I came across Tutor.com and it looks very useful and engaging for students.  It also has a simple platform that opens access to non-computer types.  The cost is lower than a f2f private tutor which breaks down the economic barriers to additional help that many students face.  I don’t know any students who have used this service yet, so don’t take my review as a pitch! 


Face 1 – Market Focus

Tutor.com is “homework help and online tutoring” for gr. 4 – 12 students that is available 24/7.


Face 2 – Types of Offerings

Tutor.com is both a content and infrastructure based e-business that assists students with homework, studying, and general concept questions.  Once learner/parents purchase minutes they have access to a real-time private tutor.  Instant messaging is used to communicate between student & tutor.  Both the tutor and student utilize a white board to hash out problems.


There are also a number of free articles for students/parents/educators/librarians to access.


Face 3 – The Buyer

The “learning is bought for the learner” here!  The website is marketed to both the parent and the learner.  The company markets to the parents by providing a solution to their child’s homework needs.  The company also elicits the learners “buy-in” by using appealing aesthetics and the word “you”.


Face 4 – Global Markets

Currently, the site has both Canadian and American tutors which limit the services to North America.  When a student logs on they are prompted to list the specific subject & grade they are looking for as to get the appropriate tutor.


Face 5 – Development of Market

The ‘market supports export oriented learning technologies and the substitution of imports’ for online tutoring.  This business can be exported to anywhere in Canada and the US (and if they can acquire tutors in other countries if they wish to expand).  There are also substitutions at a local level as learners can get tutoring f2f and not go online.


Face 6 – Competing with Other Forms of Learning

Tutor. Com falls into two categories here as it both supports traditional learning in the classroom and is a substitute for f2f tutoring.





1 davidp { 09.19.08 at 10:04 am }

Thanks for this Sarah.

Looks like a clearly described service in clearly defined market niche.

Its competition will come from F2F tutoring companies and private services.

There are no, or few barriers to entry. So, I can see others following this business with interest to see whether they can add value or improve the service in any way. Others might also seek to compete on price.

The Tutor.com service model could also work in other markets, given language and other cultural affordances to suit the targeted client base.

Looks like a retirement career for experienced teachers, too.

Seems to me that LearnNowBC http://www.learnnnowbc.ca offers a similar and free service right here in British Columbia for Grades 9-12 students.

Interested in your assessment of the LNBC service against what Tutor.com offers.


2 David Wees { 09.19.08 at 11:33 am }

What would make this service amazing, is if they saved each session as an online video, and let students peruse and examine the videos. They could either charge for this service, or consider it a value-add to draw customers. That would be pretty nifty.

3 Marc Kampschuur { 09.19.08 at 5:50 pm }

Am curious what kind of wait time there is for these services to connect to a tutor.

I may be off on this but find the tutor site more oriented to youths and Learn Now site more oriented to adults in term of design – perhaps different buyer orientation.

The Learn Now BC site is interesting for how it tracks the curriculum as well (can be copied but does differentiate it) for example with tracking the daily physical activity.

4 Gillian Gunderson { 09.19.08 at 7:51 pm }

Perhaps the difference in the orientation/visual appeal is that the tutor site is a commercial site while the Learn Now BC site is government sponsored – it doesn’t have to work as hard at attracting people!

5 Sarah Wood { 09.22.08 at 1:59 pm }

Sorry for the late reply – I have been away…

Tutor.com’s wait time is “3 min” for a personal tutor.

I haven’t work with Learn Now, but the site is not as user-friendly and is geared more to an adult. I tried to sign up for the services, but I needed a “registered school district account” which I do not have. (A note – students need their PEN number and I have a feeling that that is also not always on hand as well). The clear advantage with Learn Now is the tutors would be directly familiar with the BC courses.

6 Laura Macleod { 09.27.08 at 6:11 am }

Seems to me that familiarity with local curriculum standards would be the limiting factor here. What my guy studies in grade 4 in Ontario is different from what his cousin studies in Alberta in grade 4 – and surely that gap is wider between, say, Ontario and California. I’d be curious to know how a company like Tutor.com does to overcome this.


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