Private Tuition vs Online Tuition – Pros and Cons

26 Apr 2020
Private Tuition vs Online Tuition – Pros and Cons

In the recent years, there are more and more tuition options that are available to serve the needs of different students. While some students score well academically with the help of a group tuition class, some require personalized guidance by having a private tutor where customization of content taught and preferred teaching styles are guaranteed. Technological advancements has also given rise to the growing number of online tuition classes. Each type of tuition options has its own pros and cons, and there is no certain answer on which one is better than another as one man’s meat is another man’s poison. 


Hence, when it comes to choosing the tuition options, we should look into what are our or our children’s needs and what outcome are we expecting. Group tuition is remains to be common way for students to get extra help from tutors, however, private tutors are starting to gain popularity these days. The difference between group tuition and private tuition can be clearly seen and defined. It is more easier for parents or students to make a choice between them. But what about online tuition? Both private tuition and online tuition share some kind of similarity in terms of one-to-one tutoring and time saving as students can get their lessons from the comfort of their home. So, what are the differences and how do the students know which method is suitable for them? 


Below we have compiled some features and comparisons between these two options. It is intended to help parents or students to make an informed decision by taking into consideration certain factors, and can also serve as a guideline. After all, it is worth the time and effort to do some research on the best method of tuition to bring the best out of the students, isn’t it?             


Learning Needs and Teaching Format 

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Private Tuition:

Nowadays, private tuition has become a preferred choice for students especially those with specific needs and it is easy to see why. Private tutors provide students with a more personalized learning experience using customized teaching material and syllabus that is meticulously curated according to the students’ learning objectives and abilities. Students get to enjoy full attention from the tutors during the one-to-one session. This means that the tutors are able to identify the students’ weakness or the root cause, and adjust their teaching content accordingly. Sometimes, a passionate tutor can even ignite the excitement of learning in his or her students and help them grow both academics and building their character.


Since there is a wide range of private tutors with different level of experience and teaching styles out there, it is advisable to learn more about your preferred tutors and get more review about them if possible, before making decision. Discuss your preference or concern with the tutor over a phone interview so that you know what to expect from the tutor and also, let the tutor know how he or she can help you. 


Pro: Customized learning experience that is able to improve students’ weakness

Cons: Time consuming as parents need to take some time to vet through the private tutors



Online Tuition:

Online tuition is available in different type of channels, such as pre-recorded video, live-streaming online class, video call, live chat and etc. Video and online class are prepared by online tutor based on their specially designed module, and are suitable for those students who prefer to learn by following through the well-prepared syllabus. With the help of digital tools, these study materials are now more interactive and engaging, containing photo and animated images, and are able to hold students’ attention right until the very end of the class which makes it appealing to the younger, tech-savvy generation. Younger, tech-savvy generations are who born in the digital age will be especially find these teaching ways to be fun and interesting. 


For those students who are only looking for tuition to solve specific problems or questions, they can opt for one-to-one video call or live chat. There is a large pool of tutors with different levels of qualifications, experiences and strengths available online, and students may choose their preferred tutors or let the tutoring platform to match the tutors with them. Another wonderful thing about online tutoring platforms is that there is a huge database of information and resources always there for the students. Some platforms curate the study content according to topics and subjects where students can search for specific information by using keywords or simply browse through the content list to find out any other topics that they might be interested in. 


Pro: More interactive and engaging with digital and animated features, instant response to get questions solved

Cons: The study material is more fragmented and focused on specific topics only



If you are lagging behind on certain subjects and are looking for solutions but don’t know where to start, then looking for assistance from a private tutor might be a good choice. A tutor can help “diagnose” the root cause or key focus area along the way and come up a lesson plan that can foster continued growth in your study. But let’s say, you face some difficulty in certain topics or questions and are very clear on what kind help is needed, then turning to online tuition would be a more quick and easy way to have tuition. Also, online tuition is very suitable for those who are more comfortable with visual medium. So the choice eventually boils down to what the student’s learning needs and the what kind of teaching format they prefer.     


Learning Style

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Private Tuition:

Private tutoring enables the tutors to guide the students step by step, and can quickly point out whenever they notice errors made by the students. It gives students a companion as they learn and sometimes this may help in boosting the students’ confidence. Having private tuition also allows more face-to-face communication among the tutors and students. It helps the tutor to build strong personal relationship with their students and this can sometimes translate into a more effective coaching.     


According to research, communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. The non-verbal communications comprise of body language and tone of voice. Hence, the private tutors can get more clue on the students’ performance not only by looking at their homework or report card, but also through interactions and observations. For example, some students may not doing well not because of their lack of knowledge, but simply because of they are not confident enough of their work.     

