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5 Tips for a Blended Tutoring Model

Hopefully soon, people around the world will be able to say that they live in a post-pandemic world. It’s a lot to look forward to, as life shifts back to normalcy.

But in some areas, changes due to COVID-19 are here to stay. We’re likely to see more working from home, family meals for pick up at restaurants, and updated health and safety protocols in public spaces. 

In education in particular, many of the necessary transitions to online and blended learning won’t be going away anytime soon as the e-learning market continues to grow (Marinova, 2021). Although the shift to distance learning wasn’t simple, there were some benefits.

Higher Education online tutoring software, for example, promoted accessible academic support and helped students continue to feel connected to their colleges and universities.

Now, as many students return to campus, a strategic development in tutoring programs is to move toward blended models, where students have access to a combination of in-person and on-line offerings.

Here are five tips for a blended tutoring model in a post-pandemic world:

1. Establish Expectations and Availability

When students could only receive tutoring by going to an campus center, or when their only option during remote learning was online tutoring, they didn’t have to choose which model would work best for them.

A blended model, in contrast, gives students both options for receiving the support that they need. This has huge benefits, particularly in accessibility. But it’s also important to establish the expectations for the tutoring program and make sure the services are equivalent (Bean, et al., 2019).

This way, students can choose whichever service best suits their needs and know they are still receiving quality tutoring and support.

2. Provide Blended Learning and Technology Skills

Even though many students use technology everyday, they may not be proficient at the digital tools necessary for academic success. 

Before a student can effectively participate in online tutoring, they will need some training in the program or platform (Bean, et al., 2019), whether through guides or training.

A blended tutoring program also provides an excellent opportunity to help students develop technological skills they need to be successful in their academic classes, whether they take place in traditional lecture halls or online through learning management systems.

Students who opt for in-person tutoring would still benefit from this sort of guidance, especially in preparation for future necessary shifts to online learning.

3. Remediate for Lost Knowledge

A report from the US Department of Education (2021) reveals the negative effect that COVID-19 had on academic growth in primary, secondary, and postsecondary education. In particular, disparities have increased for students of minority race, ethnicity, or LGBTQ+ identity.

A blended tutoring model in a post-pandemic world should be cognizant that many freshmen will be entering higher education at a severe academic disadvantage.

Tutors should be prepared not only to assist with a student’s current course load, but also to provide remedial support for content gaps. And faculty can be diligent in trying to refer students who are struggling.

4. Align Tutoring Goals with Program Goals

An effective blended tutoring program should provide guidance to tutors. A form of professional development, training helps tutors learn the skills they require to assist their tutees with academic and social needs.

Additionally, tutors who have done well in campus tutoring centers may not naturally transition all of their competencies to an online platform. Training will give online tutors the ability to practice more specific skills, such as video engagement.

Ultimately, any professional development should also be aligned with the goals of the university or college so tutors can model, advise, and teach within an existing framework and vision (Bean, et al., 2019).

5. Ensure Program Success with Support

As students participate in blended tutoring services, they are likely to have several needs that cannot be met by a tutor alone. Mental health crises, financial problems, and academic uncertainty all require additional campus resources.

While these other resources aren’t technically part of the tutoring program, they are a necessary and natural connection. When tutors can refer their tutees to other services on campus, they are continuing to help students with their overall success.

Additionally, if staff at all levels of higher education stay informed with the tutoring service’s needs and goals, the program is more likely to obtain the support and resources it needs to be successful (Bean, et al., 2019).

When everyone at a college or university works together to support a blended tutoring program, they are supporting student success.

Blended models for academics are sure to become increasingly popular and effective, and blended tutoring is a great way to extend this model to student support services.

Students who can get access tutoring in-person and online will benefit and continue to thrive academically and socially, hopefully making their own future contributions to a post-pandemic world.

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