The success of the two giants in the tutoring industry --Kumon and Sylvan -- attest to the demand for after-school teaching skills.
Clients of the two primary tutor franchises seek assistance for their children for a variety of reasons. For some, it is to enable their child to keep pace with classmates. For others, it is to ensure that their child is best equipped for advanced education. In several instances, these parents are opting for private schools for their children in the middle and high school years, rather than throughout the child’s entire school life. Others are looking to explore and stimulate specific skills and interests of the child, to provide that child with a stimulating learning environment.
The Kumon and Sylvan tutoring programs, though, place the urban client at a distinct advantage over rural students. Whether the rural student requires remedial tutoring or specific, focused one-on-one mentoring, distance becomes problematic. In essence, rural students do not have access to the quality of extra-curricular training that is available to urban students.
That disadvantage is an opportunity, however, for rural educators and advanced students.
Most jurisdictions, from states to provinces in North America, have specific licence requirements and certification processes for teachers and special education instructors. In spite of that requirement, an apparent gap exists in the licensing process that allows online tutors to be exempt from those criteria, in most areas. That means that anyone can become a tutor!
Recognizing the dearth of one-on-one personal education support for rural youth, a creative rural entrepreneur could easily set up an online mentoring program that allows youth in need to tap into the resource at the click of a mouse or touch of a pad. While, ideally, the tutors employed in this system should be teachers and education students in a university program, the opportunity is available for retired teachers, top-achieving students and even laypersons with specific skills and knowledge.
The program could allow for video conferencing, text interaction, self-guided training and teaching regimens and email interaction with the student. By setting specific times each day, the mentor can work with a range of students throughout his available free time, and the student can pick and choose the most appropriate time in which to engage with the instructor. This makes for a very personalized approach, and an actual advantage over bricks-and-mortar institutions.
The online tutoring business can offer limited curriculum and subjects, or a broad range, utilizing the talents of educators that are available world-wide, instead of in a specific geographic area, as is required for conventional tutoring businesses.
The degree of flexibility that an online tutoring program offers is significant. Clients can be recruited face-to-face, locally, regionally, or across the country, continent and globe. This opens up a wider range of open time slots, greater student base and greater pool of qualified educators. Yet, it can be established, simply and inexpensively, in the basement of a rural business person in any part of the world.
Online tutoring offers a real competitive edge over conventional tutor programs, at a fraction of the cost of conventional programming.