As Singapore entered into Phase 2 on 19 June 2020, parents may be deciding between home tuition and online tuition for their children. While many parents are eager for tutors to teach face-to-face, some are more cautious and prefer to continue lessons online until Phase 3 begins. But when exactly will Phase 3 be, and how effective is online learning compared to physical lessons? In this article, we will analyse between the two and find out which is the better option for parents.
Effectiveness of Lessons
Were you ever caught in a situation when you are trying to explain something to your friend over the phone, but is unable to do so because it is best explained in person? It is without doubt that physical face-to-face home tuition is more effective when it comes to explaining sophisticated concepts, especially so for subjects that require greater visualisation such as Mathematics. For topics such as vectors or graphs, it is almost close to impossible to draw with precision on an online platform, as this would normally be done using a set-square and will not be possible to do so online. Having said that, there are numerous online platforms nowadays that boast great user interface and conducive online learning environment. While we may agree to a certain extent, studies have shown that students are more easily distracted for online lessons when we contrast it to physical learning. For example, students are more likely to check their phones without any physical supervision from tutors, which may deter them from getting distracted during lesson time.
Online tuition gives students greater options in terms of arranging for a suitable time slot. Moreover, some online lessons are also recorded for students to revisit the concepts any time they wish. For instance, a tutee may have some doubts while revising for his tests. Instead of waiting until the next lesson, he or she can playback the recording and immediately clarify their doubts there and then.
In contrast, unless you are requesting for an odd timing, most home tutors will be able to accommodate to your requested time slot(s). Furthermore, if the tutor is not available for 1-to-1 home tuition for your requested time slot, they will most likely be unavailable for online lesson as well for the same timing requested. While it is true that tutors who teach online may be more flexible in terms of timing, parents have to consider whether this is a more important factor than the effectiveness of lessons. After all, the main purpose of engaging a tutor is to ensure that your child is able to learn from them.
A primary school home tuition teacher today will set you aside at least $25 per hour for their services, which include costs of materials and transportation. As we move up the education ladder, home tuition for junior college will cost you at least $40 per hour even for a part-time tutor. If we do the Maths, engaging a JC home tutor for 1.5 hours per week will amount to $240 per month!
On the other hand, online tuition commands a lower hourly rate, simply because tutors do not render in travelling costs. Online tuition begins from as low as $15 per hour, with some tutors who prefer to charge the same hourly rate as their usual home tuition rates. Therefore, you may end up paying the same price as engaging a home tutor.
While there is no clear winner in this comparison, whether you choose to engage a home or online tutor will depend on the various factors discussed above. If the tuition subject required is visual-intensive, face-to-face explanation will be the better option. Moreover, unless you are requesting for tuition at odd hours (i.e. midnight), home tutors are equally flexible to provide you with their service at your requested time slots. Lastly, while it is more expensive to engage a home tutor, the rates are ultimately tied with the effectiveness of learning online vs. learning face-to-face.