The Edu-Commerce Blog

[Article Response] Wall Street Journal's "Invasion of the Online Tutors"

Posted by Evan Lewis  |   November 15, 2013

video

The Wall Street Journal recently published a great article highlighting use-cases for some of the most popular online tutoring sites on the web. 

This article brings attention to the glaring issues facing traditional education businesses today. If you own a brick-and-mortar learning center or tutoring company, you likely feel threatened by companies like Tutor.com, TutorVista, or others. 

The fact is, there are hundreds of online education service providers that are trying to steal market share from in-person education companies. And they are succeeding. 

Technology isn't going away. These services are profiting, and the reach and functionality of the technology is only going to improve. No matter what type of teaching you do, you can bet that someone, somewhere is building an online destination for those same teaching resources.

This is not meant to be scary. It is however, meant to bring something to light. We are in the midst of a revolution - technology is optimizing the inefficiencies in the education system, and it is showing no signs of slowing down.

As years pass, students will have more and more technology exposure, and will be expecting online components for all learning experiences. 

Judging from the video above, it's clear that technology has benefits for parents too.

So if schools, students and parents are embracing online education, is in-person tutoring going to die out?

Certainly not.

Tutor.com is great for instant online help for A students. The interaction is quick, lightweight, and there is no real relationship built with the tutor.

Online learning tools are convenient, but they are only half of the experience. 

B and C students who need more help will continue to rely on in-person tutoring, and they will look to their local learning center or tutoring company to provide it. They will meet in-person and build trust with their tutor - the tutor will be there to help them through hours of homework, explain difficult concepts, and be truly hands-on in the learning experience. 

But what if the tutor is sick and can't meet in person? Or if the weather is bad and parents don't want to drive? Or the student is busy at the only time their tutor is free?

The student wants to be tutored, the tutoring company wants the business, but increasingly it's becoming less convenient for them to meet in-person. 

So does the student move to Tutor.com? If they do, the traditional tutoring company loses out on valuable revenue. And if the online experience is good, that loss of business is likely to become a recurring problem.

Put simply, education businesses need to come online. Not all teaching has to take place online, but if a student asks for online tutoring and you can't provide it, you are going to lose business.

At eProf, we want to level the playing field and make sure every business has access to world-class education technology.

Not only that, we want to make you a pro online teacher. It's one thing to have the technology, but it's another thing to be confident with it and use this technology to improve your business.

It's going to take time, but it's what is necessary for your business to remain competitive and healthy.

You have worked too hard to get your business to where it is today. You don't have fold from the pressure of online competitors - in fact, we think you have the advantage. You can out-compete them by offering something they can't: the personal touch you already deliver so successfully.

It might not be immediate, but you will build a beautiful bridge between your in-person and online tutoring. And we'll be here to help.

Thoughts? Questions? Want to discuss this topic further?

Send a note to evan@eprof.com or Tweet @evanlewis_