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In-Person vs. Online Tutoring

When parents hear the word “tutoring,” many envision their child sitting side-by-side with a subject-matter expert in a local library (or even their very own home), diligently completing printed homework handouts. Although many tutoring sessions can and do still follow this format, a lot of tutoring sessions have moved to an online setting. And, if you think about it, this makes a lot of sense! Many school assignments are now done online, whether that be through online readings, worksheets, quizzes, or even exams.

Given that students no longer have as many printed homework assignments, this might motivate parents to consider moving to online tutoring sessions. As an added benefit, parents would not have to worry about driving their kids to and from libraries or coffee shops during rush-hour traffic for tutoring sessions, nor would they have to plan to be home by a specific time to meet the tutor at their house. Now, students can access the tutoring they need easily and conveniently through online video meeting software like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams. If you’d like to learn more about online tutoring and its benefits, read on!

Why Online Tutoring?

A boy Wearing Headphones & Doing His Homework On A Laptop

Online tutoring has many advantages over traditional in-person tutoring:

  1. Convenience: Online tutoring is incredibly convenient for both students and tutors. Students (and tutors) can easily schedule sessions at a time that works for them, and they can attend sessions from the comfort of their own home. Tutors, on the other hand, can work from anywhere with a strong internet connection, allowing them to reach more students than they could with in-person tutoring and minimize their commute times during peak traffic hours.

  2. Flexibility: Online tutoring is also more flexible than in-person tutoring. With online tutoring, students can easily switch tutors if they're not happy with their current tutor, and they can also access a wider range of tutors. This is particularly useful for students who need help in a specialized subject that may not be available in-person locally.

  3. Cost-effective: Online tutoring is often more cost-effective than in-person tutoring. Since tutors don't need to travel to meet with their students, they can charge lower rates. Additionally, since online tutoring is more flexible, students can schedule sessions for shorter periods of time, which can save parents money in the long run.

  4. More resources available: Online tutoring platforms often provide students with access to a wealth of resources, such as online textbooks, practice exams, and study guides. This can help students to better understand the material and prepare for exams. It also helps prepare students to learn and thrive within our increasingly tech-focused culture. “Additionally, many online tutoring programs are designed with adaptive technology that provides real-time feedback and performance tracking based on each student's progress. This allows both students and online tutors to easily monitor progress and adjust learning strategies as needed, maximizing the effectiveness of lessons” (Source).

  5. More individualized instruction: With online tutoring, tutors can easily tailor their instruction to meet the specific needs of each student. They can easily adjust the pace and level of instruction to ensure that each student is getting the help they need.

  6. Increased student engagement: Online tutoring can also increase student engagement. With the use of interactive tools, such as whiteboards and chat functions, students can actively participate in the learning process and receive immediate feedback from their tutor.

Common misconceptions or worries about online tutoring and why these are inaccurate:

  1. Lack of interpersonal interaction: Some parents and students may worry that online tutoring lacks the quality of interpersonal interactions of in-person tutoring. However, this is not necessarily true. With video conferencing technology, tutors and students can see and hear each other just as if they were in the same room.

  2. Technical difficulties: Another worry that some parents and students may have is that technical difficulties will get in the way of online tutoring. While it's true that there may be occasional technical difficulties, these can usually be resolved quickly and easily. Most online tutoring platforms have great technical support available to help with any issues that arise.

  3. Lower quality of instruction: Some people may worry that online tutoring provides lower quality instruction than in-person tutoring. However, this is not necessarily true. In fact, online tutoring can be just as effective as in-person tutoring, as long as the tutor is experienced with online tutoring and qualified to teach on the given topic.

Why Choose In-Person Tutoring

Tutor Helping A Girl Learn On The Computer

What draws many families into tutoring is the benefits that can come with one-on-one assistance from a tutor skilled in that particular subject their student is struggling with. This one-on-one model is what sets tutoring apart from other instructional approaches. In a one-on-one context, it becomes much easier to tailor and adapt lessons to that specific student’s exact needs.

All of these benefits can happen online or in-person, but there are a few reasons a parent or student may opt for in-person tutoring instead of online:

  1. Focus: Some students prefer having a tutor physically present to help keep their student focused. While there are technology options to promote this via online tutoring (such as screensharing, pop-up blockers, etc.), having a tutor physically present can help students stay away from distractions such as phones, emails, social media, and more. Plus, the tutor can help teach the student the lifelong skill of how to find and setup a good workspace within their home conducive to focused work.

