academic success.

But, in the relatively recent years the advent of technology has enabled them to hire online tutors. Today online and traditional home tutoring practices coexist peacefully, but the online variety is becoming increasingly popular. So, let’s see if this rise in popularity is justified.

What are the key differences between online and home tutoring programs?

And, last but not least, is there a significant difference in the rates the two different types of tutors charge?


1. What is online tutoring and what is home tutoring?

I am certain that vast majority of you will be well-aware of the terms at hand. But just in case you aren’t let me summarize in a few words.

Briefly speaking, online tutoring is when a private tutor conducts his/her lessons via a virtual platform (e.g. Skype, Zoom etc.).

By comparison home tutoring is when either the tutor commutes to the student’s house in order to conduct the lesson, or vice versa.


2. Which one is more convenient? Online or home tutoring?

You, have probably guessed the answer. Majority of students who have tried both state that they consider online tutoring to be more convenient than the traditional home tutoring.

The main reason for this convenience is a relatively more flexible schedule.

Students and tutors do not need to commute to any specific location, they can attend the lesson from the comfort of their own home and if either of them is unable to attend the lesson due to an emergency they can contact each other and reschedule it.

Rescheduling is far more difficult if one of them has to commute 40 minutes to get to the lesson.


3. You can choose from thousands of online tutors.

If you opt for an online tutor you are no longer bound by your location, so you can pick a tutor who lives in any part of the world (as long as the time zone difference is not a problem).

This globalized marketplace enables you to choose from thousands of tutors that fit your individual needs, not just from the ones that happen to live nearby.

Moreover, even the students who live in inaccessible, rural areas can have access to online tutoring services (provided they have an adequate internet connection).


4. Tutors usually charge less online.

According to one report online tutors in the UK charge approximately 75% of the price they usually charge for the “face to face” lessons.

This reduction of price is caused by the fact that they have to compete with the tutors from all around the world not just those that live in their area.

As well as this, they don’t waste time commuting so they are able to squeeze in more lessons into their schedule, which means they might be more willing to reduce their hourly fee.

To have an idea on the tuition rates, check out our Tuition Rates page.


5. Which one is better for teaching hands on skills?

Home tutoring takes the cake in this category. It is rather difficult to teach practical skills e.g. musical instruments, dancing via the internet, or to show exact workings in mathematical equations.

In these types of lessons tutor might actually need to correct their students’ handling of the instrument or adjust their posture which can be time-consuming online, if at all possible.


6. All students get distracted.

If students are left to their own devices during the online lesson their eye is more likely to wander towards their smartphone.

And if they place it in a surreptitious position it might be quite a while before the tutor realizes that the student is scrolling through the Instagram instead of listening to them.

This is far less likely to be a problem during the home tutoring session. Distractions become even more of a problem in case of very young students who have notoriously short attention span.


7. Students may cheat at the test.

Those tutors who occasionally like to test their students in order to monitor their progress might find it difficult to do so online.

In case of oral test there is little difference, unless the students have their cheat sheets attached to the screen (but even then, an experienced tutor can spot their eyes darting to that spot).

However, when it comes to any type of written test it is always better to invigilate it in person.


8. Do you trust your internet connection?

Face to face lessons will always beat online lessons in image and audio quality, no matter how fast your internet connection is. With home tutoring there is no risk of video buffering, or sound cutting off.

Even if there is a nation-wide power outage the home tutor can still carry on delivering the valuable information.


9. Online tutoring helps improve your child’s technology skills

Knowing your way around a computer is an essential skill nowadays. And some argue that attending online lessons regularly improves the students’ technology skills.

That does not mean that home tutors don’t use computers during their lessons, they certainly do.

However the students do not get their hands on the machine themselves, unless of course, they are being tutored in computer science.


10. What happens online, stays online (for later use).

During home tutoring session it is always useful to take notes in order to remember what the tutor was speaking about.

However you can’t write down everything, and it may be the part that you missed that ends up making the most difference.

By comparison, some online tutors may allow you to record important parts of their lectures (make sure to ask first), so that you have access to the crucial information in case you need to refresh your memory before an exam.


Is there a deciding factor?

Both online tutoring and home tutoring have advantages and disadvantages.

The type of tutoring service you choose depends on your individual needs and how well equipped you are technologically. If chosen appropriately either one can lead to a desired result.

For more informative guides, read also:

7 myths about home based learning debunked
Self-guided learning: Best 3 e-learning resources
7 tips for better online learning during the Covid-19 outbreak period
6 reasons why tuition is necessary in Singapore

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About Author

Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.