Making online tutoring a sustainable solution for post-pandemic learning

The pandemic disrupted nearly every sector, its wide-ranging effects extending beyond public health and reaching the global supply chain, employment, and education.

The sudden transition to virtual learning (with the related challenges of Wi-Fi and computer access, curriculum adaptation, and student online engagement) precipitated lower assessment scores across most student groups. Underserved students experienced disproportionate adverse effects, as seen in widening achievement gaps.

Add to that nationwide teacher shortages, and unprecedented student learning needs met an education system already stretched beyond capacity.

Expanded Access via Online Tutoring

Thanks to ESSER funding, K–12 schools and districts were able to expand access to Wi-Fi and computers and support 24/7, on-demand tutoring.

Online tutoring is not a new solution for providing broad access to individualized support. (At, we’ve delivered more than 24 million one-to-one sessions since 2000.) It is, however, a critical tool for addressing widening learning gaps and reaching learners at all levels. A key reason: it’s scalable. If a solution isn’t scalable, then it isn’t equitable.

According to Dr. Melissa Chan-Nauli, Special Programs Administrator for College and Career at Huntington Beach Union High School District, “Having 24/7 free tutoring services for all our students promotes equity and accessibility because, for many of our parents, paying for a tutor is not fiscally possible.”

Available in 250+ subjects with many bilingual offerings,’s online tutoring “helps level the playing field for our English learners,” Dr. Chan-Nauli noted. Angela Hutton, K–12 Intervention Lead for Clayton County Public Schools, attributed the district’s decision to continue partnering with to “student progress in core and intervention courses.”

Across K–12 programs, sessions are most likely to be requested between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Thursdays. Late-night tutoring remains popular, as well, with about one in four sessions initiated between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. Kimberly Hunter, Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools at Rockdale County Public Schools, emphasized the impact of’s availability: “Having the opportunity to receive on-demand support, whenever needed, is priceless!”

Support for Teachers

While most students connect for help outside of school hours, we have seen a rise in school-day utilization, with nearly one-third of sessions beginning between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. In-school tutoring has helped teachers provide individual instruction for multiple students at once. Real-time data and early intervention alerts further aid teachers in charting student progress, addressing curricular challenges, and providing just-in-time support.

When strategically integrated with traditional teaching methods, online tutoring fosters a dynamic partnership between teachers and online tutors, all in the service of student success.

High-Dosage Tutoring and a Multi-Tiered System of Supports

Even as on-demand tutoring drives success for students who need “anytime, anywhere” help with specific questions, a growing number of learners require additional targeted support. For this reason, we developed high-dosage tutoring, to support the range of non-linear intervention solutions needed for K-12 students along their educational journeys.

Also called high-impact tutoring, high-dosage tutoring is a research-based intervention that, according to a 2021 paper from researchers at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute and University of Virginia, “can produce large learning gains for a wide range of students, including those who have fallen behind academically.” Hallmarks of high-dosage tutoring include small-group instruction, three or more times per week frequency, relational interactions, and tailored instructional design.

Offered together with on-demand tutoring, high-dosage tutoring is part of a multi-tiered system of supports that helps K–12 students access interventions shown to accelerate learning and close achievement gaps.

Online delivery is key for scalable access. Robinson, et al., the paper’s authors, note, “Virtual learning offers the potential to lower tutoring costs and potentially provide stronger matches between students’ needs and tutors’ skill sets.”

In adapting online tutoring solutions, EdTech providers must be guided by three factors: scalability, equity, and research. These three factors, particularly amid changes in funding and the ongoing need for targeted support, ensure that online tutoring continues to be an equitable strategy for districts aiming to provide comprehensive academic support for all students.