How to become an online tutor
A report by Assocham states that the Indian education market is estimated to be worth Rs.9 trillion. The current size of private coaching in India is about $23.7 billion and is likely to touch $40 billion by 2015. With nearly half the population of India below the age of 25 years and increasing penetration of Internet and mobile devices in this demographic, the growth of online education in India is undeniable.
Online Tutoring Industry
According to Vamsi Krishna, Co-founder & CEO of Vedantu, “There are over 250M kids in k12 segment in India out of which 80M are studying in private schools and go for some or the other kind of supplementary tuitions. At present India’s tutoring market is around $11B and slated to grow to $16B by 2017.”
Presently in high demand, becoming an online tutor offers huge opportunities for growth. For individual tutors and training organisations, online tutoring throws open an immense business opportunity. The growing number of online tutoring platforms and technologies has substantially bolstered the online tutoring market by making it easier for tutors to reach students. Let us look at some of the web applications used by online tutors and training organisations.
The average online tutor can earn anywhere between $10 to $100 an hour (or even more) depending on their academic qualifications, experience, and technical expertise.
5 must-have tools for online tutoring
Although online tutoring presents its own sets of challenges, such as the lack of ‘human interaction’ and difficulty in managing remote student sessions, it offers solutions also. There are several software applications, which improve the learning experience and streamline the tutor and the student interaction.
Here are 4 software tools for improving and managing your online tutoring business:
Skype is a great free tool for video and voice chatting. The best part is that almost everyone who has a computer or a smart phone has used Skype at some point. The application offers multiple benefits for online tutors .
- Schedule Skype tutoring sessions with students as per your convenience
- Share your screen, without giving control to the other person
- Share files with your students
- Take screenshots of the video session
- Type messages during the video session
- Use emoticons to add a fun touch to an online session
Virtual whiteboards work pretty much like the physical whiteboards you see in most training rooms. Everything that your write or draw on the virtual whiteboard is visible to your students. Combining the use of a virtual whiteboard and Skype does a good job of simulating the classroom experience
Cloud Storage – Dropbox and Google Drive
Free cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to store, update, and share your training resources with students at anytime, from your home or office. These online storage websites offer the following advantages –
- As long as your students have an account, adding, updating and sharing content is a breeze. For instance, students can submit their assignments on Dropbox and share the file with you by simply sending a link.
- Share only the folders you want students to access
- Easily share videos and images with your students
- Students can access these shared files no matter which device they use
- Collaborate with your students in real time. Google Drive allows more than one person to work on one document simultaneously.
- These websites also act as data backup for your digital training resources.
Apart from conducting online-personalized sessions through Skype, tutors and training organizations are using YouTube to share educational resources for existing and potential students. Create your own YouTube link and upload videos recorded by you on your subject of expertise. The Khan Academy for instance has uploaded 33,856 educational videos and has over 2,100,000 subscribers on YouTube. Apart from giving anytime, anywhere access to educational content to your students, this is a great way of establishing your online brand as a tutor and training organization.
Using these and other online tools of your choice, is a great way to offer a consistently high quality experience to your students, whilst making it so much easier to manage your business.
If one is hesitant to start his/her own tutorial website, there are online platforms which help you get started with online tutoring. Let’s have a look at some:
This is a great website if you simply want to create and host interactive online courses on the topics of technology, business, language, music, and lifestyle and wellness. While the website offers a free plan, if you are a training organization you may be better of choosing the pro plan costing $57 a month.
Udemy is another great platform for teaching online courses. The website also offers a variety of tools for delivering content online. For instance, hold live online sessions through Udemy’s virtual classroom platform. You can create and promote your courses on the website for free.
Tutorvista is one of the leading online tutoring platforms with 2000 tutors from India, United States, UK, Australia, China and South East Asia. It boasts of more than 6.5 million successfully completed online tutorials. They hire tutors to teach English, Math, Physics, Biology and Chemistry from Kindergarten to the undergraduate level. An application form needs to be filled in to sign up with them.
The online tutoring industry is extremely competitive, as you are literally competing with tutors from across the world. Apart from enrolling with online tutoring websites, you must actively promote your services. Here are some easy ways to reach potential students on a limited budget.
The traditional methods of advertising your business include local newspapers ads, posters, flyers, and brochures.
The key to any successful marketing campaign is finding the right target segment, which in your case are parents and students. So if you are looking to place posters, handout brochures and flyers, where better to reach your target audience than schools and libraries, local coffee shops and popular students areas and community centres.
Digital Marketing Methods
It is highly likely that most of your potential customers are already searching online for tutoring help. One should go for designing his/her own website. Blogging is another step to make your presence felt in the market. One can also register with online marketplaces. For instance, you can register with My Private Tutor to create a detailed online tutoring profile and receive queries from students anywhere in the world. You can also respond to online tutoring job requirements posted by students and parents on the website. One should also get their business listed with Google Places, a free online local business listing service.
Business promotion has to be a continuous process. Be patient, as these efforts would pay-off.
A tutor would require some basic skills like:
- In-depth knowledge of the subject
- Familiarity with the course structure
- An enthusiasm to teach
- Ability to deploy various resources effectively
- Good communication skills
- Being able to ask the right questions
- Listening to the students
- Flexibility in approach to match the needs of the student
- Ability to encourage students
- Ability to provide constructive feedback
However, an online tutor would also be required to possess certain factors for conducting online sessions. Here are three additional skills needed to be successful at online tutoring.
You need to plan every aspect of your session. Here are some suggestions.
- Provide clear guidelines to your students, including course objective, teaching methodology, frequency of sessions, and assessment process
- Provide administrative support to students/ parents; for instance, you could provide a weekly schedule for topics, and send email/ text reminders with the session time and date.
- Plan how you intend to conduct each session. For instance, the method of communication (email, chat or video) will vary with the topic as well as the needs of the individual student.
- Use necessary technology to improve the learning process
- Incorporate end-of-session assignments to reinforce the discussion
Use latest technologies
Be willing adapt the latest technologies to make the learning process creative and interactive. Take the time to explain to your students how the technology will be used during the tutorials. Change is the only constant and nowhere is that more obvious than in the field of e learning. Online tutors, who fail to use new technologies and be innovative, will not survive for long in the business.
The lack of face-to-face contact has to be substituted by greater communication between you and the student and parents.
- Check your e-mail at least once daily
- Respond to emails and texts from students promptly
- Respond in a professional, but in an easy to understand language
- Have someone else deal with your messages if you are away
- Organize your messages for easy reference
- The biggest advantage online tutoring is the greater scope for work. One can also provide real-time assistance to different students on their homework and project assignments.
Keeping in mind the points above, one can venture into online tutoring to tap the potential of the rising need of online tutors in the future. In an era where private tuition is almost becoming compulsory, online tutoring can really help in delivering productive results in terms of students’ grades and performance in exams.