Online learning is not just for college students

Posted on Monday, 3/25/2013 12:17 pm

As many of the country's colleges and universities offer online courses, it should come as no surprise that several K-12 institutions are doing the same. Although parents who have only known traditional, classroom-based instruction may be skeptical of web-based learning, this modern approach to taking classes is becoming more accepted with each passing day. 

Interest in online instruction on the rise
When many of today's parents were growing up, the idea of taking courses on a computer may have seemed like something straight out of a science fiction story. Today, however, the concept of a virtual classroom is very much a reality.

According to the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), 31 states and Washington, D.C., house statewide, full-time online schools. Overall, the 2009-2010 academic year saw an estimated 1.8 million enrollments in distance-learning education take place among K-12 school districts.

In addition, many schools have adopted a blended approach to instruction. This allows educators to teach the same curriculum in both a physical and virtual classroom setting. The flipped classroom has also grown out of interest in blended learning. The flipped teaching approach requires students to review online content on their own time and then discuss it at school.

Reasons for online instruction
Many parents - and even some school officials - may wonder why institutions offer online education options. For high school students, web-based courses sometimes provide them with opportunities to advance, or simply complete, their studies.

For instance, iNACOL states that credit recovery is among the top reasons why schools offer online courses. If high school students have failed a few classes, having the ability to retake them over the internet can help them earn their diploma on time. During the 2009-2010 academic year, 62 percent of the students taking online courses were doing so to recover credits.

At the same time, 29 percent of students were taking advanced placement classes over the internet. Teenagers may want to enroll in an advanced class that will better prepare them for college, only to learn their high school does not have the resources to provide this level of instruction. In this case, online instruction may provide the solution they are looking for.

According to research from The Sloan Consortium, when school districts want to offer online learning, they turn to state virtual schools, colleges and universities, and independent vendors. No matter where districts look for assistance, they reported that online learning opportunities help them address the different academic needs of students.

The benefits of online instruction
While every student learns differently, there are clear benefits to introducing online instruction to children at an early age. For instance, there is currently a desire among educators to increase K-12 students' level of college and career readiness. As the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the Common Core State Standards place a focus on the integration of technology into classroom instruction, kids who have experience in a virtual classroom setting may be better prepared for the future.

In addition to better college and career readiness, taking online classes could help children become better students. If the quality of instruction in their school districts leaves much to be desired, having access to more effective educators in another part of the country could make a huge difference in students' level of engagement.

6770 West Snowville Road Suite 200
Brecksville, OH 44141
Tel: (440) 526-0095
Fax: (440) 526-2557
Copyright © 1997-2014 Software Answers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy
Follow us on Facebook  Follow us on Linkedin  Follow us on YouTube