At Art of Smart, we understand that the switch to online tutoring due to COVID-19 can be confusing.

“How does it work? Is it actually real tutoring? What are the benefits of online tutoring?”

The thing is, everyone’s idea of online tutoring is different.

But what are the best types of support to get through your HSC from home? Is it live video sessions with a teacher or recorded videos? Live Q&A with a tutor or online forums?

We recently surveyed 450+ Year 11 and 12 students to see what they found most effective in online support to help them stay on top of school. 

In this article, we’re going to go through the results to highlight and compare all of the different services that companies offer and what proves to be the most effective. 

That way, you can find out what tutoring option works best for you! 

Let’s jump in and find out…

What Did Our Research Reveal?
Live Classes VS Recorded Videos
Live Q&A Sessions VS Forums
Digital Resources VS Printed Workbooks
Bonus 1 on 1 Sessions VS Small Group Tutorials
Our Offering

What Did Our Research Reveal?

Firstly, we went through all the different offerings that major tutoring companies are providing as they switch to online tutoring.

We then surveyed students to find which of these options are most preferred and most effective!

Many of these students would have had previous experience with online learning, whether it be through tutoring or homeschooling due to COVID-19!

What we found was super insightful. It’s given us not only the ability to compare services, but also shown us how we should develop our own Art of Smart Online Tutoring offering to provide the most value.

All this research is great, and we now know what academic support options students prefer. But you’re probably thinking:

“How exactly do these different support options work? And what am I going to get out of it?”

That’s why we’re going to go through, compare, and explain the pros and cons of each offering just for you!

Live Classes VS Recorded Videos

Our research found that 21.61% of students would prefer live classes as compared to 14.6% who would be happy with pre-recorded. But what’s the difference?

Recorded Videos:

Some companies are now offering recorded videos as their key lesson component in their online tutoring services. This means no lessons with a tutor actually in front of you.

The thing is, these videos are being packaged as real tutoring for a slightly reduced price. But what actually is tutoring?

A tutor is someone who works to transfer their expertise to students and helps said students develop the ability to teach themselves. 

According to the Meriam Webber dictionary: Tutors teach or guide usually individually in a special subject or for a particular purpose.

If the purpose of a tutor is to meet a student’s INDIVIDUAL needs, there needs to be an open dialogue between both parties in order to drive the lesson content to a particular purpose.

If tutoring is in the form of pre-recorded videos, especially if it’s being sent to many students, the individualised and targeted aspect of the service can easily be lost. 

Our research found that 76% of students said their motivation has dropped significantly due to COVID-19 restrictions with almost 9/10 students feeling distracted while studying at home.

If there isn’t a tutor there, then they feel less accountable and therefore motivated.

There is far more opportunity for students to engage and not get distracted in live classes!

As well as this, there is a sense of reduced value when it comes to pre-recorded lessons, as many educational videos are available for free online. Such as on our Youtube Channel here.

However, pre-recorded video lessons do have other benefits for online tutoring due to their functionality. Students are able to pause videos to take notes or watch it all over again if they wish!

So let’s break it down:


  • Students can pause to take notes
  • Students can replay videos
  • Students can skip through videos or take it at their own pace


  • Less individual focus
  • Not as targeted lessons
  • Students can’t ask questions
  • Students don’t build rapport with their tutor
  • Students may get more distracted due to a lack of social interaction

Live Classes:

Alternatively, our research has shown that students prefer live, online classes as one of the benefits of online tutoring. 

At Art of Smart, we highlight that our teachers are a mentor as well as a tutor for their students.

This is one of the key benefits of online tutoring with live lessons.

This means that they build a social relationship and start to understand their students needs and tailor lessons appropriately. 

This is important as our studies show 3 in 5 students say their mental health has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. This is mainly due to a lack of social interaction, and recorded videos don’t allow students to build a beneficial and effective relationship with their mentor!

Students are able to ask questions, highlight what they don’t understand and guide the lesson towards their needs.

They are already learning the broad content at school, so tutors need to be adaptable in order to specify their teachings and live video classes allow this far more!

So here’s the break down:


  • Less chance of distraction
  • Build social rapport with tutor
  • Tutor comes to understand students needs
  • Student can ask questions
  • Ability to share resources in real-time


  • Students might lose track if they don’t ask questions
  • Can’t pause
  • Can’t skip
  • Can’t replay

At AOS, we’ve incorporated this research into our own transition to online learning. As a result, we offer live, interactive lessons as our core service. 

We provide:

  1. Interactive online whiteboards so you can SEE and UNDERSTAND your tutor just like you were sitting right next to them in a classroom or tutoring session!
  2. The chance to share resources, ask questions and get ongoing support via chat!
  3. Teachers and mentors who are experienced with online lessons.

