Choosing the “right” online tutoring platform highly depends on your business model and its scale. Our research has revealed that there are 2 categories of online tutoring platforms for private tutors, instructors and coaches. On the first one, you get “hired” as a private tutor by the platform. The second category of platforms gives you tools and space to run your tutoring business on your rules.
We are going to explore pros and cons of both categories of platforms and see how you do your choice between them.
In this article, we are going to check out:
- essential tools you need to start online tutoring business
- types of online tutoring platforms
- criteria of the “right” platform.
Essentials of online tutoring: the minimum you need to conduct online training as a private tutor
There are tons of online tutoring platforms you as a private tutor can use to run a comprehensive tutoring business. These platforms need to fulfil some requirements in order to provide quality learning experience to your perspective and current students and help you grow your business. The minimum you need for a complete workflow should look like this:
- create and publish a tutoring course (marketing)
- potential student finds and books this course (sales)
- receive and manage booking requests (sales)
- meet the student over a virtual classroom (training)
- conduct a lesson with prepared learning materials (training)
- communicate over the platform (training)
- monitor training progress.
Let’s see what online tutoring platforms there are out there which have these minimal functionalities.
2 categories of online tutoring platforms for private teachers
There are 2 categories of online tutoring platforms for private teachers which cover the above mentioned functionalities. The first category of platforms is Tutor Marketplaces which operate as ready-made solutions for everyone who wants to start online tutoring.
To the second category of platforms belong Online Course Platforms. Here you create and sell your tutoring, coaching, mentoring trainings and teach online.
Tutor marketplaces as online tutoring platforms
Tutor marketplaces, like CheggTutors, etutorworld, Learn to Be, offer tutoring services mainly to K-12 learners and connect private tutors with students. They strictly follow the K-12 curriculum and help learners get a 1-on-1 tutoring plan tailored to their specific academic or test prep needs and goals. Almost all online tutoring services have tutor acceptance policies. To be accepted here as a tutor you need to meet some criteria, like, have experience and enrollment or graduation from a four-year university. At Learn to Be, instructors and tutors need even to undergo 150 hours of annual training and development.
With some slight variations, these tutoring platforms share the following attributes.
What they offer
- Variety of subjects you can teach
- Virtual classroom with a whiteboard and a chatting tool
- Fixed tutor salary ($20-$24 per hour)
- Online payment through Paypal
- Affordable membership plans starting from $9.95 per month
What they lack in
- They have more tutors than students
- Tutoring is quite competitive and is based on “first-come-first-serve model” in terms of providing student requests
- You are not flexible to set your tuition policies: hourly fees and schedule
- You cannot promote your own tutoring services as all the leads come from the system / site
- You don’t have flexibility in designing your own curriculum
- You can brand yourself with descriptions and photos which are controlled by platforms
When to choose Online Tutoring Platforms
- If you are new to the business
- If you are an individual trainer
- Having hard time finding students
- Do not have much knowledge in marketing
- Do not want to deal with processes
- Do not plan to scale to become a training center
Online Course Platforms
Online Course Platforms provide you with the environment and all necessary tools to create tutoring sessions from scratch. Within the given framework, you create and sell courses, tests and quizzes, communicate with your students, run video conferences. The best known Online Course Platforms for private teachers, instructors, coaches and tutors are Teachable, Thinkific and LearnDash.
These platforms are to build e-learning courses, websites to provide it to your students. The content delivery process is mainly through self-learning, but some platforms, such as Thinkific, have an option of blended learning too (blended learning is a combination of online self-learning and offline / online instructor-led learning). The fact that you “deliver” the learning content to your students rather than tutoring them in a face to face session, doesn’t detach you from them. You as a tutor can follow your students’ progress on your profile dashboard and offer them help whenever they are stuck on the content.
When choosing a an online course platform, you should make sure that it supports basic functions like:
- Tutoring session booking
- Online payment
- Student registration
- Virtual classroom or video conferencing tool (external)
- Course material / content creation
- Marketing tools
- Ready to use Website.
As such, Teachable, Thinkific and LearnDash are quite good tools if you want to create your course website and control your branding, student data, messaging and pricing all from one place.
What they offer
- Authoring tool to create course content
- eCommerce to sell courses
- Video conferencing to provide coaching and tutoring sessions
- Option to set your own pricing policy
- Online payment
- Branding options.
What they lack in
- You handle own marketing
- You handle own processes
- Tools are design for online trainings only
- Limited customisation
- Limited branding options
- No mobile app
- Limited support.
When to choose Online Course Platforms
- you know you have content to create a course
- you are already successful and want to scale
- you have resources for marketing
- you can get support on technology
- you are still a small organisation (if you are an organisation).
Picking up the best solution for private tutors
Before we move forward and decide what which category of online tutoring platforms serves your purpose best, let’s sum up the main features they offer.
So, use tutor marketplaces if you want to rely on the rules and regulations that are already set for you. You’ll get rid of the “burden” to worry about the “selling” part of your tutoring business. Platforms like CheggTutors, tutor.com take care of student enrolment and tutors need not worry about the same. With all the advantages this may bring, you will, however, miss the freedom of being your own boss and experimenting different marketing strategies to expand your business and the number of students.
The choice between “ready-made” tutor marketplaces and online course platforms depends also on your audience, i.e student type. If you teach school kids, tutor marketplaces are more relevant, because they have a pre-prepared curriculum which goes along with the school (mainly K-12) program. The online course platforms, in their turn, are more suitable for adult and continuing learning. Here you have a freedom of offering courses on variety of subjects and life occasions: business, yoga, food, arts, etc.
We at Tutor Platform always advice talking one or another before reaching the scale we could help. If you feel like those platform do not fit your teaching methods or you need custom interfaces and heavy branding then Tutor Platform would be better choice.
Tutor Platform is more suitable for mid-sized and big companies. With customisable landing pages, built-in authoring tool, virtual classrooms (Liveboard, Lessonspace, Zoom), CRM tool, resource, learning and school management, Tutor Platform serves quite well to large enterprises which have 200 and more students per month.
Customers are mainly training centres, B2B consulting companies, corporates which conduct in-house employee trainings, governmental and non-governmental organisations who operate in rural development.
Besides being an all-in-one comprehensive training management system, Tutor Platform provides also domain and technical consulting, customisation, branding and white labeled solutions. It is an ideal solution for companies which want more than standard LMS and TMS offer.
Whatever platform you choose, make sure you clearly understand your goals and challenges. Starting as a private tutor you may grow your tutoring business into a multi-branch training center if you use the “right” tools.