Students gain more knowledge than in standard classes because online courses give them total control over their studies, allowing them to work at their own pace. Reliable, easy-to-use technology is critical to a successful online program, but even the most sophisticated technology is not 100% reliable. Most research suggests that online learning is as effective as in-person classes, and some studies suggest that it could be even more effective. Online courses offer opportunities for students to learn subjects not offered at their school, catch up on classes they have failed, and become more self-disciplined.
The curriculum of any online program must be carefully considered and developed for it to be successful. Assessment can become more of an ongoing process in the online environment, and facilitator and student collaborate to create a dynamic learning experience. A Brandon Hall report on online learning within companies found that this learning style generally requires 40 to 60% less employee time than learning in a traditional classroom. However, compared to in-person and online classes, online classes are not as effective as in-person classes for most students.
Kristina believes that the community aspect of classroom learning is impossible to fully replicate “and there is so much social education that occurs in face-to-face interactions that it is vital for all students (especially the youngest). Only a small piece of research has evaluated the effects of online lessons for elementary and middle school students, and even less has it used the “gold standard” method of comparing the results of students randomly assigned to online or face-to-face courses. Persistence is perhaps the most important key to success in online learning. Successful students are those who are willing to tolerate technical problems, seek help when needed, work daily in all classes, and persist in challenges. If you write less than 25 to 30 words per minute, it may be worth completing a typing program before starting online classes. You'll also want to check the school's main website online for its hardware and software requirements.
Georgina Durrant, author of 100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play, is a private tutor for children with special educational needs (SEN).