Live Q&A Sessions VS Forums

In addition to class-time, many companies are offering additional time for students to ask questions to tutors as one of their benefits for online tutoring.

This usually comes in the form of an online forum regulated by tutors, or Live Q&A’s such as this one we held the other week:

So what do forums and live Live Q&A’s entail?


As previously stated, forums are regulated by tutors. Students can ask their questions and tutors will reply.

Usually, these forums are upon until a certain time, such as 11 PM. So what are the pros and cons?


  • Allows students constant access to tutors
  • Students are forced to take time to articulate their questions
  • Students can return to their questions and view others


  • Lack of urgency if students need an answer quickly
  • Harder to converse and build upon tutors answers with further questions
  • Takes up more of students time as they need to constantly check it

Live Q&A

Art of Smart currently holds Q&A’s. Students enter a Livestream with an experienced teacher and are able to ask any questions in the chat bar for the teacher to answer over video call!


  • Interactive
  • More engaging – presented by a real person with a personality
  • Takes up less time for students
  • Students can get questions answered quickly


  • The risk that students won’t have enough time to think of questions
  • Students need to wait for allocated time if they have a question
  • Students may not be able to take notes quick enough for a live, spoken response

Why Don’t We Have Both?

Our research found that 16.84% of students want Live Q&A’s whereas only 11.30% care about forums.

However, while Art of Smart currently provides Live Q&A’s, both of these have unique benefits for students! As a result, Art of Smart will also be providing forums for students as a part of our transition to online learning!

This way students will have the best of both worlds when it comes to getting their burning questions answered. 

Digital Resources VS Printed Workbooks 

What do students prefer, digital resources delivered via the cloud or printed workbooks delivered to their homes?

Digital Resources

The problem with digital resources is that students are getting sick of them because schools are providing digital resources right now for homeschooling.

With our research revealing that 87% of students are feeling distracted studying from home for school and 43% not learning effectively with their new resources, it’s obvious that this approach might not be working.


  • Easily accessible
  • May have a wide range of resources
  • Students may be able to contribute their own resources


  • Can lead to distraction
  • Students are tired of using online resources due to schooling
  • Extended use of screens can be damaging
  • Often, alternative free content can be found online anyway


The alternative is workbooks delivered to one’s home.


  • Gives students a break from their computer
  • Can increase productivity and motivation
  • Gives students an alternative to the constant use of online resources due to homeschooling
  • Exclusive content


  • Have to wait for their arrival
  • Less immediately accessible

An amazing 23.44% of students said they would prefer workbooks as compared to 11.86% who said they would like online stuff. 

We decided to listen to students needs:

For all enrolled Art of Smart students in Year 11 and 12, we mail you comprehensive new HSC Syllabus resources and workbooks. These cover the entire Term and are designed by qualified teachers to support you mastering your subjects!

Hundreds of pages of notes, worked examples, and HSC style practice questions mailed straight to your door so that you can use these in tutoring to MASTER your subjects!

As well as this, we have FREE online resources on our blog here.

Bonus 1 on 1 Sessions VS Small Group Tutorials

When it comes to online group classes, some companies are providing bonus 1 on 1 sessions, while others are choosing to provide bonus small group tutorials.

One of the benefits of online tutoring is these bonus lessons!

Now, this depends on the preference of the student, but the main aim for both offerings is to give students more time to get individual, specified help in a smaller learning setting. So which one would work better for you?

Small-Group Tutorial


  • Can discuss with other students
  • Can hear other students questions
  • Students can work collaboratively


  • Less individualised help
  • Time with tutor has to be shared between all participants

Bonus 1 on 1 Tutorials


  • Individualised help
  • More time with tutor
  • Student can ask more questions relevant to their weaknesses


  • Less collaborative
  • Can’t discuss with other students
  • Can’t hear other students questions

What we chose:

We just couldn’t decide, so once again we’re choosing to provide both!

After students are done with their online classes, they break out into smaller group tutorials afterwards to discuss what they’ve learnt!

As well as this, they receive up to 4 bonus 1 on 1 tutoring sessions for FREE.

We wanted to give students the opportunity to address their concerns in a more individualised setting through bonus 1 on 1’s AND communicate with their classmates in a more collaborative setting. 

Our Offering 

As you can see, we’ve based our online tutoring offering off of research to make sure students and families get the most value they can during these hard times.

Here, you can see a comparison of everything we provide as compared to our tutoring competitors:

All of our research has had a purpose. We want to provide REAL tutoring and we are using this information to make it as easy as possible for students and parents in this hard time.

Looking for some online tutoring?

We have an incredible team of tutors and mentors who can provide live online tutoring.
We pair you with a fantastic tutor who will tutor you via video with an interactive whiteboard PLUS give you digital access to our world class resources so that you’re well prepared!

We’ve supported over 5,000 students over the last 10 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 19%!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational HSC tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!