What are the pros and cons of studying English through online tuition?

Pro #1: Access to content an unlimited number of times

Unlike physical classroom teaching where teachers only go through a certain lesson once, online tuition allows for access to content an unlimited number of times. Tutors of online tuition classes usually make use of the learning tools available to screen-record live video lessons and to upload video lessons. As these resources are stored in the platform for an indefinite period of time, students can access the content several times. This is useful for students who cannot follow the speed of lesson, allowing them to review and understand the content at a suitable pace. This is especially beneficial when revising for upcoming examinations.

Pro #2: Providing timely and useful feedback

In a physical classroom setting, teachers might face difficulty in keeping track of their students progress and not provide effective feedback. With an online learning platform, the tutors are able to track every student’s progress. For example, when students finish an online exercise, the platform can generate and record their scores which is easy for the teachers to look back on. Certain platforms also provide reporting and analytic tools that allow teachers to pinpoint a students’ strengths and weaknesses. This allows for tutors to provide more personalised and accurate feedback. Tutors can also adjust their lessons to focus on the concepts which their tuition class have difficulty in understanding. Furthermore, students may also be able to assess their own strengths and weaknesses based on the platform diagnosis.

Pro #3: Independent learning

Online tuition gives students access to many practice questions, notes and resources. English is a subject which requires constant exposure and practice. To excel in this subject, students need to take the initiative to practice more. Online tuition is therefore the perfect opportunity to do so. Students watch learning videos and complete practice questions at their own time and certain systems can generate diagnosis reports which lets the students know the areas which require improvement. Having easy access to such valuable resources can promote independent learning, which is an important life skill that will motivate them to become proficient and excel in English.

Con #1: Needs motivation

Online learning can take place in the comfort of one’s own home. This can reduce the travelling time of students, giving them more time to both study and rest. On the other hand, students are not watched over by their teachers and not used to the rigour of studying. This may result in a lack of discipline and motivation. The lack of motivation to engage in online learning is extremely detrimental as to do well for the exams, it is important that students have constant exposure and practice to have a strong foundation in English. There is a need to cultivate and pique the students’ curiosity in English which will instil independence and encourage them to take charge of their own learning.

Con #2: Need for customisation

In a physical classroom setting, teachers can tweak their teaching to suit the learning needs of their students. This ensures that students can follow the lesson and learn at a comfortable pace. However, online lessons are usually standardised and are a one-size fits all arrangement, which do not cater to the learning needs of students. The online learning platform needs to be customised by having various learning methods to cater to different learning styles. To capture the attention and interest of students, lessons and practices also need to be made interesting and applicable.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to studying English through online tuition. However, I believe that online tuition ultimately is a good platform to learn English. It supplements what teachers teach in school and the disadvantages which I have mentioned can be mitigated.

By Simon Ng