Gen Y fuels trend in online tuition

Parents are moving towards online tutorship for the younger generation's educational requirements.

Following a trend in home tutors to provide additional learning support, it seems e-learning is also on the rise.

Thousands of British students are taking advantage of the services, in order to try and improve their grades before exam times loom too close. With many parents across the UK having hired a traditional home tutor at some point, it is likely that the potential in this market will expand as more pressure is placed on students to do well and secure limited university places.

For a generation that spends more time using technology than their predecessors, it is not uncommon that many students may prefer this method of learning. Technology is gaining more popularity in classrooms, and some school syllabuses are changing to accommodate the demand for students to use more technology within school.

Teaching methods for online students vary, but often they work by building upon existing knowledge and improving confidence before the pupil has to sit their exams. It does take additional training, as well as good computational knowledge to teach across an online network -- when you train as a teacher you learn how to cope in a classroom setting, not how to use Skype or keep the attention of a student potentially hundreds of miles away.

An example service is Make the Grade, who offer tuition in Maths, Science, and English at various levels. They cater for students with special needs, offer extra help in exam techniques and indicate they tutor to remedy any knowledge gaps:

Just teaching the subject alone is not sufficient in today's competitive environment, but by showing them the correct technique they can maximise their grades.

For the first time, e-learning services will be reviewed in The Good Schools Guide, which will hopefully indicate to parents which services they can trust, and afford. Sue Fieldman, senior adviser at The Good Schools Guide, said:

"While parents often prefer the personal touch of a tutor coming to the house, youngsters are so wrapped up with technology that the only way a parent can persuade them to do any extra academic work is if it is done online. A teenager would rather work on a computer than be confronted face to face with a tutor in the living room."

However, choosing the right service provider can prove full of risk. E-learning platforms are currently unregulated, although there have been recent attempts to change this. An example is epprobate, who have begun devising a standardised rating system that can be extended across all online course materials and learning support structures.

If the trend of e-learning is to continue to expand, then it is recommended that more traditional guides such as The Good Schools Guide take note of this avenue -- and help make sure that parents are paying for good quality learning support.

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