We have all heard about online schools and how they have been revolutionizing our education system. But the real question is – How does online learning really benefit students?
A lot of research has been done and the findings point toward an increase in the graduation rates among high school students. In addition to that, students have shown a remarkable increase in their interest levels toward the entire process of learning. While boredom was once cited as a major reason for high school students losing interest in their studies eventually causing them to drop out of school, they now look forward to learning their course material in a more interactive environment. Imparting education via online platforms in different ways using audio and visual aids has changed the way we look at teaching and educating our children. The important aspect however, remains that we understand just what these platforms are and their potential to deliver information in a holistic manner.
When opting for online homeschooling, students are free to select online K-12 courses either as standalone options or as hybrid courses (this is in combination with their regular curriculum). They can also opt for blended learning, which is a combination of face-to-face, classroom-based teaching and independent online study that students can complete on their own at home. Coursework that is required to be completed online is self-paced, which makes it extremely feasible and convenient for students. In such cases, students are already equipped with the necessary background knowledge of the subject matter. They are then able to apply that knowledge to and contribute to discussions in the classroom, which leads to more productive learning.
Ultimately, the objective of learning in this manner is to help students explore their course material in more interactive and efficient ways, which in turn fosters a more holistic development process. The most common example of learning in this manner is the ‘flipped classroom’ model used by teachers to impart education in a more effective way. For those of you who are new to this concept, it is basically a reversed classroom experience. As part of their online learning process, students are typically asked to view a lecture online at home (usually a video or a presentation) and then come to class the next day. They are then required to participate in discussions in the classroom with their peers and their teacher.
What this effectively allows students to do is view the content at their own pace at home as many times as they’d like to, understand as much as they possibly can independently, note down questions they have and then possibly discuss it with their classmates before actually coming to class. Online schools use this approach in an endeavor to help students develop more independent learning skill sets as opposed to the traditional approach of listening to a teacher lecture in class. In this manner, they are usually free from distraction and are more likely to pay attention to the content they are learning. This way, teachers are free to focus on aspects that really require their attention and they can also address specific questions students may have, thereby fostering a more holistic learning approach among students.
When using the flipped classroom approach, homework assignments are usually done in class. The key difference however, is that they are more collaborative in nature as opposed to the traditional manner in which students have done homework. Teachers with such online schools prefer to use classroom time for resolving queries students have and helping them understand with a more hands-on approach. In this manner, their role shifts to more of being a guide rather than a lecturer. Additionally, students learn to work together as a team and are encouraged to interact with each other when working collaboratively on class projects, activities and labs.
Since this is a more modern way of teaching and imparting education, a certain amount of skepticism is bound to be there. However, the overall process can prove to be a positive experience for both students and teachers. With more and more teachers opening up to the use of technology as part of the online homeschooling experience, students are making more productive use of their time and seem to be learning much more than they did via traditional methods of delivering information. This model however, does require the teacher to spend a considerable amount of time either looking for the right videos or creating them from scratch, uploading those videos, planning the entire classroom experience and monitoring the progress of students. Additionally, students need to be diligent on their part in terms of viewing the content that has been uploaded.
Overall, with the right amount of effort, the entire experience can be quite rewarding. When you combine the latest technologies and tools available with websites like YouTube, online learning has the potential to deliver holistic learning in an extremely convenient and affordable way. Moreover, the manner in which students are taught and the way they learn has been completely revolutionized with the advent of new-age methodologies. While we still have a long way to go, students everywhere have been making headway and these online platforms are beginning to show a lot of promise in terms of delivering high-quality education. Not only are they benefiting students but teachers too, are now actively employing technology in their classrooms to help students learn better and improve their performance.
While distance education isn’t a new concept to us, online homeschooling is turning out to be a very different ballgame. The kind of opportunities that are being presented to us today weren’t even conceivable a few years ago. With the cost of education steadily increasing, these online platforms have provided us with alternative modes of learning that are not only affordable but also extremely efficient and effective. If you’re looking for proof, all you have to do is review the most recent statistics regarding online high school graduation rates and student testimonials. Both teachers and students have given them a thumbs-up!