Websites like Futor, Meritnation and Extramarks offer children online interactive study material and tools to work with at the click of the mouse.
"Schools do not have a personalised teaching approach. The same concepts are repeated, without considering a child's individual learning capacity. Sometimes a child does not understand a concept and the doubt goes untended. Despite this, the ultimate blame falls on the child," Manish Chaturvedi, CEO, Futor, told IANS.
He said that Futor plugs in such learning gaps by providing students with an innovative online practice platform and game-based learning method. It is offering coaching in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Futor plans to add English to the list by next year, Chaturvedi said.
"With such interactive teaching tools you are definitely ahead of a conventional tutor who does not have such methods at his disposal. Even the cost works out to be cheaper," he said.
"We generally conduct 10-12 classes per month, the cost for which ranges between Rs.1,500 and Rs. 1,800," Chaturvedi told IANS.
Pavan Chauhan, co-founder and managing director, Meritnation.com, said that online teaching sites are now proving popular with students living in smaller towns and cities by providing them the best possible learning aids at an affordable price.
"Meritnation.com offers interactive exercises, video-based tutorials, learning games, interactive tests and worksheets, and a fortnightly test series in math and science for all grades called the 'Live Test Series'. This helps students across India to benchmark themselves against their peers," Chauhan told IANS.
He said that a sizable portion of the content on Meritnation is available for free. The annual packages range from Rs 2,500 to Rs 10,000 (for an advanced Test Prep course for competitive exams like the joint entrance examination for engineering colleges IIT JEE).
Students who subscribe to such e-studying portals rate them higher than traditional tuition classes citing comfort, convenience and affordability.
"You can adjust your study time to your convenience. You are also saved the bother of having to travel to tuition classes, which also saves on time. Besides, such tutorials come without any teacher bias and peer pressure," Sukanya Upadhyaya, a Class 11 student, told IANS.
According to Manju Bhattacharya, a government school teacher, online teaching portals are useful as students are able to devote as long as they want on a chapter, and progress to the next chapter only when they have understood the concepts.
"Though it might get boring to study alone at times, online teaching modules are interactive and make the lessons riveting, which interests the child and makes him or her want to learn further," Bhattacharya told IANS.
But Sumeet Kumar, a teacher at Jayesh Tutorials in southwest Delhi, feels that a student learning alone cannot be fruitful.
"I am not in favour of classrooms where a large number of students are taught using a microphone or otherwise. But neither do I believe that a child learns better when taught alone."
"When studying in a group, students sometimes tend to learn more through the questions asked by fellow mates. An ideal teaching group should comprise six to eight students," said Kumar.
Bhattacharya, however, feels e-tuitions certainly has given students a choice that was not there a couple of years ago.
"There are students who would like the pace to be slow so that the concepts are clear. What these online sites provide is more choices to students. They (students) can go for tuitions as well as for online educational sites. It is up to them. At the end of the day, what matters is understanding," she said.
(Shweta Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--IANS (Posted on 01-12-2013)