Tutoring has never been more important for students or as popular for entrepreneurs looking to start up their own businesses! But it takes plenty of planning to launch a successful tutoring business, and one of the most vital yet overlooked components is tutoring software. Whether your tutoring model is online, in-person, or blended, you’ll want to select software packed with the right tools aimed at improving your tutoring workflow and student outcomes.
Ideally, look for tutoring software with a built-in virtual classroom that enables you to teach effectively. The program should also help streamline your day-to-day operations, such as adding new students (or parents, or admins), scheduling tutoring sessions, sharing communications, collecting payments, and generating reports.
Every tutor or tutoring company may have their own slightly different business models and budgets to take into consideration when selecting the best tutoring software for their needs, but read on below for a summary of some of the “must-have” features of good tutoring software.
The Best Tutoring Software Features to Look Out For
Built-In Virtual Classroom
The best tutoring software should include high-resolution video and crystal clear audio, but a virtual classroom needs more than standard teleconference capabilities. You’ll want a purpose-built online classroom with a virtual whiteboard that includes easy-to-use drawing functions. Depending on the subjects you teach, you may need advanced features that allow for math functions, too.
The virtual classroom feature should allow for user-friendly multimedia tests or quizzes. Presentation capabilities are also handy and should be simple enough for your age group of students. A screen recording function is another great bonus feature that allows you or students to capture sessions for later playback or review.
Some software for tutors offer limited customization options for tutors and tutoring agencies to add their own logos, change color schemes, or adjust certain visual aspects. While this is definitely a “nice to have” professional branding feature, it’s not necessarily a “must-have” for solo tutors.
As an alternative, tutors may want to add a few discreet branding touches in their visible screen space, such as a banner behind them or a coffee mug with your logo or business name.
Secure, Transparent Messaging
You’ll want the tutoring platform you use to incorporate a live chat option so your students can send messages in real-time during sessions. It’s also efficient to have in-app messaging capabilities that extend beyond the session, so users don’t have to rely on email or phone texts. Tutors often send out instructions, updates, or links to reading material or videos, so having the ability to do this in-app is much simpler and more organized than traditional email.
You may also want the messaging to be transparent so that parents of younger children can view the correspondence between tutor and student. And you’ll also want to look out for tutoring software that features strong security to protect everyone’s data and privacy from outside cyber threats.
Integrated and Robust Data System
Tutor management software solutions are not all built equally. It’s best to have one that can be fully integrated into your computer system, so no data slips through the cracks. It also needs a robust data system that can allow you to keep track of individual student progress and other analytics, and reconcile tutoring sessions as needed for students, families, or third-party program use.
It’s important to be able to view and report student performance and outcomes. This helps tutors make adjustments and address learning obstacles as needed, thus keeping students on track to achieve their goals. Progress tracking also offers visible proof of your tutoring efficacy, which can be shown to pupils and parents as a means to encourage them to continue with lessons.
In other words, a strong data system can capture Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that allow your tutoring business to measure value and demonstrate effectiveness to students (or parents).
Tutors, students, and parents all need the ability to book sessions in-app. This saves valuable time and keeps everything organized. It’s so much simpler than scheduling over email and phone calls, and experience shows that businesses earn more when they can reduce hassle for customers and thereby enhance loyalty.
It’s also efficient to have automated appointment reminders and the ability to invite students to their tutoring sessions. These extra little features go a long way in ensuring maximum attendance, especially in today’s hectic world.
All users must be able to readily upload, download, share, and save files and other content through the tutoring platform. From lesson plans to homework or reports, these files might sometimes be large or may contain personal information. File sharing should be painless but it’s vital that all information is protected with a program that has strong security and enough recordkeeping and storage capability.
Tutoring Business Management Tools
Remember, as a tutoring entrepreneur, you’re running a business and must treat it as such. That’s why robust business management tools are critical, no matter what subject you’re teaching or how you’re teaching it.
Indeed, whether you’re a one-person shop with a lot of students or running a large team of tutors hosting multiple sessions, you’ll want a program packed with flexible business management tools. If your tutoring company is sizable enough, you may also need admins to manage operations using these built-in tools.
A critical business feature is user management and role-based portal access, which allows permissions to be set for the “roles” of instructors, students, parents, and admins if needed. In other words, each user can be assigned a role that determines what areas and functions of the platform they can access, read, or alter when they are logged in. This is the same principle used when creating standard network accounts at any organization.
Payment collection is, of course, another significant consideration. You want a program that makes it easy and safe to collect payments from your customers using credit cards or, if desired, PayPal or other popular methods. At Pearl, we put a handy payment option right in the Storefront feature, allowing your customers to purchase sessions with the click of a button.
As with any business expenditure, before purchasing professional tutoring software, do your homework to ensure you’re getting a return on your investment. That said, keep growth in mind if you plan to scale your business to add more instructors and students.
It’s better to invest in tutoring software with enough flexibility and options than to waste time learning how to use software your company is only going to outgrow in a few months. Meanwhile, larger tutoring businesses might want to look into acquiring an enterprise license to potentially save money and keep things simple.
One of the amazing things about online tutoring in 2021 is that participants can be scattered all over the globe. However, not all tutoring programs are available for use in every country. Be sure to double-check if there are any country restrictions if you or your expected students are attending from outside the U.S.
Customization for Institutions
The COVID-19 pandemic had deep impacts on schools and students around the world. To help address the knowledge gap that ensued from these disruptions, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 offers stimulus funding to certain institutions that might be able to use them for tutoring purposes. Experienced tutoring software companies like Pearl offer partnerships that include design, training, and support for such government-funded programs.
In summary, there are many options available for online tutoring software, but it requires careful thought and planning to choose the most suitable one for your needs. Take enough time to shop around and compare, then pick the best one for you and your students.