Mobile Learning

Varsity Tutors Releases Mobile Tutoring App

Varsity Tutors, a St. Louis-based tutoring and test prep company, is launching a mobile app today that offers one-on-one video-chat tutoring and live instruction, screen shot capabilities, a “Workboard” (whiteboard) and the ability to seamlessly switch between streaming video and written messages.

The Varsity Tutors Mobile Tutoring App provides access to more than 20,000 tutors through smartphones and tablets, as well as thousands of professionally written practice problems across more than 150 subjects and standardized tests. It is available on iOS at the Apple App Store.

“To the best of our knowledge, it’s the first of its kind in mobile technology,” said Chuck Cohn, CEO and founder of Varsity Tutors. “It’s a combination of Facetime with features and functions that are specific to tutors and live learning. Many features that you’ve seen in other formats are all combined into one comprehensive app, creating a seamless experience.”

While the app itself is free, users will have to pay for the tutor’s time, which varies depending on where the user lives. The average price is about $55 an hour, Cohn said.

Varsity Tutors is making about 150,000 practice problems available for free through the app.

“We want (users) to self-study and get really high-quality content and advice they might not be able to afford,” Cohn said. “When they need expert help, they’ll think of us first. We want to get our name out there and build trust with consumers.”

According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 98 percent of adults ages 18-29 own cell phones, while only 78 percent of them own computers. Computer ownership has decreased 10 percentage points since 2011.

“The web experience is great, but mobile is the future,” Cohn said. “We’re shifting from an online to a mobile environment.”

Varsity Tutors started in 2011 as a startup between Cohn and his two best friends from Washington University in St. Louis. This video demonstrates how the mobile tutoring app works.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].