NEW YORK, NY/ ACCESSWIRE / July 29, 2020 / According to estimates from UNESCO, 1.2 billion children worldwide had their normal classroom experience disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic this spring. In the United States, debate continues to rage over how students will resume the school year.
Unsurprisingly, concerns over the potential to spread COVID-19 in a classroom setting has resulted in many advocating for the continued use of virtual classrooms. This side argues that e-learning is the safest option during the pandemic, even if it isn't always ideal.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who argue that e-learning has proven far inferior to the in-person classroom experience, harming the quality of education that children are receiving.
While there remain many issues to be addressed as schools adapt to e-learning and hybrid models, companies like Gooroo are poised to put a positive light on this unique situation. The company's unique matching algorithm aims to ensure better outcomes for all types of learners.
What Is Gooroo's Matching Algorithm?
"The goal of our matching algorithm is to ensure that students are matched to the tutor who will best meet their needs for a particular subject," says Scott Lee, Gooroo's founder and CEO.
"We vet all of our tutors to ensure that they can teach the subject well, but this isn't the only thing that matters in creating a positive learning experience. Successful tutoring requires good relationships, and that means there needs to be a meaningful connection between students and tutors."
To achieve this, Gooroo's algorithm asks for more than just the subject students need help with. The algorithm also asks for information such as a student's hobbies and interests, as well as any special needs or learning disabilities they may have.
Based on the information that parents submit to Gooroo's system, students can be given either an instant match with a tutor or a set of recommended candidates that they can choose from.
"We find that if we can match students with tutors who have similar interests and personality types, they are more likely to form a meaningful bond," Lee explains. "This helps the students become more engaged with their learning experience so they can achieve lasting improvement to their academic performance."
Calibrating for Different Learning Styles
A key part of Gooroo's matching algorithm is accounting for students' different learning styles - something that Lee feels is particularly important for the program's success.
"We focus on five main learning styles of instruction, discovery, storytelling, analogy, and theory," he explains. "Some of us learn best with one of these styles, while others learn through a combination of styles. Unfortunately, classroom learning - and traditional tutoring - often devolve into lectures that ignore the learning styles of most students. The children become less engaged and don't perform as well as expected."
Ensuring that students are matched to tutors who can accommodate their learning style has proven vital for Gooroo. After all, a student who prefers to experiment and perform hands-on work will require a different learning environment than one who wants a full explanation of the theory before applying the concept.
Some studies have previously shown that most students perform best when exposed to multiple teaching methods, something that is often easier to accommodate in individual e-learning than a classroom.
"E-learning allows for the introduction of augmented reality for discovery learners or easier access to case studies for storytelling learners," Lee notes. "Tech can be a distraction, but it can also be a tutor's greatest asset in helping topics come to life."
A Flexible Solution for Challenging Times
Like so many other educational programs, Gooroo has experienced significant changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because the company already handled matching through an algorithm and had online functionality in place, it was better equipped to adapt to the change.
"We've always given parents the option to hold tutoring sessions online, as well as in their home or a public place like a library," Lee says. "With stay at home orders and other mandates, we've seen the demand for online learning skyrocket. Flexibility has always been part of what we do, like letting unused tutoring hours roll over from month to month or letting kids work with multiple tutors. This helped us be better prepared to adapt to increased digital demand."
This flexibility may prove vital as the shift to e-learning is likely to continue and possibly even accelerate in the near future. A recent USA Today poll found that six in 10 parents were now more likely to look at home learning options for their children. Many teachers do not want to go back to their classrooms because of COVID-19 risks.
For parents, supplementing a digital classroom with e-tutoring could be key to ensuring that their children don't fall behind. Flexibility and adaptability are key to life in the pandemic, and e-learning can serve as a vital solution to this unique challenge.
Preparing for the Future
Given the current environment, it is hard to have much certainty regarding what education will look like in the months and years to come. Children could have vastly different experiences simply based on the school district they live in.
With the help of tools like Gooroo's matching algorithm, however, parents can have greater confidence that e-learning can become a viable educational method.