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Tutoring vs. Brain Training: What’s the Difference?

Tutoring vs. Brain Training: What’s the Difference?

When people hear about LearningRx, they often assume we’re a tutoring center. While tutoring certainly has its place, we offer a very different approach. In this post, we’re going to explain the differences between tutoring and brain training so you can determine which option is right for you or your child.

There are two primary components of learning: strong educational content and the cognitive ability to learn and apply this content. Tutoring and brain training approach learning from different angles.

Tutoring: A focus on content

Tutoring is an excellent way to enforce or reinforce content. For example, if your student missed many days or weeks of school due to illness and needs help catching up, tutoring is a logical choice. If your student is having a difficult time grasping a concept because the teacher isn’t doing a good job of explaining it, they may benefit from someone else’s explanation, hence, a tutor. Tutoring, however, deals exclusively with content. It’s a content-centric approach. It doesn’t address any underlying causes of a person’s difficulty with learning.

Brain training: A focus on cognitive skills

Brain training, on the other hand, doesn’t focus on delivering or re-delivering content. Instead, brain training helps enhance a person’s cognitive skills which ultimately improves their cognitive abilities.

  • Have you or your student tried tutoring and yet continue to struggle?
  • Does this struggle relate to multiple disciples or school subjects?
  • Is reading comprehension a constant challenge?
  • Do you feel like you need to work harder than your peers to get good grades or understand new concepts?

Brain training focuses on seven core cognitive areas: attention, long–term memory, working memory, logic & reasoning, auditory processing, visual processing and processing speed. It acknowledges that these cognitive areas are the backbone of learning and if they are weak, learning is a struggle. Let’s take a closer look:

Attention: This skill is important for accomplishing individual tasks, participating in activities and holding conversations. The ability to focus is dependent on one’s attention span. When a person has a good attention span, they can focus for an extended period of time. When attention is weak, a person is easily distracted from the task at hand.

Working and Long–Term Memory: Memory is a skill that helps a person build on previous knowledge. It allows a person to grasp, retain, and recall past information and apply it to a current or future task. When memory is weak, learning could be harder than it needs to be and test-taking can be more difficult. A person will easily forget information they used to know. They may also have a difficult time following step-by-step instructions.

Logic and Reasoning: Logic and reasoning helps a person solve problems or brainstorm new ideas. As a student, these skills help you solve math problems or present a well-crafted argument to your parents about why they should let you use the car or go to a party. As an adult, these same skills help you solve complex problems or brainstorm ideas for keeping your young kids busy with engaging activities during the long winter months. When logic and reasoning skills are weak, a person may frequently ask what to do next or express frustration because they feel stuck or overwhelmed.

Auditory Processing: Auditory processing is what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. This skill enables you to analyze, blend and segment sounds. When someone struggles with auditory processing, learning to read, reading fluency and reading comprehension can be affected. You may hear a child or adult who struggles with auditory processing complain, “I don’t like to read.”

Visual Processing: Visual processing is what our brain uses to make sense of what we see in the world around us. This skill enables you to think in visual images. When a child is behind in visual processing skills, they may have difficulty understanding what they read, remembering what they’ve read, following directions, reading maps and doing word math problems.

Processing speed: Critical for performing tasks effectively and in a timely fashion, processing speed allows a person to process both visual and auditory information. When visual processing skills are weak, a person may have difficulty reading maps, remembering what they just read or working out word problems in math. When auditory processing is weak, a person can have difficulty reading or comprehending what they read. You may hear a child who struggles with auditory processing complain, “I don’t like to read.” Generally speaking, tasks are arduous and take a long time to complete. Generally speaking, tasks are arduous and take a long time to complete.

When we help adults and children boost their cognitive skills, we target the specific parts of the brain that are weak to help stimulate them. Brain training makes processing and responding to content easier and more enjoyable and creates a more positive learning experience.


If you suspect that you or your student is struggling with weak cognitive skills and could benefit from brain training at LearningRx, take our free Brain Quiz or contact us here!

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