How Online Tutoring Can Level the Academic Playing Field

In the age of distance and hybrid learning, online tutoring is helping students learn the skills they need, no matter what their circumstances at school or at home.

By Edvocate Staff

With in-person, one-on-one office hours and mentoring sessions unavailable to millions of students, more and more of them are turning to online tutoring when they need academic support. The online tutoring market was already predicted to grow 12.75% between 2017 and 2021, but COVID-19 accelerated that growth exponentially. Myles Hunter, co-founder and CEO of TutorMe, has seen the usage of his on-demand tutoring service skyrocket since March, including a 350% increase in student usage in the second quarter. In this interview, Hunter shares why he believes that online tutoring can help close equity gaps.

The Edvocate: What do you see as the biggest challenge families are facing in supporting their children in the age of distance and hybrid learning?

Myles Hunter: A lot of working parents just don’t have the time to give their child’s schoolwork enough attention. Most parents, understandably, have long forgotten the complicated physics and algebra concepts they learned back in school, so they’re not able to help their older children in those areas. Many parents have leaned on online tutoring services to take some of that academic weight off themselves by supplementing their child’s comprehension of topics they can’t help with.

Edvocate: How can online tutoring combat learning loss or the “COVID slide”?

Hunter: Parents are desperately trying to find ways to help their kids avoid the COVID slide, and online tutoring can definitely improve academic outcomes. With TutorMe, students can get on-demand, high-quality mentoring in over 300 subjects. They don’t have to struggle to get the attention of a teacher who’s trying to connect with 25 other students. Data shows that 96% of our students see an increase in GPA, helping them get closer to the college of their dreams.

Edvocate: How have the school closures caused by COVID-19 changed families’ approach to tutoring?

Hunter: COVID-19 is accelerating more widespread adoption of online tutoring. Post lockdown, there is a greater interest from parents to supplement their kids’ education. More students are taking advantage of the longer-lasting benefits of tutoring. Students are using tutors not just to prepare for an exam, but to really learn and retain what they’re studying. This one-on-one learning positively impacts the overall grade they get at the end of the semester, but most importantly, they’re mastering skills they can take to the next, more advanced class.

Edvocate: How does TutorMe level the academic playing field?

Hunter: Even before COVID-19, the odds were against a lot of students when it came to  graduating from high school. Now, public schools across the country are facing budget cuts, so after-school programs that offered academic support don’t exist anymore. No matter what school students go to or what their home situation is, having an expert tutor walk through challenging assignments is one of the best ways to keep from falling behind. And I’ve also seen how online tutoring boosts student confidence.

Edvocate: How does online tutoring boost confidence?

Hunter: We’ve seen countless students say they’re embarrassed by the idea of in-person tutoring. Sometimes their peers are in the room, and they don’t want to ask questions about topics they were supposed to have mastered. Many TutorMe tutors say the most rewarding part of tutoring online is how open their students are. Connecting online makes today’s students feel free to ask questions, dive deeply into subjects, and prove to themselves how much they can learn. 

Myles Hunter is the co-founder and CEO of TutorMe, an on-demand, online tutoring platform.

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