Have you considered online learning or tutoring for your child?
In times of uncertainty, such as the current coronavirus fears or the perennial haze situation in Southeast Asia, Singaporean parents may prefer to keep their children indoors, which is when e-learning services may see an increase in demand.
Crises aside, some forward-thinking parents have been quick to make the switch to online learning for their kids, and this could be the way of the future, if more parents are willing to take the leap.
Could online learning or tutoring work for your child? Receiving lessons via a digital platform shouldn’t pose a problem for internet-savvy kids — but just as in a physical setting, the true test lies in your child’s willingness to adapt and learn.
The e-learning industry — also known as “edtech” — is a billion-dollar industry, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for over half of the global market share. With Singapore’s emphasis on academics and lifelong learning, there is certainly much potential for edtech innovation in the city. In fact, every year, Singapore plays host to Asia’s largest education conference and exhibition, EduTech Asia.
Adult Singaporeans have certainly begun to embrace online learning. In 2015, it was reported that 140,000 Singaporeans had enrolled in courses offered by online learning portal Coursera, which offers classes in partnership with universities all over the world, including top universities such as Yale and Stanford, as well as local universities NUS and NTU. Coursera is tight-lipped about its course completion rates, but it has claimed high enrolment and finishing rates for some of its courses, ranging from machine learning and programming to marketing.
Likewise, there is a wealth of online learning options on the market for children. Digital learning sites like Khan Academy and Udemy provide online academic and enrichment classes for free, or a small fee. Some sites allow you to learn at your own time and pace (with pre-recorded videos), while others run teacher-guided classes at specific time slots that you will need to sign up for.
Local schools have also incorporated online learning into their curriculum, and you may be familiar with your children having to complete their homework assignments on e-learning sites such as KooBits, myON, and the Ministry of Education’s Student Learning Space.
The biggest advantage of online learning is, naturally, convenience. This is especially true if you have more than one child, and are having issues with juggling your children’s multiple schedules. Since learning will take place in the comfort of your home, you could schedule an evening class without affecting your child’s bedtime, or schedule different classes for different children at the same time. And in the event that your children should fall ill, they can still attend classes if they feel up to it.
Furthermore, as videoconferencing becomes more prevalent in the world of work and in higher education institutions, online learning and tutoring could be a good way to ease your child into these digital interactions, where one will have to speak clearly — and at an appropriate volume — to be understood. (Currently, in response to Singapore’s orange alert status for the coronavirus situation, several local universities have opted to conduct large lectures online, and they also plan to use tele- and video-conferencing to replace face-to-face sessions.)
Another advantage of online learning is that your child will not be limited to a teacher from Singapore; for instance, high achievers with big dreams are now able to hire Ivy League or Oxbridge tutors, based anywhere in the world, for online tutoring sessions.
Is online tutoring cheaper than in-person tutoring? One might assume that it should be, as tutors can save on traveling costs. However, according to local consumer spending website ValueChampion, this may not necessarily be the case. In fact, they estimate that online tutoring fees are fairly similar to in-person tutoring fees — from about S$30 to over S$100 per hour — because tutors will probably have to pay a fee to the learning portals that they use, and this expense will be passed on to the student.
As for the way classes are conducted, this will vary according to the learning interface used by the e-learning provider. For tutoring sessions, a split-screen approach is common, where one can see the tutor as well as other students attending the class. Some providers may use interactive whiteboards with graphics, while others may require you to print out materials prior to each session.
A local mother (who blogs under the name “Mummy Ed”) has let her children try online tutoring classes in Science and Chinese. She has seen the merits of online tutoring, but concedes that there are some downsides as well. For one, she says, technical issues may arise from time to time:
“The bad thing about [the lessons] being online is sometimes the connection isn’t too good and teachers or students end up with ‘robotic’ voices,” she recalls. “There was also once when the teacher kept having connection issues and they had another teacher [substitute for her]… Another time… we had to postpone a lesson due to connection problems.”
She also describes a science session where a tutor required her son to type out his answers, but this quickly became time consuming as her son had not learned how to type quickly on a keyboard. For Chinese lessons, she observes that it can be difficult for an online tutor to correct handwriting or check on the order of the character strokes for each word.
Her advice to parents who are thinking of trying an online tutoring service: Consider your child’s personality and learning needs, and assess if the subject in question can be easily taught online.
Is Online Learning Effective? Try It Yourself!
Could an online class transform the way that your child learns, while freeing up precious time and energy for your family? Do take advantage of the opportunities below to find out for yourself.
Study English And Maths Anytime With OneSanta
With OneSanta, your child can watch online lessons from the comfort of your home, or even on the go. OneSanta’s learning materials are closely aligned with the Ministry of Education’s syllabus. For S$19.90 per month, you can subscribe to OneSanta’s English and Maths lessons.
