With the mushroom growth of technology, almost all businesses have been trying to switch to online mediums for the past couple of years. Now even before they could adapt to the new technology and innovation, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench to hit the businesses which were left with no option but to operate virtually.
Several business processes that were progressing at a slower speed gained pace due to the pandemic. The restrictions forced them to modify their operations in every way possible. Amidst all this chaos, the education industry also saw its fair share of modifications.
The traditional classroom setup with hundreds of students in a school simply was not sustainable now. So, the answer to the question to educate students while adhering to the social distancing norms lies in two simple words: Online Tutoring! A delivery model that combines live instruction with digital learning tools for students’ independent practice through tailored activities.
Beginning to Tutor Online Can Be Done in Multiple Ways:
- Either one can start tutoring online via video conferencing tools like Skype, Zoom, etc.
- Or can register on an online tutoring platform and start tutoring.
- The third alternative is to build your online tutoring marketplace.
Now, building and launching your tutoring platform requires the implementation of tutoring software. Choosing the right tutoring software is not an easy task and requires plenty of effort. There are several questions to consider before narrowing down the options and finally settling on one. However, all the efforts are surely worth it.
To cut you some slack, we have compiled a list of questions to be kept in mind which eliminate the guesswork and help you choose the right tutoring management software:
1. What Are Standalone Tutoring Software & How Are They Different from CMS Like WordPress or Wix?
A standalone tutoring software is solely used to build an online tutoring platform while CMSs like WordPress and Wix have a diverse range of applications. Even though WordPress, Wix, and many other CMSs are free and open-source, they require regular updates of themes and plugins.
On the other hand, the standalone tutoring software does not require any updates of themes and plugins. The speed of websites built on WordPress is quite slow which ruins the user experience of the teachers and students, which is not in the case of tutoring software.
Moreover, the tutoring software has multiple security layers defined to secure sensitive information, while websites built on WordPress and other CMSs are vulnerable to hackers and cyber-attacks which also makes it an ill-favored option. WordPress and Wix websites also face several other issues like downtime and API integration limitation which also make it an unwelcome alternative for a tutoring platform.
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2. What Features Are There for the Admin to Manage the Platform?
The admin panel is the most under-appreciated and ignored part of an online tutoring platform, however, it is the one that makes the administration tasks easier and frees up the time of the business owner. Make sure all the below-listed admin features are present in the software before you buy one:
- A well-informative dashboard to access useful insights like traffic, visitors, revenue, commissions, registered users, etc. to help you visualize all the data at a single glance and formulate the business strategies accordingly.
- A user management module to easily manage different activities associated with all the users.
- Admin should have full control over the CMS of the platform including the content, navigation, hierarchy, etc.
- Commission management module to define, edit and manage the commission to be charged by the tutors.
- The marketing features such as coupons, gift cards, MailChimp, Google Analytics, etc. to help analyze and improve the performance of the platform.
3. Does the Company Have Reliable Customer Support?
It is vital to thoroughly check the technical support provided by the software company. No matter how easy it is to use, software nearly always runs into issues at some point. Proactive customer support comes in when a complicated feature needs explaining or even when one is getting familiar with the software.
One can look at a few things to evaluate the customer support:
- How long does the company take to respond to a query?
- Does the company have its tutorials and repository of frequently asked questions?
- How do they provide technical support to their customers (chat, email, phone)?
Technical support is an essential checkpoint to ensure the tutoring platform runs smoothly with little to no interruption.
4. Can the Software Conduct Live Video Sessions & Which Tools It Has to Make the Live Sessions Interactive?
Online tutoring software able to conduct live video sessions with interactive features offers a competitive business edge to entrepreneurs. It has double-fold benefits for the teachers and students as communication during the video session becomes more easy and efficient. Group video sessions enable teachers to cater to multiple students at a time, increasing their income as well as revenue of the platform.
In addition to the live video sessions, online tutoring software should also offer interaction tools for an immersive learning experience. Tools like an online whiteboard, TextPad, real-time message translation, code editor, screen sharing/recording, etc. make the learning more engaging and fun and provide a convenient way to connect students and teachers.
5. Is the Software White-Label
The prospective providers who offer white-label software should be considered ahead of those who don’t. A white label software allows you to build your platform and brand as your own without developing from scratch.
You can give it a unique look, use your brand name, create your pricing plans – all this without any hassle. For instance, Yo!Coach is white-label online tutoring software that can be customized and rebranded as your tutoring platform.
6. SaaS or Perpetual Licensing, Which Is More Suitable?
Choosing between the two software delivery models requires one to have in-depth information about the two. In a SaaS license, you get minimal support from the solution provider and you don’t have any control when the service goes down. On the other hand, in perpetual license, you fully own the software which can be used indefinitely.
Moreover, the total cost of renewing a SaaS license becomes more than the actual cost of the software after a few years.
7. Which Marketing Features Are Present in the Software to Attract More Users?
An underrated and essential part of a business is marketing, especially when you are in an online environment. It helps to reach a wider section of the target market. Listed below are a variety of marketing features to look for in tutoring software to initiate marketing strategies and build a better online presence.
- SEO Friendly
- Email marketing module
- Blog module
- Affiliate marketing module
- PPC advertisement module
8. Is the Software Mobile-Friendly?
Mobile devices contribute more than half of the search traffic globally. Most operations occur over mobile devices on the go, so the tutoring platform must be mobile compatible, else the business can miss out on a massive chunk of potential customers. As an example, Yo!Coach is available as a PWA providing an app-like experience that boosts user engagement significantly.
9. What Are the Online Payment Options Available in the Software?
To get paid for the online lessons you sell on the platform, you will need to include online payment options. Make sure the software supports all the major debit and credit cards and also comes pre-integrated with one or more payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe. It will help the users make and receive payments easily and smoothly.
10. Is the Software Scalable?
Make sure to think long-term when choosing a tutoring solution. The software should be scalable enough to adapt to increased demands in terms of performance, maintenance, and availability. It should be comfortable accommodating growth and handle any increase in workload. Considering it from the initial stages results in lower maintenance costs when you need to scale the platform.
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11. How Safe & Secure Is the Software for the Users?
Security is of utmost importance especially when there are a lot of security breaches going on across the world. So it is important to check if the software provides safety and security for its users before purchasing the software. Other essential factors that must be checked are:
- GDPR compliance
- Server-side validation
- SQL injection
12. Which All APIs Are Pre-integrated into the Software? What Is the Scope of Integrating Any Other Third-Party API?
It is essential to check if any third-party API is integrated into the software to enhance the capabilities of the tutoring business. It is also recommended to check if any other third-party API integration like a preferred payment gateway, video conferencing, etc. is possible or not.
Yo!Coach, for example, comes pre-integrated with video conferencing APIs such as CometChat, Lessonspace, Zoom along with many payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.Net, Stripe, and many more.
13. How Many Concurrent Users Can the Software Handle?
As a large number of users (teachers & students) will be using the platform at any given time, it becomes important to assess the number of concurrent users the platform can handle.
By considering the questions above, one will be able to evaluate every major dimension of a tutoring platform while avoiding the pitfalls often encountered by businesses when selecting software. Make sure you do thorough research to find your perfect match. It is extremely important to consider the current as well as future needs and choose a tool that is built to help you grow today as well as tomorrow.