Pro: More likely to develop strong interpersonal relationships with the tutor, boost self confidence

Cons: Take more time to see the result or improvement in performance 


Online Tuition:

On the other hand, online tutoring by the means of pre-recorded video or live streaming eliminates the noise that may appear in face-to-face communication. It is suitable for students who prefer to be highly focused on the teaching content or are always easily distracted during study. Video contents usually get more attention from the audience compared to textbooks, thanks to its motion and colourful image, and is growing to be one of the future trends in learning. 

If the students need to do revision on a subject that was previously taught in the video, they can always revisit the video. They may also record their live chat or video call with the tutors, so that they can refer to the chat history anytime. This gives them full control over their learning pace instead rushing through the whole tutorial sessions.     


Pro: More focus, more control over own learning pace

Cons: Need to take more initiatives in learning



The student’s style of learning will determine which options to go for. If you are a student who can learn better through real-life interaction and moral support, then opt for private tutors. Otherwise, online tuition would be a better way to your learn as it is straight-forward, rich in content and solution oriented.     



Scheduling and Support 

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Private Tuition:

Although scheduling with a private tutor is more flexible as compared to having tuition at a tuition centre, students will still need to have a pre-arrangement with the tutors as they would need to travel to the students’ home or to a meet up point. Last minute requests might not be viable at certain timings, for e.g. if the students need assistance at late night.     


A private tutor could be an important mentor or a role model to the students, especially to those in primary schools where they are at the stage of mental development and identity formation. Some students even imitate the person they admire as a process of learning. Since the private tutors are involved in the creation of the students’ personalized learning experiences, it is no doubt they have great influence on them. A good private tutor will support and encourage the students to help them thrive in their study and also in their personal life. That is why when choosing a private tutor, parents or students should really invest some time in getting the most suitable candidate. 


Pro: Encouragement from a good tutor, role model

Cons: Might not be able to accommodate last minutes class 


Online Tuition:

One of the advantages of online tuition is that it provides quick and immediate help to students whenever they get stuck while studying or doing homework - literally anytime and anywhere! As long as the students have a digital device and a stable internet connection, they can access the video or ask for a video call at any time of the day, be it early morning or late at night. Online tuition also requires lesser commitment in terms of cost and time because the students can get the tuition only when they need it, such as when they face some difficulty questions and just need a helping hand on those particular questions.   


Most of the online tuition offer lessons on desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phones. That means it only takes a small device like smart phone for the students to connect to their online tutor or view the study content. The solutions to your questions are at your fingertips. There are some online tutoring platforms, like iMath, that has a feature called the community wall that gathers experts, enthusiasts and parents to answer the students’ questions. Students can just post questions or upload photo of the questions to the wall. In no time, they will be notified and get their problems answered at no cost.   


The only thing the students need to take note on taking online tuition is that they need to be more disciplined. Since students have the flexibility to arrange their own class schedule and there are so many other school activities that needed to be prioritized, they may end up postponing the online tuition and find themselves procrastinating. Thus, students should make sure they have a good time management, have planned ahead and are committed in following through the schedule once they have decided to engage in online tuition. 


Pro: Quick and immediate, help available anytime anywhere

Cons: Students need to be disciplined 



Private tuition works best for those students who can commit lesson plan and need more support from the tutors. If you are looking for instant, convenient and more affordable options, then online tuition will be a better choice.     




Ultimately, private tuition and online tuition are not meant to substitute each other. Rather, they serve as alternatives for the parents and students to get the best suitable help. Each student’s learning journey is different and they might need different kind of help in different stages. Nonetheless, with the arrival of digital era, going online is inevitable and it will surely change the way the education industry works. It is worth giving the online tuition a try and see how it can help you. If you are ready to get some help on your study through online tutoring platform, try out iMath.


Founded by an experienced educator, teacher trainer and coach Liu Yueh Mei, iMath is an online learning community that focused on Mathematics. By utilizing the digital technology, the online platform aims to connect all Mathematics learners beyond geographical boundaries and promote a passionate learning culture that help students to excel academically and the enthusiasts to thrive. 

Besides featuring the Community Wall which lets students post their questions and get it answered for free, iMath also gives you the best learning experience with their virtual classroom. In case you need a more personalized tutorial to assist with your questions, you may always request a 30 minutes one on one video call session and book your preferred tutor and schedule. Rest assured that you will not miss out any of the scheduled sessions on iMath as there will be a reminder sent to you  regarding upcoming sessions. iMath has received a lot of praise in their testimonials from parents for being an effective mathematics tutoring platform.

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Check out more info about iMath on this website or send in your enquiry. Alternatively, you may download and try our iMath app on Google Play Store or Apple App Store.