General, Online Learning

What Makes Online Tutoring Work?

The main concern we hear from new families is that online learning has not gone well for their child in the past. Parents have insight into how their child learns, where they struggle, and why they need a tutor, but are hesitant because our tutoring sessions will be online learning. The main difference from what they’ve experienced with the virtual classroom is that our tutoring is one-on-one

Though the setting has changed, our commitment to creating a welcoming learning environment and individualized lessons is just as strong. The benefits of one-on-one instruction are the same online: engaging students through their interests, adjusting for their pace, answering questions as they arise, taking a moment to chat and build the relationship. Our students know that we care and trust that we are giving them challenges they can handle. They develop confidence in their abilities, just as they did during in-person sessions.

Of course, there are challenges. Younger students need help with signing in and other aspects of using the computer. Some also need help with sustaining attention on the screen, and there is little we can do if they close the computer or walk away from the desk. This makes our partnership with parents another essential element that keeps online tutoring running smoothly. A quick text, email, or conversation at the end of a session helps us stay connected and problem solve when needed. 

Overall, our tutors feel that online tutoring is equally successful, and in some cases more successful than in-person tutoring. Take a look at our comparison and testimonials from tutors, parents, and students. 

Online In-Person*
Lesson Participation– Many students feel more comfortable (choice of room, comfy clothing, space)
– Using screens is motivating!
– We can keep activities interactive and moving quickly with little set up time.
– Sitting side by side, we were able to share materials, play games and see the students’ work as they were writing.  
Technology Use– Students learn valuable and transferable computer skills (typing, email, keyboard shortcuts, video conferencing etiquette)
– Many students quickly become independent in computer use 
– Devices were occasionally used as a learning tool (typing, voice to text)  
– Many students preferred a scribe or handwriting over learning to type
Materials– A device with internet, and something to write with off screen.
– Older students can easily screen share their class work/virtual textbooks.
– Some items for multisensory lessons may need to be provided by parents. 
– Students quickly find multisensory materials when needed and are excited to share their toys.
– Similar items were used but were supplied by the tutor, if needed. 
– Tutors were able to monitor material use and put away if they were more of a distraction, instead of needing to ask parents. 
Communication– Similar to in-person, many parents get to see what we are working on and how we explain concepts.
– We are able to have short check-ins and email updates as needed.
– Similar to online, we were just face to face instead.
Interruptions– Sometimes Wi-Fi cuts out, internet is slow, little feet unplug the computer, devices lose power. This all happens less than weather interruptions in our Canadian winters. 
– Occasional distractions from siblings, same as in-person.
– Cancellations due to weather.
– Sometimes late due to construction, traffic accidents, car trouble, etc.
– When working at the library, distractions by other patrons and events sometimes occurred.
Other– Our team has grown with talented teachers from around Ontario (and New Brunswick!).
– We are able to provide consistent service despite changing health regulations.
– Limited to tutors in our region, and location was a factor in matching students to tutors.
– Driving from place to place would reduce time available for tutoring.
*At the time this is written, we are unable to offer in-person tutoring due to health regulations.

What tutors say:

I’d be the first to admit that I had doubts about tutoring online and whether I would be able to help my students and see the same results as I had in the past. However, the last four months have proven that, with a few modifications, students are still able to learn and practice the skills they need to be a confident learner. I am grateful to have learned a new way to reach out to my students, and will continue to learn new programs, apps, and tools to help my students be successful. ~ Alhana

I am constantly impressed with how well my students from Grade 2 to Grade 8 have adapted to an online setting for tutoring and how well we have been able to work together over Zoom. While I miss the one-on-one interaction that comes with in-person tutoring, the range of online resources, websites, tools, and applications that have enriched the learning experience to help make it interactive and flexible is outstanding. Regardless if the setting is in-person or online, the value of tutoring is that kids receive personalized one-on-one assistance in areas of need. Whether we are reading books together, practicing phonics drills or learning new math steps and strategies, I am still able to model and guide students towards understanding and successful independent proficiency. ~ Emily

What students say:

To be completely honest with you, I like meeting online instead of at my house. I feel like it saves time. ~ Grade 8 Student

I like virtual tutoring because I can play games and learn at the same time. ~ Grade 2 Student

What parents say:

We have been using Access Learning for almost 2 years now. My daughter struggles with a learning disability in reading, dyslexia and has a diagnosis of ADHD. We had tried previous tutors and learning centres prior to finding Pam and haven’t turned back. Our daughter enjoys her sessions and never complains about attending. Amidst the pandemic, Pam was able to quickly transition to a virtual learning environment and we haven’t missed a beat. Her ability to engage and teach our daughter virtually has been amazing. I have sat through sessions and found myself having just as much fun as our daughter is. We have seen gains and an overall new sense of confidence. Would strongly recommend Access Learning! ~ Grade 4 Parent

When the pandemic hit and in-person learning stopped, we knew it would be imperative for Ryan to continue with his tutoring virtually. We were nervous at first about what that would look like as Ryan has a diagnosis of ADHD. This makes it very difficult for him to sit and focus for extended periods of time. Pamela was able to create fun, interactive, and engaging learning activities for him. She even created a picture clue reward system to help motivate him. 

Thanks to Pamela’s hard work and patience, Ryan has been able to continue to progress in his reading skills. It has also helped to take some of the pressure off of me as homeschooling can be exhausting. During his sessions we work as a team to keep him focused however, unlike online school, I am able to take a back seat while Pamela guides his learning. ~ Grade 2 Parent