Children are very computer savvy these days and familiar with online learning from a young age. This is one reason why the idea of computer-based tutoring programs can be very appealing to busy parents.
While there are many reputable computer-based and online learning packages on the market, parents should be cautious when deciding to purchase a program for their children.
Things to look out for
You should always ensure that any computer-based or online program can be run on your computer. Things such as the age of your computer, the speed of your internet connection and system requirements may all affect your child´s ability to use the program.
School curriculums are set by each state or territory, and are not standard across Australia. You should ensure that any computer-based or online program you are considering is suited to your child´s curriculum.
Before purchasing any programs, confirm with your child´s teacher that the program is suitable.
You should check whether technical and educational support is provided with the package, and if so, how it is provided.
While some packages offer online or telephone support, these rely on the student taking the initiative and are often run by people with little or no knowledge of your child´s curriculum. Packages that offer face-to-face tutoring or support generally have the best outcomes for students.
There are a number of products available on the market at a wide range of prices.
Ensure you do your research about what´s available at what price, and don´t succumb to high-pressure sales tactics.
Some businesses will offer finance to parents who indicate they can´t afford to purchase a product outright. There are a number of things you should be wary of in relation to a finance deal:
- Total cost - how much extra will it cost you to use finance, including interest, fees and charges?
- Penalties - what costs, if any, are involved if you pay your loan out early or if you miss a payment?
If you agree to purchase a product from a door-to-door salesman or telemarketer, know your rights. In Queensland you have a 10 business day cooling-off period for products over $100. You should not pay any money during that time. If you change your mind about the purchase during the cooling off period you can cancel your contract in writing.
If you have any problems with door-to-door traders and you can´t resolve them with the company, you should call the Office of Fair Trading on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or contact us online.
Last reviewed 28/11/2011