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The global online tutoring market

The global online tutoring market

The global tuition industry has grown at a rapid rate over the last decade, with students competing to get the edge on their peers and gain entrance into evermore competitive schools and universities.

Once the domain of more privileged families and their children, affordable and effective tuition has now become more widely available for students of all backgrounds and abilities. Within the tuition sector, online tuition has exploded in popularity, with tech-savvy students looking to find tutors who can fit into their increasingly busy schedules, and this growth shows no signs of slowing down.

In the UK alone, estimates for the value of the tuition industry as a whole range between £2-6 billion, with online tuition now being a key player within this sector. Students and parents are drawn to its flexibility, innovation, and ease of access, with numerous online learning platforms and tools having been developed in the last few years.

Moreover, many students are attracted by online tuition’s affordability – in general, it tends to be cheaper than face-to-face tuition, but just as effective.

According to the market research company Technavio, the global tuition market is expected to reach a value of a staggering $60 billion by the year 2023, showing that the industry’s meteoric rise is only set to continue.

In terms of the subjects that are tutored globally, Maths is by far the most popular, followed closely by English and the Sciences, as these are the key subjects in school curricula worldwide.

So, just how did tuition come to be such a key player in the education industry and where is it headed in the future? In this article, we explore tuition’s rise in popularity, and its trajectory toward future success.

The growth of the tutoring industry and what has impacted its rise

Tuition has flourished in a world of ultra-competitive schools, universities, and jobs, where the class of your degree distinguishes you more than the fact of actually having one. According to a study published by The Sutton Trust in 2019, at least 41% of children in London alone were receiving tuition, a figure which has surely risen in the following years.

Once the preserve of wealthier families, discovered through word of mouth, and carried out solely in-person, the growth of the tuition industry has been spurred on by a heady mixture of competition for school places, harder exams, and a tough global job market.

Online tuition then appeared on the scene to provide flexible, tech-forward tuition that meets the needs of today’s busy, technology-focused students, and it has done so with aplomb.

Much of tuition’s growth has been, and will be, down to the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). This is largely down to the fact that STEM education is globally essential in excelling at numerous competitive examinations in order to gain admission to higher education institutions.

With many institutions shifting their focus to STEM subjects, students begin to access tuition from the start of their secondary education to help them gain a good grasp of these subjects, and to secure their educational future.

The aspect of online tuition that has proven most effective with students, and has thus led to its prevalence within the tutoring industry, is ‘microlearning’. Microlearning involves skill-based learning that is delivered in small, manageable units, and uses more short-term focused strategies to develop understanding and knowledge.

This idea of more ‘bitesized’ learning means that online tutors are able to more easily maintain a student’s attention, especially when using resources such as videos and games to keep lessons interesting and engaging. Microlearning, along with the flexibility of online tuition, has meant that it has become a hugely popular option for students across the world.

Tutors, too, are largely in favour of online teaching. By employing these microlearning concepts, tutors can appeal to a wider demographic, thus easily expanding their client base.

Moreover, teaching online removes travel time and expenses, and geographical barriers to tutoring, meaning they can be tutoring a child in London in the morning, and New York in the afternoon. As most tutors are self-employed, the ability to expand their client base and teaching experience is invaluable.

The major players in the global online tuition market

The tuition market is largely a fragmented one, with numerous players occupying the lion’s share of the market. Some of the big names in the industry are companies such as Chegg, MyTutor, and EF Education First, who have a presence in 114 countries worldwide, and over 52,000 employees.

Not surprisingly, many of tuition’s major players originate from Asia. According to an article by EdSurge in 2017, Asian households (mainly those in China, Japan and South Korea) spend around 15% of their household income on supplemental educational services such as tuition, compared to just 2% in the USA.

Some of the key players in the Asian market are TAL Education Group, New Oriental Education and Technology, and iTutorGroup, who offer English training in over 40 countries.

The popularity of tuition in Asia, and the competitiveness within Asian education, shows no signs of abating, so there is no doubt that more companies will rise to become key players in the global online tuition market, especially those that cater well to STEM students and their educational needs.

The future of the tutoring industry

This growth, however, will not just be restricted to the Asian tuition market. In a market research report carried out by Technavio in 2019, the global tuition industry is set to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% between 2019-2023, which is used for an industry that is currently valued at around $100 billion by market research company Global Industry Analysts.

Technavio predicts that around 43% of this growth is expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, due to constant demand for tutors to help students with test prep for competitive educational institutions.

As the global standardisation of many of these tests continue, online tuition will be able to grow faster and more effectively, and companies are more easily able to globally scale up. Moreover, as these tests continue to increase in difficulty, there will be no shortage of students on the hunt for tutors.

In order for this growth to be sustained, e-learning must continue to adapt to the needs of modern students, and tutors must personalise their resources and learning styles for individual learners. By using microlearning techniques to deliver concise and relevant content, students will continue to find online tuition a flexible and functional tool to spur them on to success.

Natasha Saednejad

Natasha Saednejad is a French, Spanish, and ESL tutor in Surrey. A graduate of French & Hispanic Studies from King's College London, Natasha runs her own tutoring company in Surrey, NMS Tuition.

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