The past eighteen months have revolutionised the mainstream education sector with the sudden switch to virtual classrooms, exam upheaval and more. But another type of education has been radically transformed as well, and it is much broader than the kind that traditionally takes place within schools.
During the pandemic, many responded to the shut-down of group activities by turning inwards and starting to explore the realm of self-teaching. What began with sourdough starters developed into painting, language learning and coding.
Whilst social lives were suffering, indoor hobbies were flourishing and with them the view of education as a whole. Online tutoring company, Tutor House, is embracing this move towards active self-improvement.
Founder and CEO, Alex Dyer, says:
“In the pre-Covid days, work and social activities prevented many adults from devoting time to learning beyond what their immediate work obligations required – there simply weren’t enough hours in the day.
“But if the pandemic has given us one positive thing, it’s time, and a huge number of people have taken advantage of all these extra hours to explore completely new areas. From a tutoring perspective, it’s been great to see people from all ages and walks of life returning to education, albeit in a more informal context.”
For example, Tutor House has seen a substantial increase in adults seeking foreign language tuition, many of whom haven’t engaged in language learning since their GCSE days. Creative subjects have also been in demand with a marked rise in bookings of Fine Art and music tutors. But where the increase in demand has been most notable is in non-traditional areas; including photography, marketing and British Sign Language.
These changing trends indicate a significant shift in the way UK adults perceive education beyond the reach of academic institutions. Clients’ growing eagerness to educate themselves in areas that may not have been covered while they were at school would seem to represent an important niche for the tutoring industry going forward.
The desire that many have shown to enrich their scope of knowledge via non-traditional educational routes looks set to outlast the pandemic.
“Expanding your skill set does not necessarily have to come in the form of a Master’s degree or even a diploma – it can be much more flexible and accessible. We’re talking about learning for fun, acquiring new skills andknowledge. So it’s important that tutoring companies are able to respond to the demand that has been created by this self-improvement revolution.”
Embarking on a formal course or degree can be an intimidating undertaking; the value of private tuition is that it offers an adaptable, one-on-one approach that is, by its nature, safe and encouraging. Actively expanding the reach of tuition companies into non-traditional teaching areas has the potential to radically diversify the face of adult education. In the long-term, such innovations may even contribute to closing the educational gaps that currently linger within society far beyond the school leaving age.