Module 6 – Onboarding Your First Client and Policies
As you complete each step, check the box to help you measure your progress.
Step 1: Choosing your Online Tutoring Platform
Estimated time to complete: 15 min.
Throughout modules 1 – 5 you have had the opportunity to explore 6 different online tutoring platforms. Each of which provides different tools at different prices to support your online tutoring. Now it is time to reflect on each platform and choose one or more that is best for you and your business. Take time to reflect on your experience with each tool. Think about the overall feeling you had while using each platform, the cost, and the features available.
Pull out the comparison tool you first began filling out during module 1. This tool will remind you of what was available with each platform and your overall opinion. A blank copy of the comparison tool has been added to this week’s module just in case you forgot to fill it out.
Once you have had time to reflect, it is time to choose the platform(s) that best fit your tutoring business needs. Remember, you don’t have to settle on just one platform. However, I would recommend narrowing it down to at most 2 platforms. You want to really get to know the platforms you will use.
Angela’s Selection Process
Personally, I use Scribblar Pro and Google Hangouts. These two platforms take care of my needs (list of my needs follows):
- A responsive, easy to use online whiteboard
- A video feed to see my client's emotions while process the information provided during a session
- Screen share capabilities for services that can’t be provided via a whiteboard
- Ability to save the transcripts of my sessions so that I am able to provide each student a copy of the notes we create together
- Persistent room so that I can add information to a room prior to a tutoring session and it will remain available during future sessions
- Individual website for each student so that they have their own personal online whiteboard with their notes and information available at any time
What are your needs? Think carefully. Which tools will satisfy your list?
Tools Aligned with Needs
If you need help deciding between all of the tools, take a look at the following scenarios:
- Do you prefer all tools in one service? Consider Join.me, WizIQ, or Google Hangouts.
- Will you be using an online whiteboard for most of your sessions? Consider Scribblar, Twiddla, or GoBoard.
- Do you want your students to access tutoring via a smartphone or tablet instead of a computer? Consider WizIQ or Join.me.
- Do you plan on offering tutoring sessions to multiple students at one time? Consider WizIQ, Scribblar, Join.me, or Google Hangouts.
- Is video important to you? Consider Google Hangouts, Scribblar Pro, WizIQ, Join.me, or GoBoard.
Did we miss something you are looking for? Let us know over on Google+ and we will make a suggestion.
Step 2: Plan Your Introductory Tutoring Session
Estimated time to complete: 1 Hour
How will you address both the parent and the student’s needs during your introductory session? That first session is more than helping a child learn. It is about helping the parent and child feel confident in your services, the technology, and your content expertise.
Taking the Leap
How will you entice parents or students to try online tutoring?
Although online tutoring is becoming more and more popular, many people are not ready to try it out for themselves or have had a bad experience with online learning in the past. You will need to develop your own way of helping clients move beyond their initial beliefs and towards a willingness to give your services a try.
How will you help folks take the leap and try your services? Maybe some of the suggestions below will help:
- Offer a free session for the student and parent to experience online tutoring with you before committing financially.
- Offer a video on your website that describes the online tutoring experience.
- Provide a video introducing you, the tutor, so that possible clients can get to know you.
- Address their concerns with confidence.
- Other – Have an idea? We’d love to hear it!
Teaching the Online Tools
When will you teach the online tools used in your online classroom?
- Before the student meets you online
- Tech savvy students will appreciate this method
- Provide a “quiz” for them to demonstrate their understanding prior to your first session
- You can use a manual or video to introduce the tools
- During an introductory session
- Students without online experiences will appreciate this method
- Spend time during the introductory session describing the tools, how they will be used, and providing time for the student to play with each tool
- You could even use the quiz you created for the tech savvy student and apply it with support and instruction
- Gradually teach the tools on an as needed basis
- This strategy allows you to focus on the content instead of the tools
- Gradually release control to students in the online environment
(select a platform that allows you to assign user roles and access to tools)
Each method has its merits. Which will you choose?
How will you demonstrate your expertise during your initial tutoring session?
Remember, the client’s goals are important and should not be overshadowed by the need to learn online tools. Make addressing the client’s goals a priority during that first session. You want the student to leave the experience with a belief that you can help them with their goals.
Use the planning template to map out the experience you want new clients to have during the initial online tutoring appointment.
Make sure to watch Angela and I showcase one possible way to introduce a student into a new online learning environment. Angela welcomes Adrianne into WizIQ by inviting her to draw a pet. Then they move onto solving math problems.
Step 3: Onboarding Your First Client and Writing Policies
Estimated time to complete: 1.5 Hours
After having a few successful online tutor sessions, it is time to onboard a client as a regular student. This involves sharing your policies and creating a common understanding of how working together online will work. Be prepared to work with your partner and present your policies to the group.
This is where having a website will become very valuable to you. Just like we talked about the user experience during Module 4 – Website Basics, you want to think about the experience that your new regular clients will be experiencing as well.
Making the Transition
How will you know that it is time to move from occasional tutoring with your client to regular sessions? What benefits come from working with a tutor on a consistent basis? Write down those benefits to help guide your conversation with this new client. Here are a few possible ideas:
- Better progress
- Get consistent help because of scheduled sessions
- Discount for paying ahead
Reflect on how online tutoring is going with this new client. Does the client seem satisfied with tutoring at the end of the session? Are they giving you positive feedback? Have they requested more sessions with you?
If the answer is yes, it’s time to ask for them to become regular clients. This is the moment when you’ll explain the benefits of working with you on a consistent basis. If the client responds positively, move forward with your onboarding process.
Creating the Onboarding Process
Think about what items you would need in place for your client to be setup to work with you on a weekly basis. Make a list of items that you would need them to take care of and at what frequency.
Onboarding Sample List:
- New client info sheet (once yearly)
- Policies (once yearly)
- Payment (each month)
- Calendar (each month)
Using the example above, I know that I can use my website to help me execute some of these items. We’ll talk about these methods in document 6d. Regular Client.
Policies are meant to help protect you and communicate your expectations. We tutors have big hearts and it is easy to get taken advantage of with a tutor session. By having policies in place, you can start a dialog about how you would like to be treated.
We’ll explore many thoughts together such as:
- What are your expectations and policies?
- How will you share this with the client?
- How will you confirm the receipt of information?
- How and when will you collect payments?
- What is your cancellation/no show policy?
Read Adrianne’s in depth article (6d. Regular Client) about creating an onboarding process and policies. Be prepared to make your own and share with the group.
Step 4: Online Lesson With Your Partner
Estimated time to complete: 1 Hour
Now that you have a plan for how you want the introductory lesson to go, create a lesson and try it out with a partner. Keep in mind the characteristics you want the client to use when describing your services to others.
Ask your partner to choose words to describe the session. Do their descriptors align with your plan?
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