Individual and customised tutoring helps a child develop their subject understanding, boosts their confidence, and helps them build important study skills. In the contemporary world, both online and offline tutoring gives students the personalised attention they can't get in a crowded classroom. However, choosing the correct one among the two for the children is often a tough call for parents. Our expert for today, Minal Anand, throws valuable light on the pros and cons of both, so that parents and students can make the right choice for themselves.
Minal Anand, a graduate in Business Administration from the School of Management at Boston University, returned to India and worked across top companies in corporate management and development positions. However, armed with her business sense and the insights she gleaned from her previous experience of teaching several under-privileged school students, she sought to bring about a change in the Indian education sector. When asked, she says that what drove her to enter the EdTech sector–one of India’s most prolific segments–was the glaring difference between the education sector at home versus overseas, a difference she of course experienced firsthand. Education in our country centres around bookish knowledge and traditional learning that is a disadvantage to students when they compete with international peers. Her view is that a fresh perspective on education and innovative ways of teaching via certified, qualified tutors, must be infused into the education sector, to give our students a winning edge. Minal is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at GuruQ, a unique and integrated digital tutoring platform that is looking to bring high quality standards and new age methodologies to the way education is imparted in India so as to make a positive change in the education sector.
Q1. What according to you provides a more tailored environment to students: online or offline tutoring?
MA: Choosing between offline and online education can be a difficult task, as both modes have their merits and demerits. The way education is delivered has changed a lot post-pandemic. There has been a lot of technological advancement. Online learning is more flexible and a great option for students who are unable to get access to good offline classes. But, the main points of learning – student and tutor reap more benefits from the traditional learning method aka offline classes. Information retention is higher when it’s presented in a physical context. The relationship between a teacher and a student plays a pivotal role in a student’s learning and there is of course no match for physical interaction. We commonly heard educationists pushing the government to open schools for physical classes as soon as the COVID situation was a little manageable. This is not surprising, considering offline classes aren’t just limited to delivering the lesson but they also work on our social skills, and boosts our creativity and communication skills.
Q2. Why then is online tutoring still becoming a top choice among students and parents?
MA: Online tutoring is gaining immense popularity, but parents still battle with different concerns and questions – Is online learning worth it? Is e-learning even a legitimate medium of instruction?
However, if we look at the pros of online learning, we find:
- Targeted learning and doubt clearing sessions provide optimum clarity regarding tricky topics and challenging subjects
- Students are also relieved from the social peer pressure of asking 'smart' questions in a classroom
- Instead, they can focus on getting even minute queries resolved with the help of their online tutors.
As a result, the child's focus is on completely understanding the given material before transitioning to a more challenging topic. Besides, owing to the one-on-one and uninterrupted time spent with tutors, the child will certainly retain more information, develop improved communication skills, and learn to tackle academic challenges better.
Q3. Do you think online tutoring must always involve a real person?
MA: Yes, we discussed the merits of offline learning right at the start. Online classes are of course the next best mode of learning, when taught by a real tutor. Interaction is more effective than gaining information simply through reading material or watching videos.
In fact, there is a lot of content which is available online that is not customised as per the student’s learning needs or ability. A teacher determines the skills and the learning ability of his/her student and then delivers the lessons. As a result, the learning efficiency is way higher than passively consuming knowledge. The bottom line is a one-size fits all approach doesn’t work well in education.
Q4. Finally, what according to you are the qualities of the right tutor?
MA: Teaching is a difficult art to master. To be a great tutor, you must be creative as well as smart. Every student is unique, and so is their learning style. If you need to teach someone, you must analyse their way of studying and adapt to that. This needs empathy. A good tutor should have a thorough knowledge of their area of study. Also, a positive attitude rubs off quickly, and knowing your teacher has an actual interest in your studies is a big motivation for the students.
The biggest benefit of having a tutor is that it provides an opportunity for children to learn at their own pace. Sometimes classes in school go through the syllabus too quickly leaving the child confused. With the correct tutor, children have every opportunity to slow down and ask the necessary questions to get their doubts cleared. As our expert Minal Anand says, with targeted learning children eventually get more clarity.