Most people consider the traditional brick and mortar classroom as the best way of educating children. Back in the day, traditional learning in a classroom with face to face interaction with the teacher was seen as the best choice for educating children.
Today, however, the narrative is changing. Technological advancements, access to the internet, and improvement in communication technologies have equipped schools and teachers alike with the much-needed tools to effectively conduct online learning.
While online learning is ubiquitous for undergraduate and graduate degree programs, we are beginning to see an increase in online education for a lot of elementary and high school students. A lot of parents are turning to online education for their young children. A remarkable number of K-12 students are admitted to online schools full time, compared to the same situation a decade or so ago.
And when a mandatory closure of all schools and universities due to a global health threat comes into play, online education is no longer just one option considered by a few, but the only option for everyone.
So let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should consider investing in online education for your child.
Benefits of investing in online education
When you consider all the challenges related to enrolling and keeping a young student in a traditional classroom, you'll understand better the reasons why online learning is gaining more popularity and relevance today. Here are a number of benefits online education brings to the table:
Students will learn at their own pace
In traditional schools, every child is expected to complete their tasks at the same pace as others. Those who fly through all learning materials because they’re fast learners have to wait for the rest of the classroom to catch up. Likewise, those who struggle with a concept, or simply need more time to grasp it, might be forced to move on to the next lesson without thoroughly mastering the previous one. In either case, the learning experience is negatively affected.
With online education, on the other hand, your children can learn at a pace that is most convenient for each of them. Students in virtual classrooms have some flexibility in terms of scheduled lessons and deadlines to meet up with assigned learning activities. This allows them to advance more rapidly or gives them more time to focus on areas where they need to learn more.
Fewer distractions and obstacles to learning
In traditional brick and mortar schools, there are lots of distractions that could stand to limit the learning ability of your child. Class-size is one of them. And with an increase in class size comes a lot of behavioral issues from other students, which the class teacher tries to address. Then, your child will have to deal with issues like bullying, peer pressure, and the likes. All these factors can limit your child's ability to achieve their full potential in the learning environment.
With online learning, your children can focus on their education during class hours, and when it's time to socialize, they do it with friends outside the learning environment. Moreover, online teachers will not need to address disruptive behaviors; they are more focused on teaching their students.
Can be customized to accommodate the students’ unique academic needs
No two students are the same in terms of the way they learn. Some students need you to repeat certain things over and over again before they can grasp a new concept, some require lengthy explanations, while some students have a photographic memory. They can understand the lesson almost immediately.
Online learning can be tailored in such a way that it focuses more on the areas in which every child needs more attention. It can also aim to develop further specific areas in which they have more interest and strength. The bottom line is, online learning offers the opportunity to personalize the education of any student in ways that best suit their unique learning needs.
Read more: 5 Key elements of personalized learning
Parents become more involved in their children's education
Research has revealed that students perform better in traditional schools when their parents are involved in their learning process. There are various strategies schools can use to encourage parental involvement in their children’s learning.
This is even better with K-12 online education, as parents have the opportunity to become more directly involved in their children's education. They will be there to ensure that their children complete all their tasks and assignments on time. Also, they can ensure that their children meet all their deadlines. Parents become direct partners and coaches for their children's education.
Helps students become independent, disciplined, and responsible
In brick and mortar schools, your children basically do what they are told to do. In online learning, however, many activities put the student in the driver’s seat. Your child will therefore have to learn how to be responsible and disciplined. They have to learn how to hold themselves accountable for their own work.
It's a good thing for them to learn these skills at a tender age through online learning. Most of us were not privileged to learn these skills until college. Without supervision from deans, counselors, teachers, peers, or tutors, your children can learn to be self-reliant and take more responsibility for their learning. This, in itself, is an invaluable life skill.
A learning environment more inclusive of introverted students
If your child is more like an introvert, online schooling may be the most appropriate alternative for them. The reason is that the environment of traditional brick and mortar schools can be tough for introverts.
Online learning has discussion forums where every student can participate. Introverts can contribute better in such discussion forums where there is no face to face interactions. Introverts feel alive, more energized, and they tend to switch on more when they are in quiet environments. Don't get me wrong; introverts can also thrive in traditional schools; however, they'll find online learning more suitable and conducive to learning.
There are so many benefits your child can derive when you enroll them in online education programs. A lot of people are beginning to see that online learning can be as effective as traditional face to face learning in the classroom.
Even though a lot of critics question the effectiveness of online schools, it is helpful for parents to know that this option exists and it may just be the most ideal for your child, given all the benefits mentioned above — even after things will get back to normal and schools will have their gates reopened.