Web-Aided Tutoring
The One-on-One Educational Revolution
By Bruno Cancellieri | August 28th 2011
Key terms: online tutor, in-home tutor, direct tutoring, one-on-one teacher, 1-on-1 teacher, homework help, assignment help, private lesson, exam preparation, continuing education, self-improvement
online tutoring   in-home tutoring   continuing education  

One-on-one vs. one-to-many

One-on-one vs. one-to-many. The difference is that if you belong to the "many" in a one-to-many relationship you are not treated as a unique person, but, at best, as a member of a group, which may not be what you wish. This is true in all social relationships, especially in educational contexts.

In fact, many students fail at school because their teachers do not treat them as unique individuals, having particular needs, stories and capabilities. So the more original an individual is, the less productive the teaching is in a traditional one-to-many relationship.

On the contrary, in a one-on-one situation, the teacher can adapt the teaching to the particular needs, learning style, learning capacity, speed and availability of the student.

But as no teacher can adapt to the requirements of all possible students, it is important that the student be able to find the optimal teacher among a wide variety of easily accessible options and have the possibility to select the teacher by various criteria such as: experience, qualifications, language, interests, ideas and more.

While the number of options in case of traditional in-home tutoring is limited to the availability of teachers living in the same geographical area as the student, the options are virtually unlimited if lessons are delivered online, using voice and screen-sharing communication means like those offered, for example, by Skype.

Web-Aided-Tutoring Sites (WATS)

Today students are able to find one-on-one teachers for online or in-home tutoring by means of websites that we can call "Web-Aided-Tutoring Site" (WATS) because they take advantage of the communicaton and search functions offered by web technologies. There are hundreds of web-aided-tutoring sites, and new ones are born every year, so it may be difficult for a student to choose the one that best fits his/her needs.

Web-aided-tutoring sites can be classified by a number of properties:

WATS propertyWATS types
Tutoring location
Online only In-home only Online and in-home
Subjects
Only academic subjects or particular academic subjects Any subject (academic and non academic)
Country for in-home tutoring
Specific country or group of countries Any country
Language spoken by students and tutors
Specific language Any language
Language of the WATS user-interface
Specific language Multiple languages
Tutor certification
The WATS features only certified teachers The WATS features also non-certified teachers (e.g. students, experts)
Tutoring requests
Students can post tutoring requests to the public and be contacted by anybody Students send tutoring requests only to particular tutors or to the WATS
Student profiles
Students can post their own profile to the public Students cannot post their own profile to the public
Picture in profiles
Tutor and student profiles can include a picture Tutor and student profiles do not include a picture
Chat
WATS offers a local chat platform where registered users can chat with each other WATS does not offer a local chat platform
Multiple roles
A user can register as tutor, student or both A user can register as tutor or as student A user can register only as tutor
Who selects the tutor
Student can select a specific tutor Tutor is selected by the WATS
Student social network
Students can contact other students Students cannot contact other students
Reason for tutoring, free tutoring
The WATS features only tutors who teach for money The WATS features, besides professional teachers, also tutors that teach for a variety of reasons such as helping others, socializing or reharsing, and some of them may even teach for free
Tutor dependency
Tutors are employees or affiliates of the WATS Tutors are independent of the WATS and may also run their own business
Tutor's personal or company website
Tutors can post link to their personal or company website Tutors cannot post link to their personal or company website
Business model for the WATS
WATS is paid by the student; WATS pays the tutor, while keeping a commission Tutors pay a registration fee to the WATS Basic WATS services are free for students and tutors; premium services are paid by tutors (e.g. priviledged positions in search results, presence in home page, ads etc.)
Student payment flow
Student pays WATS, then WATS pays the tutor Student pays directly the tutor
Ways to contact a tutor
Tutors can only be contacted through the WATS (identity and email address hidden) Tutors can be contacted directly by the student through the email address and or website address published in their profile (if any) or through the WATS internal email
Search criteria for the tutor database
Tutors can be selected only by subject and location (where applicable) Tutors can be selected also by age, sex, country, language etc.

See Web-Aided-Tutoring Sites Compared where the most popular web-aided-tutoring sites are analysed according to some of the above differentiators.

The versatility of Tutors-Live.com

Tutors-Live seems to be the most versatile web-aided-tutoring site available today, with its rich combination of features, as shown in the following table.

Tutors-Live propertyHow it is
Tutoring location
Online and in-home
Subjects
Any subject (academic and non academic)
Country for in-home tutoring
Any country
Language spoken by students and tutors
Any language
Language of the website's user-interface
5 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian) corresponding to 5 domains (tutors-live.com, tutors-live.es, tutors-live.fr, tutors-live.de, tutors.live.it)
Tutor certification
Tutors-Live features certified as well as non-certified teachers (e.g. students, experts)
Tutoring requests
Students can post tutoring requests to the public and be contacted by anybody
Student profiles
Students can post their own profile to the public
Picture in profiles
Tutor and student profiles can include a picture
Chat
Tutors-live offers a local chat platform where registered users can chat with each other
Multiple roles
A user can register as tutor, student or both
Who selects the tutor
Student can select a specific tutor
Student social network
Students can contact other students
Reason for tutoring, free tutoring
Tutors-Live features, besides professional teachers, also tutors that teach for a variety of reasons such as helping others, socializing or reharsing, and some of them may even teach for free
Tutor dependency
Tutors are independent of Tutors-Live and may also run their own business
Tutor's personal or company website
Tutors can post link to their personal or company website
Business model for the WATS
Basic services (registration and contacts) are free for students and tutors; premium services (e.g. priviledged positions in search results, presence in home page, ads) are paid by tutors
Student payment flow
Student pays directly the tutor, Tutors-Live gets no commissions and is not involved in payments
Ways to contact a tutor
Tutors can be contacted directly by the student through the email address and or website address published in their profile (if any), or through the Tutors-Live internal email
Search criteria for the tutor database
Tutors can be selected by subject, level, language, country, town, post code, fee, age, sex etc.
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