Looks like online learning during the pandemic has taken its toll on many students.
According to a recent survey by Wyzant, a tutoring marketplace in the U.S., it queried 1,020 independent tutors listed on its platform about the current education landscape, one year into the pandemic and released its findings.
The survey illuminates the experiences of tutors across the U.S., who have a unique perspective on how the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted teaching and learning. Many families and students have turned to online tutors as a way to stem learning loss that began happening when the pandemic forced widespread school closures nearly one year ago, a news release said.
“This data reveals that remote learning has taken a social, emotional, and academic toll on both students and educators,” said Elaine Richards, president, and COO of Wyzant. “As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, our tutor survey confirms the reality of learning loss and how much additional support is and will be needed to recover it.”
Signs of Learning Loss Among Students
The prolonged period of remote learning has been difficult for students, and many are exhibiting signs of learning loss. Even with schools planning to reopen at some point this year, tutors who were surveyed expressed concern:
- One-third (32%) of tutors believe a portion of students will never catch up.
- 30% believe students will catch up next year during the 2021/2022 school year.
- 20% reported it will take at least two years for students to catch up.
Technology’s Role in Education
The pandemic has also had a profound impact on the way teachers engage with students. Of the tutors surveyed, 78% indicated that students who are learning remotely in a virtual classroom need the most assistance with supplemental help.
“I started tutoring long after the pandemic began, but I believe the flow of students I have had has occurred, in large measure, because students want and need more personal, supplemental one-on-one tutoring,” explained one tutor in the news release.
Respondents also had insights on how the education landscape has changed and the impact on virtual learning:
- The majority of tutors (80%) said that education has changed as a result of the pandemic, mostly because technology is playing a much greater role in student’s lives.
- But even with technology’s ability to connect individuals virtually, 71% of respondents said many students are suffering from a lack of real-world connections with teachers and fellow students.
The Future of Education
COVID-19 has accelerated the widespread adoption of online tutoring and many learners will likely continue utilizing tutoring services even after the pandemic is over and when schools reopen:
- Almost half (43%) of respondents have seen an uptick in their tutoring volume since the pandemic started and more than half (53%) expect it to stay the same when the world returns to “normal.”
- 22% said their tutoring business on Wyzant increased about 16-30% during the pandemic.
- Wyzant saw a 264% increase in homeschooling sessions year over year from 2020 to 2019.
“Tutoring online makes me available to more students. And, it is more convenient than in-person tutoring. I am starting to like online tutoring more than in-person tutoring,” said one tutor in the news release.
The Rise in Online Tutoring
Wyzant’s network of independent tutors expanded by more than 25,000 tutors during the economic recession. According to the survey, the majority of tutor respondents (32%) recently started tutoring, and a quarter (25%) joined Wyzant as a result of the pandemic. Over 50% of respondents were not in-classroom teachers before the pandemic.
The findings also uncovered that 35% of respondents work full-time in addition to tutoring while 65% don’t work a full-time job and solely tutor whenever they want, set their own schedule on Wyzant. Additional findings include:
- About one-fifth (21%) of tutors are age 65 or older.
- While Wyzant offers subjects for learners of all ages from kindergarten through adult learners, the majority of tutors (36%) said they teach high school students.
- Tutoring sessions in K-12 also saw a large increase in 2020 over 2019, with English, Organic Chemistry, and Writing seeing 59%, 80%, and 72% growth, respectively.
- Homeschooling across K-12 also saw a 264% increase.
About the Methodology:
Wyzant conducted the survey of 1,020 U.S. tutors, spanning ages 18 to 65 or older, online between January 26, 2021, and February 5, 2021.