The internet is crammed with digital agencies promising the next best thing in online tutoring. GCSEPod is a new contender on the market focusing on improving student outcomes in their GCSEs. Looking for GCSEPod reviews? We discuss some of the best advantages of the programme but remind you that the resource is not the lesson and that online resources like GCSEPod are the most effective in combination with excellent tutoring.
Is GCSEPod any good?
Our 2021 Education Report found that 96 per cent of students in the UK believe that tutoring is valuable for their learning process. Like GoStudent, GCSEPod offers a virtual service to aid your child’s learning.
So what does GCSEPod do? GCSEPod is an award-winning digital publisher for 28+ GCSE/IGCSE subjects. They are dedicated to improving the working lives of teachers and making GCSE learning stick. As a subscriber, your child has access to GCSEPod’s library of over 6000 ‘Pods,’ 3-5 minute videos designed to deliver knowledge in short bursts across 27 subjects, written by teachers with deep curriculum coverage.
Unlike the guided support we offer at GoStudent, the main focus of GCSE Pod is to help students self-study for GCSEs. It’s said to improve results in less than 6 weeks!
So is GCSEPod any good? Every Pod is mapped to the correct exam board and contains all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates, and annotated diagrams that your child needs for GCSE success – all neatly organised into topics and exam playlists. GCSEPod offers a number of key features and advantages:
- Live tutor support system
- Approved by subject specialists
- Scaffolded support
- Formative diagnostic assessment
- Intervention support
- An evidence-based approach to learning
GCSE is a blended learning strategy. In addition to self-studying, GCSEPod is aimed at schools, MATs, hospitals, FE colleges, home learners and tutors as being a tool to aid assisted learning (essentially any environment where students can’t access mainstream education!).
GCSEPod is a tool best used by teachers and tutors to support students’ learning. But ultimately, not all students can self-study and make progress alone, and they need a supportive, and expert-led environment to be able to thrive. GCSEPod can be a really helpful tool used by tutors to extend their tutoring and to be able to set students’ work to complete independently from anywhere.
What about the educational impact? When used properly and effectively, guided by the support of tutors, GCSEPod:
- Builds student knowledge
- Increases attainment
- Improves tutoring efficiency
- Reduces tutor workload
- Improves tutor knowledge
GCSEPod offers a range of low and high-stakes assessment points for students. And while this is incredibly important (to frequently test students on their learnt knowledge), it is not enough alone to lead to progress.
Whilst knowledge gaps can be filled with further automated teaching and lessons, and gaps in attainment can be filled, not all exams work this way and tutor intervention such as GoStudent tutoring sessions are vital.
GCSEPod offers enhanced knowledge recall practice with their Check & Challenge function, designed to mimic the experience that the students have in most exams (for example in listening exams for Languages). The multiple-choice element allows this to be no marking for teachers and is useful in revision periods.
However, for long answer questions and even essays, the site provides indicative content but the student's response will still need to be marked by a tutor or teacher. Importantly, the follow-up then needs to be completed between the student and the tutor, so the student knows exactly where they have gone wrong or not done enough to meet the next marking band.
Take, for example, an English Literature essay. Once a student has learned all of their text themes, quotes, and contextual knowledge, writing a good essay needs to be explicitly taught. Sure, the structure can be learned on paper, but most students need to be guided by a subject expert on writing in a formal, analytical way. This essay then also needs to be properly marked with the right exam board mark scheme!
Time and time again teachers of higher-order thinking subjects with long written components (think: English or History) tell us that for students to be aiming for top grades (we’re talking 7+), they need a different type of challenge that GCSEPods can’t offer alone.
Does GCSEPod cost money?
Whilst GCSEPod saves students a lot of time, the best combination to ensure long-lasting progress in students is a proactive combination of strong tutoring (that we offer at GoStudent!) in combination with a program like GCSEPod for further resources and quizzes.
Research has shown that well-designed tutoring programs that use volunteers and other nonprofessionals as tutors can be effective in improving children's reading skills. There are over 100,000 full-time tutors in the UK for a reason; students need one-to-one human support to ensure that learning is focused and in their long-term memory.
Unlike our tutoring costs at GoStudent which are fully transparent (you pay for what you use per session!) GCSEPod varies in price for whoever wants to use it (whether you’re a group of schools, school, or individuals like a parent or tutor). Remember to be careful when signing up for services with hidden costs or costs that you have to request.
GoStudent offers more affordable and predictable pricing. The GoStudent rates start at £19.20 per session, with the maximum price being £29.60 per lesson depending on the learning plan you select for your child – and the cost of tutoring will be lower if you select a package with several lessons included. With GCSEPod it can be hard to know when and how long to subscribe for.
With GoStudent’s clear and transparent pricing model, parents know that the price per lesson won’t exceed £29.60 – meaning our services are well-suited for those looking for longer-term tutoring without breaking the bank.
GCSEPod does have some free resources that you can download. Individuals need to contact them directly to get an idea of subscription costs, which vary from a year to three. Prices start at roughly £200 per individual per year (with this cost-reducing for more students in more schools).
Can you download GCSEPods?
Yes! Just like our own resources at GoStudent, GCSEPod resources can be accessed out of lessons and offline as well. The Pods are designed especially for mobile devices but can be watched on any device.
An expert reads and explains everything clearly and precisely with all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates, and annotated diagrams on screen. But of course, you’ll need to trust that students are strongly motivated to learn unless they’re being constantly reminded to access the app, unlike with tutors at GoStudent who hold them accountable to physically show up to sessions.
We know that tutoring builds confidence like no app can. So, rather than an alternative to tutoring, tutors could then use the data generated by GCSEPod to identify and tackle misconceptions going forward using the monitoring tools, saving them time for the nitty-gritty high-level conversations and targeted practice and feedback in tutoring sessions.
During the pandemic, there was a huge rise in the number of students who needed tutors (hundreds of thousands), especially because of that missing expert-led care. Students who are neurodiverse often need the guided support of a teacher, and cannot self-regulate consistently.
Evidence suggests that small group tuition can boost progress by an average of two months in secondary schools and four months in primary schools. Tutors are irreplaceable!
Not convinced your child can focus independently? Taking advantage of a complimentary trial lesson is a great way to find the tutoring platform that’s best suited to you and your child’s needs. Book a free trial lesson with GoStudent to finish building your child’s confidence with proper, structured, professional support as they gear up for GCSE exams this summer.