From psychology and biology to programming languages and quantum mechanics today you can get the knowledge without leaving your sofa. Online tutoring platforms are an effective solution when it comes to online learning.
There are many available options to learn online. You can watch videos on Youtube, find online courses on Udemy or Coursera, or use a tutoring platform. Unlike other available options, these platforms combine virtual learning with one-on-one mentoring. Being able to communicate with a teacher is an effective way to learn a new subject. And technology makes tutoring accessible to everyone.
Obviously, only the best products have a chance to attract the attention of spoilt for choice customers.
Let’s get a closer look at the top tutoring companies, which have managed to provide favourable experience for lots of students and tutors.
Started as an online textbook rental company based in California, Chegg has grown to an online platform that matches users with online tutoring, scholarship and internship opportunities, and prepares them for wide-spread tests such as ACT, SAT, GRE etc. The target audience of Chegg are high-school and college students.
Today Chegg is one of the most popular online tutoring companies recognized by online community.
This platform has a strict verification process of a potential tutor and therefore guarantees high level of educational process that attracts lots of users. At the end of every session a student gives feedback to the tutor that will be visible on the tutor’s profile. This approach allows tutors to build a reputation and attract more opportunities.
Chegg uses an hourly rate system for tutors. Payments are held via PayPal and the majority of credit cards. Tutors are paid only via PayPal, payments are processed automatically every Thursday morning. All tutors are paid $20/hour for the time spent on a lesson with students, and the time spent writing a lesson explanation.
Today Chegg continues to provide services of selling and renting books. Company takes part in Green marketing promotion – they plant a tree for every book rented or sold. The firm claims they planted over five million trees to date.
To create Chegg, the following technologies were used:
- PHP for back-end development;
- jQuery as a framework for front-end;
- Nginx as a web-server;
- Backbone.js and underscore.js as libraries.
TutorVista in an Indian online tutoring platform, which is available around the globe and concentrates its activity on the US market. Founded in 2005, currently this platform connects students with about 2,000 teachers across the United States, India, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Middle East and Southeast Asia. TutorVista is available on PCs, mobile phones and tablets.
TutorVista offers a limited list of subjects that may be tutored or learned. This list includes English, Math, Physics, Statistics, Chemistry and Biology. Each subject is subdivided into disciplines.
To teach on TutorVista tutors need to go through a short training course where they learn to use tutoring tools offered on the platform such as video chat, blackboard, text chat, etc..
To ensure top-quality of education TutorVista demands that their tutors have a bachelor or master’s degree in the selected training discipline.
On TutorVista the educational process is organized as training sessions lasting for 45 minutes. Each tutor is required to work at least four hours a day.
From elementary school to higher education, TutorVista classifies tutoring sessions based on different study levels.
Technologies that were used to create TutorVista include:
- Twitter Bootstrap and jQuery for front-end;
- PHP 5.2 for back-end;
- Apache as web server;
Positioned by its creators as an online tutoring marketplace, Canadian resource Skooli connects K-12 and college students with verified tutors online. Skooli offers more than 1,700 subjects and tutors for elementary, middle and high school, university, master’s and PhD students.
Skooli is a subscription-based service, which means you can learn as many hours as you wish once you’ve subscribed to Skooli. Students can book instant sessions or arrange a session for a future date.
Striving to connect students with the best professional tutors, Skooli performs rigorous verification on every tutor – each candidate needs to have at least a bachelor or a master’s degree/PHD, or any specialized instructor qualification. To make sure only certified teachers are register on the platform, Skooli does a background check where a teacher is required to show a certification and an ID proof.
To enhance its reputation, Skooli assures all students will be satisfied with their online experience. Standing by this, Skooli provides students with the following satisfaction guarantee: if a student is not completely happy after the first 30 minutes of their first tutoring session, the platform will provide them with a free half hour tutoring session with a new tutor.
In Skooli’s online classroom users can communicate via video and, text chat, and interactive board. File sharing, session recordings and Google Drive integration are also available for customers.
The platform is desktop and mobile friendly. It can be accessed from a computer, mobile phone or tablet.
Skooli pays tutors immediately upon reaching a milestone of $100. The platform accepts payments in the following ways: through PayPal and all major credit cards.
Skooli was built by means of:
- PHP 5.6 for back-end development;
- jQuery for front-end development;
- Nginx was as a web server;
- Moment.js as library.
