Online and virtual tutoring (and teaching) is going to be taking a front-seat in the coming weeks and months and it’s important that tutors alter their approach to fit the new environment.

While the basic principles of tutoring remain the same, here are 4 key differences that will help you profit from the online setting and enhance your approach.

1. Pick the right platform

Choosing the right online learning platform will be crucial to feeling at ease with the student and allowing the natural flow of the session to flourish.

Some of the better platforms include Zoom (free up to 3 participants and 40-minute sessions), Google Hangouts (free and easy to use) and Skype (the most well-established choice).

While Skype has great connection and is already widely used, Zoom offers far more in the way of technical additions, such as easy screen-sharing and allowing the student to have control of your screen (so they can type directly onto your documents)

Whichever platform you use, and there are more (ClassIn, BitPaper etc), make sure there is an easy-to-view online ‘whiteboard’ where you can both add notes (like on a piece of paper) and allow 10/15 minutes before the first online session for both parties to acclimatise to the new way of working

2. Take more breaks

With the student now focused on a screen, not sitting next to you, their concentration is guaranteed to dip faster

Mitigate this by breaking up the session with more breaks – not necessarily ones where the student leaves the screen (be much more disciplined with this because you can’t go and get them from the kitchen!), but include more activities and learning games, which leads me onto …

3. Make it more FUN

When tutoring in person, it can be much easier to allow your natural social skills to make a session more interesting and exciting

Online, you must show this in different ways, either by speaking in a more interested and less prescriptive manner or, for younger children, by introducing a ‘character’ prop who assists them in their learning

4. Patience

The final one is patience. With the added barrier of tutoring through a digital medium, don’t expect the points to get across as quickly

Repeating a Maths equation 2 or 3 times more than you might have to is no concern. It’s true that, sitting next to you, a child will engage faster than online, so work with this!

The most successful tutors will be able to identify the key differences, as outlined above, between online tutoring and the traditional face-to-face model and adapt to them quickly and effectively

Will you be one of them ?