Technology has improved so much over the last 20 years that it is now quite easy and inexpensive to offer tutoring services online. While many independent tutors and tutoring companies see this as a positive change in the industry, it also poses many dangers to existing businesses. Many articles look at the pros and cons of online tutoring from the student’s perspective – this article looks at this topic from the perspective of the tutoring industry.
The availability of online tutoring technology is most beneficial for new tutors or tutoring companies that are not yet established in the market. Online tutoring requires low start-up costs, opens up a much larger market for the tutor and offers more flexibility in scheduling. Let’s look at each of these benefits individually:
Lower barriers to entry
Although many independent tutors also have low start-up costs, if you are a tutoring business and choose to go the online route, you can avoid many of the costs associated with starting a traditional tutoring business. Traditional businesses often require an office for administration or where tutoring takes place, marketing via local media, driving to meetings with potential clients, etc. Online tutoring companies do not require any office other than a home office and definitely no building for the lessons students. Online marketing is less expensive and can be more directly targeted than traditional marketing, and conversations with customers can be conducted online or over the phone. These low startup costs make it much easier for new businesses to start online.
Traditional tutoring companies are geographically limited – they cannot cost-effectively tutor students outside of their geographic area due to time constraints related to transportation and the cost of transportation. Because of this, tutoring companies have much smaller markets and can only open up new markets by adding new locations. Online tutoring companies are not subject to this restriction. You can reach anyone with an internet connection and the only real limitation is language. Because of this, many individuals prefer to start an online tutoring business so that they can reach a much larger market. This can be a very good strategy if your company teaches a highly specialized subject that does not have enough local staff to support the company.
Tutoring companies can also hire tutors from a much wider area and may be more successful in finding top quality teachers in the subjects they offer.
Online tutoring companies have more flexibility as they can choose to tutor students in different time zones. Tutors who are only available to teach late in the evening can easily tutor students from a later time zone where it is afternoon. This makes it easier for independent tutors to fit their tutoring into their personal or professional schedule.
Lower running costs
The ongoing operational costs of running an online tutoring business are also lower than traditional tutoring. Some of the costs eliminated come in the form of building rentals, telephone, transportation and marketing. Online tutors can do everything from home, they can use free or low-cost online phones like Skype to communicate, and they don’t have to spend money to go to the tutor’s office or clients’ homes.
Many of the benefits of online tutoring can also pose challenges for tutoring companies. We’ll look at the cons one by one below.
Lower barriers to entry
Low barriers to entry make online tutoring attractive to new tutoring companies, but this is a disadvantage for established companies as it makes it easier for new companies to enter the market and compete with them. This ultimately leads to more price competition and lower profit margins.
Competition from other markets and other countries
Online tutoring breaks the geographic barrier, which is also a disadvantage for existing tutoring companies. This means that they now face not only competition from tutors in their immediate market, but also competition from tutors in other parts of the country and in other countries at large. Many online tutors come from countries like India where the cost of living is much lower. You can tutor American students online and charge a rate that is still much lower than standard rates in the United States, but still well above the rate they would earn for tutoring in their own country.
Student technology limitations
While most people have a PC and internet access at home, many students who need tutoring don’t have the technology to get online tutoring. In addition to a computer, a fast internet connection is ideal, a headset and microphone are needed to speak to the tutor and depending on the subject, hardware such as a whiteboard may be required. This means if your business only wants to offer online tutoring, there are many students you can’t reach.
While online tutoring can be effective, there are certain subjects where communicating in person and explaining concepts on a piece of paper is more effective than communicating online. It can also be harder to keep students engaged with online tutoring, which can negatively impact the student’s progress.
Online tutoring creates both opportunities and challenges for tutoring companies. By understanding and assessing these challenges, tutoring companies are better prepared to respond and adapt their business strategies to the changes the industry is bringing.
Thanks to Christie M Van Arragon | #Advantages #Disadvantages #Online #Tutoring #Business #Perspective