Have a burning question to ask? Direct it to OneSanta’s teachers through the online platform. You will be surprised at how quick and thorough the explanations are, and it definitely feels like having a personal tutor with 24/7 availability! Enjoy all these learning features with no minimum commitment period.
Use the promotional code “Kiasu25” for 25% off your first month’s registration fee. You can also stand to win S$30 Popular vouchers, simply by sharing OneSanta’s Facebook post. To double your chance to win, like and follow their page as well — 10 lucky winners will be chosen.
Write Awesome English Compositions With WritingSamurai.com
Let your child learn how to write awesome compositions — without memorising bombastic words or phrases — on WritingSamurai.com. If you wish to download model compositions based on common exam topics and other free learning resources for your child, this is the site to visit. What’s more, you can opt to receive their free email newsletters with tips for English and composition writing.
WritingSamurai also provides online courses for Composition Writing, Comprehension (open-ended), Cloze Passage, and more. Once your child enrols in a premium course on WritingSamurai, he or she gets to watch the lesson videos, do the assignments, and submit them via email for marking and review. WritingSamurai’s teachers will reply in three to five working days, with feedback on how to improve. Your child will work on a variety of assignments, which will equip him or her with a mental toolbox to tackle any composition topic creatively.
Boost Your Grades With Jimmy Maths
Jimmy Maths provides online courses for Primary and Secondary maths. The courses are conducted by Jimmy Ling, a local maths teacher who has taught over 10,000 students, both online and in his tuition centre. Through his concept-based teaching methodology and three-step problem-solving process, most of his students have seen tremendous improvements, with more than 80% of his students scoring A and B every year.
With Jimmy Maths, your child will learn the necessary concepts from recorded videos. After watching the videos, there will be assignments with step-by-step solutions for practice. Through the evaluation quizzes, which are marked by Jimmy Maths tutors, you will know how your child is progressing. If your child needs any help with the assignments (or with school homework), you can WhatsApp their tutors for help.
Visit the website for free maths eBooks and videos, and sign up to receive maths tips and common exam questions by email. Your child can also enrol in a free trial of their online courses.
Get Expert Guidance With ScienceShifu
ScienceShifu provides online science courses for Primary students, with a method that simplifies science concepts for your child.
Enrol your child in a ScienceShifu course, and he or she will get to watch lesson videos that provide step-by-step guidance to understand science concepts and grasp the correct answering techniques. Assignments with detailed answers are provided so that your child can check his or her level of understanding, and identify mistakes. Your child can also utilise ScienceShifu’s personal marking services to get detailed feedback.
If your child needs help with school homework, simply take a picture of the question and send it via WhatsApp to ScienceShifu — its team of experts will get back to you with solutions. Visit the website for free science revision notes and challenging science questions that will be useful for your child’s revision. You can also download free eBooks and receive weekly newsletters with learning tips and the latest exam questions.
Sharpen Your Writing Skills With ChineseCompositions.com
Brought to you by the WritingSamurai team after overwhelming requests from parents and students, ChineseCompositions.com is a brand-new site that offers online courses for Chinese composition writing and other aspects of the Chinese language.
Visit the site to download its free learning resources: Model Compositions, 80 Phrases To Use For Chinese Compositions, and more! Your child can also enrol in the online composition classes, where he or she will get to watch lesson videos, work on varied assignments, and submit the assignments to receive feedback within three to five working days.
As the Chinese language becomes more relevant in the business world, it pays to improve your child’s mastery of the language. Check out ChineseCompositions.com today.
Learn Mandarin Online with LingoAce
LingoAce provides online Chinese classes for students aged 6 to 15. Each LingoAce class maintains a 1:4 teacher-student ratio for effective teaching and collaborative learning. Your child’s LingoAce teacher will maintain regular contact with you (through video calls) to update you on your child’s progress. You can also replay the lesson video to observe your child’s learning.
Let ACE Chinese together with your friends! The second student enjoys 50% off, register now and get an exclusive new term goodie bag worth $188.
Learn Maths Online With SixClouds
Edutech company SixClouds is offering KSP readers a free 30-day trial account to its maths lessons called SMILE (Singapore Maths Innovative Learning Experience): sign up here! SMILE is aligned with the Ministry of Education’s Primary 1 to 6 syllabus. Children learn through animated videos that translate complex math concepts into easily understood visual ideas.
Post a review on the SixClouds Facebook page by 9 April 2020 and stand a chance to win a 12-month subscription. Double your chances of winning by “liking” their Facebook page. Winners will be notified via email on 15 April 2020.
Post Your Study Questions On KSP’s AskQ
Get crowdsourced answers from the KiasuParents community when your child encounters homework problems or difficulties while revising for tests and examinations. AskQ is a free KiasuParents platform for parents, students, and tutors to post and answer academic questions.