Mobile Tutoring Apps Vs. Traditional Tutoring: How Children Benefit From An eLearning Approach

Mobile Tutoring Apps Vs. Traditional Tutoring: How Children Benefit From An eLearning Approach
Summary: Today's digital-age students have greater access than ever before to a range of mobile applications designed to act as supplemental education resources. We're exploring the benefits of these platforms, and why they're eclipsing even traditional tutoring in terms of convenience and personalization.

Discussing Mobile Tutoring Apps Vs. Traditional Tutoring

In recent years, the need for private tutors has grown, even while other areas of the economy go through periods of uncertainty. In fact, a recent report estimates the size of this “supplemental education” sector to be around $5 billion [1]. That’s up from only $500 million in 2001.

Such growth is attributed to a rising number of students seeking support outside the classroom. According to research, more than 240,000 students enroll in Kumon Math and Reading Centers every year, and as a result, there are now more than four million enrolled in the nation’s largest private tutoring chain [2].

While the benefit of such in-person tutoring programs cannot be slighted, the modern rise of digitization and eLearning means that school-aged children now have quick, convenient access to more educational tools and resources than they did in years past. This connectivity has given rise to a host of mobile applications designed to help students excel at subject areas ranging from geometry to literature.

Yet, with so much research centered on the need for children to have hands-on interaction and stimulation, are these apps a wise choice for parents looking to help their kids overcome an educational hurdle or simply get ahead in a particular subject?

The short answer is “yes.” Today, we’re exploring a few benefits that tutoring apps can provide, and we are also exploring the reasons why parents should give them a second thought today.

1. The Unmissable Convenience Of eLearning

In years past, parents would have to load the entire brood up in the car and drive to a tutoring center, then wait while the session was taking place.

Now, interactive educational resources are available at the click of a button and can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. This means students can reap the benefits of outside instruction without the inconvenience of adjusting schedules or delaying dinnertime. This acts as an impetus to encourage students to access the apps more often, as there isn’t nearly the amount of preplanning and coordination involved.

Moreover, families can take these apps anywhere their smart device can travel, meaning that on-the-go learning is now a reality. This means a child can squeeze in a few pages of an eBook while waiting in the car rider line for his or her sibling. Math problems can be completed before bedtime, early in the morning or at any other time whereas visiting an in-person tutor wouldn’t be feasible. As a result, the timeline for learning is expanded indefinitely.

2. The Engagement Of Gamification

It’s been scientifically proven that children learn in different ways. Some are visual learners, others gain knowledge by reading and still more require hands-on activities to get their brains churning. In fact, there are more than 71 discrete learning style schemes. The beauty of mobile eLearning apps is that they aren’t limited to one format. Their interactive nature makes them visually engrossing while also igniting areas of the brain associated with play, competition, and reward.

As they play math games, for instance, students are engrossed with rich graphics, simple text and challenges that stimulate the “play” side of their brain. The same holds true with interactive texts they read, puzzles they solve and online experiments they conduct. Rather than stare at a sheet of paper with a pencil in hand, they’re actively engaged with the app itself in pursuit of a solution.

At the same time, the concept of gamification is designed to encourage active, continued engagement over a period of time. This is achieved through the use of badges, points and other rewards that drive students to press onward toward a goal.

3. In-App Technology With Instant, Personalized Feedback

Studies show that not only do students want prompt, immediate feedback from their instructors but that they also want it to be personalized to their effort [3]. This means a simple “Great job” or “Needs improvement” isn’t enough anymore. Rather, critique and praise should be customized when possible, revealing specific areas of strength or weakness that the student should be made aware of.

This is where mobile eLearning tutoring apps can shine. As they’re automated, there is no lag time between course or module completion and the resulting score. Most apps will also reroute the student back around to any missed problems and explain how to get the correct answer, rather than simply displaying the right responses immediately. In this way, the feedback is tailored to the individual, and he or she has an opportunity to work back through a difficult concept to understand it more clearly.

4. Automated Grading Capabilities

In terms of traditional tutoring options, many parents list the responsibility of grading as one of their top four reasons why they’re considering taking an alternative route this school year. You can learn more here about the other challenges catalyzing their decision to pursue an alternate path of learning. It’s involved enough to work through the logistics of supplemental education, but grading a stack of worksheets at the end of the day can only exacerbate a headache.

As an alternative, mobile tutoring apps offer instant grading and feedback, shifting that responsibility from the shoulders of the parents. For young children's parents, this frees up more time in their schedules. For older learners' parents, this can also be a relief as many concepts can be complicated and require the assistance of a qualified instructor to navigate.

5. Personalized Learning Tracts

When your child has mastered a particular problem area, he or she naturally wants to go on to learn more difficult concepts. While this aim is achieved at traditional tutoring institutions, it can often be at a slower pace, especially if the child doesn't meet the same instructor week after week.

Conversely, a mobile tutoring app can recognize when a student is excelling at a given level. The apps monitor and track progress automatically and at a personal level, providing feedback that parents can use it to gauge whether or not it’s time to move the difficulty up a notch. In this way, the curriculum can be designed to be as customized as possible, helping every student strengthen his or her weaknesses and improve upon strengths.

6. The Issue Of Affordability

The price of hiring an in-person tutor ranges greatly depending on the specific program, the instructor and the length of time enrolled. Yet, it’s still a safe bet to say that most mobile eLearning apps are a more cost-effective option. Though you may pay a fee to download the app, and there will likely be in-app purchases to make the information more customized and interactive, there are potentially hundreds of dollars of savings every month.

Without any overhead, such as lights, franchise fees and more, these apps can deliver the same robust educational resources, only at a fraction of the cost.

The Rise Of Mobile Tutoring Apps: What To Expect Moving Forward

As we move forward into the second half of the school year and approach the season for standardized testing, it stands to reason that more students and their parents will become interested in all that mobile tutoring apps have to offer.

From convenience to cost, there are many reasons to give these options a second look. As technology continues to sophisticate, expect to see even more feature-rich digital learning options available in your app store. Gamification will give rise to Virtual and Augmented Reality platforms that are as exciting and engrossing as video games, transforming homework and education from a chore on the student’s to-do list to an activity they look forward to pursuing every day. At the same time, forward-thinking parents will embrace these apps for the wealth of benefits they provide to all levels of students, from preschool to college and every grade in between.


[1] 'America's tutor boom': By the numbers

[2] From Student to Instructor: Local Entrepreneur Opens Kumon Center in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

[3] Student Voices: Feedback that Students Want