I’ve never been the student nor the teacher when it comes to Online Learning (unless a few sessions using an office tool with a bunch of others counts). However one of the projects I have worked on was for an American based company that does online tutoring for students of all school grades as well as college students. From time to time they also did provide adult learning classes as well. Now in these cases there is no video interaction allowed – the company has a software that they use for the purpose of duplicating the white board effect and the student can view the text at the same time as the teacher types it out. For subjects like Math, they also use a digital pen and pad as it makes things easier.
Now I have not done any of the tutoring myself but from some of the parents feedback I got the impression that the tutors were of a really high quality and I’d say a solid 90% of the parents and students were happy with the tutoring provided. My company provided the marketing side of things as the client company in California had outsourced the tele-marketing, fixing of appointments for a demo and some of the customer care to the company I worked for and mostly things were done well and client, customer & us would be happy. Sometimes outside factors make it difficult for the things to happen smoothly and hence there are dissatisfied customers and cancellation of classes. I would say a lot of it was due to the parents being unaware of what their child is upto (either the parents are too busy or they are too demanding or their kids are pain in the butts and are not interested in attending the sessions) and from time to time, the client’s in house staff (particularly one person) would mess up the session timings and hence the customers would get annoyed at us.
I believe that it depends on the student in question; a student who wants to learn and is comfortable with taking lessons online will do well if the teacher is able but a bad student can ruin the sessions and even the best teachers can salvage the time & effort being spent. In some cases the student is lost without that personal face-to-face interaction. I believe that the parents should put an effort to take part in the first few classes (which our client company even encouraged) and make a decision to continue based on their observations. Especially if the student is below 14-15. This will make things clear and they can base their decisions wisely.