Wyzant is an online service that matches students with tutors. Based in Chicago, Illinois, it was founded in 2005 by two Princeton graduates.
In 2014 Wyzant had 80 employees, more than 76,000 active tutors in its database and over than 200 subjects for tutoring. Wyzant claims to have around 2,000,000 registered users: from kids who go to kindergarten to PhD candidates. In the same year Wyzant claimed to have booked $100 million in tutoring session and almost 2,5 million hours of tuition.
Wyzant’s courses can be held both online and offline. To find a teacher not far away, a student can enter their ZIP-code and detect a tutor near them. The platform is available as a web and mobile application which can be downloaded on App Store or Google Play.
In order to start with the Wyzant platform, a potential teacher has to go to the sign-up page, select subjects he or she wants to teach, fill up basic information including all educational qualifications, provide previous experience and verify email.
Wyzant requires a tutor to provide a valid social security number and the US account number. Payments on this platform are carried out twice a month by means of PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
Wyzant was developed with the help of the following technologies:
- ASP.NET and PHP for back-end;
- jQuery as front-end framework;
- IIS as a web-server;
What features do best tutoring companies have?
All educational platforms listed above have a space on their sites where tutors can connect with students, often called a learning suite.
Almost all learning websites allow for recording student’s sessions to let students review what they discussed with the tutor. Also, suites with drawing pads or workspaces make it easier for students to collaborate with tutors and work through problems in the virtual space.
Some sites, including Skooli and TutorVista, let customers test out their learning platforms before paying a fee, or offer a free trial. This is a good way to persuade students to use the platform.
The services mentioned in this article let student connect with tutors in a variety of ways, including video and voice online chats. They also allow users to upload files and worksheets and share screen with each other.
One of our Whidegroup’s tutoring projects is Teachingme, a free online website that provides education and tuition help, learning resources and local classes.
Launched in the end of 2016, Teachingme has over 6,500 teachers and 3,000 students in its database. In addition to traditional lessons on Languages, Academics and Technology, Teachingme offers such classes as Craft, Dance, Music, Sports and Art. The minimum price for a lesson is $5/hr.
The main goal of Teachingme is to connect students with selected tutors in Australia. 100% of lessons and courses are held offline, in classrooms, at the learner’s place or at a local cafe. To schedule a lesson with a tutor customers can use an online chat. We used Magento CMS to build Teachingme. Other technologies include:
- – PHP 5.6 for back-end;
- – jQuery as front-end framework;
- – Apache as a web-server;
Whidegroup has enriched standard out-of-the box Magento functionality with several custom implementations such as custom geolocation, custom calendar and role-based access control (check out our case study to learn more about it).
The Teachingme features are:
- Geolocation – user coordinates are stored on the server;
- Role-based access control. One user can act as a student and as a tutor via single account;
- Custom calendar (you can learn more about it here).
Teachingme allows to find a teacher near the student. To find a teacher, a student enters their ZIP-code or location and specifies an allowable distance between them and a tutor.
It took our team of two developers and a project manager about six month (or 1300 hours) to build Teachingme.
Must have features for an minimum viable product (MVP) of a tutoring platform
All the mentioned platforms basically include the following features:
- Identifying students’ learning needs;
- Matching these needs with selected tutors;
- Assessing the quality of services provided.
A powerful tutoring online marketplace can’t exist without them. This means they are crucial for your MVP. A fully-fledged version of the product requires more advanced functionality and additional features.
Here is how the requirements for an MVP and a more advanced tutoring platform might look like.
What is required in:
Identify and prioritize student’s needs, using teacher and student data
- Identify and prioritize student’s needs, using teacher, student and educational institution data (student’s marks, educational background etc);
- Provide online tests to help students identify their needs.
- Search the database of teachers and programs;
- Identify and prioritize relevant programs;
- Show the price of the program.
Show characteristics of schools or students who have used a similar program (e.g. a user can see that the majority of platform’s participants are students at schools specializing in Math, i.e. tutoring course is targeted for high level of training)
- Show ratings and rewards;
- Show user complaints.
Predict teacher’s workload for the near future
Requirements for MVP and advanced product
Summing up the above
According to edtechmagazine, currently there are nearly six million students who take at least one online course as a part of their degree program, and this number is increasing. Students need a suitable marketplace with user friendly functionality, which will create perfect conditions for online education and tutoring. Whidegroup can help you build this marketplace.