Recently launched platform for online tutoring draws 400 students

A live lesson on the teachnlearn platform, which includes a virtual whiteboard, video chat, messaging and replay functions.
A live lesson on the teachnlearn platform, which includes a virtual whiteboard, video chat, messaging and replay functions. PHOTO: TEACHNLEARN

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Young people today are spending more time chatting, playing games, reading and taking in the news on screen, and a new online tutoring platform aims to capitalise on this.

Local start-up teachnlearn provides them with the option to book tutors of their choice for 30-minute sessions, and online tutoring can be done via video chat, messaging and a virtual whiteboard.

The platform touts its convenience and availability of qualified teachers as main selling points.

Some 400 students and 200 tutors have registered since it was launched in February.

About 70 per cent of the students are in secondary school and junior colleges, Ms Wendy Chin, community lead at teachnlearn, told The New Paper last week.

She said: "No matter how we want to stop it, the young children and young adults are on their screens. So why don't we use that time more purposefully?

"We believe that what we are doing is buying back time for you. Imagine how much time you save through learning at home, at a cafe, or whenever it is convenient."

Students can book lessons six months in advance. Each session can cost from $20 to $50, depending on the tutor.

A tutor on the platform, Mr Muhammad Syafiq Bakhtiar, 28, said this kind of tutoring is especially useful when students need help with a specific question.

The full-time tutor, who charges $20 a session, said: "It is not meant to replace face-to-face tuition.

Rather, it supplements it as students can get immediate help with a tough question, or ask about upcoming topics not yet taught in class.

"Students can also indicate if they want additional notes or practice questions when they book a session, so that tutors can prepare these beforehand."

Ms May Choong, 30, centre manager at EduFirst Learning Centre, feels younger learners might benefit less from an online-only approach.

She said: "For younger learners, socialising with others is part of their learning experience in class. They might be more easily distracted and learn less effectively if they do not get to interact with others and do hands-on learning.

"Such online tutoring would be better for independent learners, such as polytechnic students (who are) used to lectures and tutorials."

Senior finance executive Geraldine Loe, 48, has two children, 13 and 17, who have been using teachnlearn for three months.

She said: "My children can log in to find a teacher at any time, and I can monitor whether the tutors are good and change them if need be."