Online vs. in-person tutoring: pros and cons


Given that TeacherFindr is a tutoring company powered by teachers, you might think we’ll say that in-person tutoring guarantees a superior experience compared to online options. But we’re a community of educators, not sales people. We want parents to know the advantages and disadvantages of both online and in-person tutoring. Here’s the bottom line: between your family’s schedule and your child’s particular learning needs, you should choose whichever tutoring format you’re most comfortable with.

Online tutoring: advantages


Without a doubt, this is the most commonly cited advantage of online tutoring. Provided you have a reliable internet connection, a microphone, and a webcam, your child can meet with their tutor from any corner of the household and nobody will get stuck in traffic. Groups like Khan Academy have a wealth of on-demand videos for students who need quick one-way instruction.

Supply of tutors

Online tutoring companies proudly cite how technology allows them to hire qualified tutors from around the world, regardless of location. And they’re right; online tutoring is just as convenient for the instructor as it is the student. In particular, online tutoring has transformed the way people learn foreign languages and prepare for standardized tests.

Online tutoring: disadvantages

Quality control

While quality certainly varies among both online and in-person tutors, it’s simply easier to tell in person whether your child’s tutor can teach the subject matter. An in-person tutoring relationship gives parents more control over the direction of tutoring to ensure that sessions build towards content mastery rather than just completing homework assignments. Additionally, online tutors are unlikely to be certified instructors, much less know how the curriculum standards in your district.

Building rapport

As anyone who’s Skyped with a loved one knows, video conferencing can’t pick up on every visual cue in a conversation. The student’s questions and the tutor’s explanations may not be clearly communicated the first time around, which results in a less efficient use of your time. The physical barrier between tutor and student means that students feel less accountable to their online tutor and less engaged with virtual learning.

In-person tutoring: advantages

Efficient, personalized learning

The best instruction happens when a teacher can watch a student’s verbal and visual cues and adjust their approach on the fly. Why add a technological barrier into the mix? Whereas online tutors have to wait for students to submit their responses, tutors that are in the same room as their students can course correct and introduce different hands-on activities when the need arises. It sounds like a small difference, but over the course of a lesson those moments add up. In-person tutors cover more ground, while online tutors play catch up.

Accountability and trust

In short, in-person tutors are more accountable to their clients. Parents can observe live tutoring sessions as they happen (without eavesdropping on a Skype channel) and reach out to their student’s tutor at any time (without having to leave a message on a web platform). Moreover, parents have a direct say in whether the tutor’s background and credentials meet their standards. We don’t take parents’ trust lightly at TeacherFindr; that’s why we only work with certified teachers who have passed their districts’ stringent, gold-standard background checks.

In-person tutoring: disadvantages

Knowing where to start

Finding a tutor can be a stressful process. Relying on references from friends of friends has its limits, and it’s hard to tell different tutoring companies apart (especially when they all promise results). Given everything else parents juggle in their daily schedules, convenient online lessons sound pretty appealing!  
We understand. That’s why TeacherFindr streamlines the process by matching parents with local, professional teachers who know the local curriculum and standards. That said, knowledge is power, so check out our the rest of our reading series on tutoring. Even if we’re not the right fit for you, we’ll do everything we can to prepare you and your student for success.

Ready to get your child on the right path? Talk to a concierge or click on the get started button