Three Reasons Why Online Tutoring is Here to Stay

March 30, 2022 by Tas F
Image Tutorfair Foundation is now two years into its online tutoring adventure. Even as schools and homes have opened up, online programmes are stronger than ever. Our new Programme Manager, Molly, took a look at why online tutoring is still so popular.

Before March 2020, most tutoring took place in schools or homes: students and tutors met up face-to-face, to teach and learn in-person. The arrival of the pandemic effectively pulled the plug on sessions like these. Over the first lockdown, schools and tutors alike scrambled to adapt to the new reality, moving lessons online.

It’s fair to say that many tutors initially dreaded the change! They worried that online lessons would be clunky, or impersonal, or plagued with technical difficulties. It wasn’t clear whether digital platforms could ever work as a reasonable substitute for face-to-face learning - or whether certain subjects could be taught properly at all.

Two years later, in-person sessions have the green light to go ahead once again. But the sector is changed forever: many tutors have opted to continue offering lessons online indefinitely, especially for older students. It’s likely that, going forward, a significant amount of UK tutoring will take place exclusively online. 

Why the change in attitudes, over two short years? Well, it turns out that online tutoring has quite a lot going for it, after all…

1. The convenience

It’s no exaggeration to say that, for tutors, teaching online can halve the time taken out for their day for lessons! Where previously a tutor might have commuted for thirty minutes (or more) each way to teach for just an hour, now they can log in from their desks at home. Lessons can be taught back-to-back, with no travel time between them. 

For those who work part-time or full-time as tutors, this can be the difference between squeezing one lesson into your afternoon, and comfortably fitting in two or three. And for our volunteers here at the Tutorfair Foundation, it makes the biggest difference of all! Volunteering online takes just an hour out of tutors’ evenings each week. And with students also now able to log into their lessons from home, after school, the online format offers a huge amount of flexibility.

Volunteering may once have been tricky to schedule for those working 9-5 jobs. It's now completely possible, opening it up to people who may not have considered it in the past.

2. The 'Tutoring Radius'

Those who tutored pre-pandemic will be familiar with the experience of selecting a radius on a map to indicate their location and how far they were prepared to travel to teach. In-person lessons came with a significant geographical limitation: tutors could only feasibly offer lessons within their city or area. For bigger cities, they might only be able to select a certain borough, or quarter.

The advent of online tutoring has dissolved those geographical boundaries. Tutors can now take on students based anywhere they wish! Similarly, at the Tutorfair Foundation, our London-based students are matched with volunteers from all corners of the UK.

The possibilities opened up by the removal of geographical restrictions are perhaps only just beginning to reveal themselves. Areas of the UK where tutoring is a flourishing industry - like London - will be increasingly able to pool resources with more rural areas where students don’t have ready access to tutors. Similarly, tutors themselves will have increasing freedom and flexibility to live where they choose, confident in their ability to find online students regardless of where they are physically based.

3. Learning styles

There will always be a need, and a demand, for face-to-face tutoring. After all, every student is different, and some students simply learn better that way.

But the opposite is true, too: some students genuinely flourish when taught online. It may be that they are fitting an hour of tutoring each week into an otherwise busy schedule. Maybe they simply feel more relaxed and secure logging in from the familiarity of their home. Perhaps they spend a large amount of their time online anyway, and digital tutoring feels natural. It might even be that they don’t particularly enjoy ‘school’, and that after-school online sessions provide a separate space where they can develop a love for learning without peers looking on.

The reasons are as varied as the students themselves, but it’s certainly true that many of the younger generation have taken to online teaching like ducks to water. And perhaps they have adjusted to the change better than their older counterparts! You have not known true humility until you have had an eleven-year-old patiently walk you through how to export a PDF.

For many tutors, online teaching has turned out much better than they expected.

Our volunteers tell us that our digital classrooms, complete with whiteboards, function just as a ‘real’ classroom might do. True, the online format is not without its technical challenges. Occasional WiFi trouble, lost headphones, loud Jack Russells barking in the background…

But overall, this is a format of teaching that is here to stay. As we look forward to life after the pandemic, we can hope that both face-to-face and digital teaching will find their place in the new tutoring landscape. There’s plenty of room for both - to benefit students and tutors alike.

If you'd like to take advantage of the flexibility of online volunteering, now is the time! You can register your interest here or email us on to find out more.
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