  2. A break from screens: Students are spending more time on screens than ever before both inside school and outside of school, and it could be beneficial to create opportunities for purposeful time without screens.

  3. Easier to develop a true relationship/mentorship: Some people just prefer in-person tutoring because they find it easier to build a rapport and meaningful relationship with their tutor. That little bit of extra interaction when arriving and leaving, before and after sitting down at the table to work, can be really special in the long run. Whatever the reason, if that is the parent or student’s preference, we understand!

The Statistics about Online Tutoring

Plenty of statistics have shown (Block Club Chicago, NYT, Annenberg Brown University, Dept of Ed, Michigan Dept of Ed) one-on-one tutoring or small group tutoring accelerates learning and helps students recover and fill in learning gaps faster and with longer retention that in-school support classes and other remedial programs. Decades of studies have found this to be true for in-person tutoring, and now studies are showing it to be true for online tutoring as well.

The COVID pandemic accelerated a need for online education and tutoring options, which led to greater amounts of data and studies being conducted on its effectiveness. Education Week reports a study in which researchers measured the effectiveness of online tutoring programs used to catch students up on incomplete work, and they found “that compared to a control group, students in the tutoring program had higher standardized test scores and grades, and were less likely to repeat a grade. They also were more likely to report putting increased effort into their schoolwork.” After just getting 8 weeks of three 50-minute sessions per week, researchers estimated “the rise in the students’ grades was equivalent to the bump that six additional months of learning would produce.” During that short amount of time--less than 24 hours total--the students “worked on math skills and concepts, but the tutors also helped students build good work routines and supported their emotional well-being.” Unfortunately, teachers, in classrooms of 25+ students, simply can’t give each individual student enough specific coaching and tailored strategies in the same amount of time, and this delays their academic progress.

In another study reported in the same Education Week review, Italian students were enrolled in an online support class connecting them to a tutor for “three to six hours per week, for a total average of about 17 hours over the course of the program,” which covered both math and language arts. Researchers used pre- and post-tutoring tests and surveys and discovered “the program improved students’ scores on standardized tests, their attendance, the amount of time they devoted to homework, and their sense of well-being.” They also concluded the “effects didn’t vary by the type of device the students used; the impacts were the same for students who used smartphones as those who used laptops or other computers.”

What to Expect from Online Tutoring at JB Tutoring

JB Tutoring strives to deliver personalized 1-on-1 service, prompt communication, and affordable rates no matter if you elect to schedule for in-person tutoring or online tutoring. Our tutors are highly trained in both delivery methods and can maximize the benefits of either model, tailoring it to each students’ needs and preferences.

Our Austin tutoring sessions are 1, 1.5, or 2 hours in length, and they generally take place on the day/time of your choice. Our in-person sessions can take place at a local coffee shop or library works, or even at students' homes, while online sessions can happen from wherever the student has reliable internet access.

Most students have tutoring sessions 1-3 times per week for the duration of the semester. After students select the day(s) and time(s) that work best for them, we help select a tutor that matches their needs and schedule. ​

But, perhaps most importantly, we at JB Tutoring stand apart from other Austin tutoring services in that we are not interested in simply helping your student earn a 'good' grade. We recognize that there is so much more to life than school, and we truly value hearing about your students' sports games, fine art performances, vacations, friendships, personal struggles...all of it. Mentorship is at the core of what we do and what we strive to provide to our students. Our local tutors are passionate about not only helping students improve their grades, but boosting their overall sense of confidence and self-sufficiency as well.

In short, we understand the value and opportunity we have in our one-on-one interactions with youth, and we truly do strive to make the most of these moments, whether it be online or in-person.


In conclusion, we hope we’ve put to rest any concerns and misconceptions you may have had about online tutoring being less effective or less valuable than in-person tutoring. As evidenced by those research duties, on the contrary, online tutoring has proven to be an exceptional tool in accelerating academic performance. At the end of the day, though, it is your choice! Determine what works best for your learner and family and we will work with that. At the end of the day, your tutoring experience all comes down to the quality of the tutor and we strive to always maintain a team of truly exceptional, kind, passionate, knowledgeable tutors.

We look forward to helping your learner, in whatever way you choose. Contact us today to get started!


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