Distance learning can be a great option for many students. And there are more opportunities than ever before for your kids to take advantage of the online learning experience. Here are the main benefits of online learning and why it might be a great fit for your kids.
Pros of Online Learning
While there may be some reasons not to look into online courses, the pros of online learning can definitely bring some big advantages for kids of all ages and learning abilities. Here’s what you need to know.
What is online learning?
Online learning is education that takes place over the internet instead of in a physical classroom with in-person instruction. It is also referred to as virtual learning or e-learning because it takes place with the use of electronic resources.
The virtual classroom experience has grown significantly within the last decade and many students enjoy the online learning experience. It enables students to learn at their own pace without showing up for a class at a specific time. Plus, it allows students to learn new skills from teachers that they may not be able to learn from without the online environment.
But we still need to differentiate between homeschooling with an online curriculum and online school. One of the primary differences between the two approaches is the role of the parent. In a homeschool, the parent is primarily responsible for the student. In an online school, the certified teachers presenting the lessons answer the students questions and help move them along in the course.
Advantages of Online Learning
There are multiple advantages of online classes, which make online learning a very useful tool for students of all ages. Here are some of the benefits of online learning.
Exploring Subjects of Interest
When the world is your classroom and you can learn from master teachers that live anywhere on the globe, the amount of courses open to your just explodes! No longer are you limited to the classes you can take locally. Now you can find very niche courses and explore subjects of interest that might not be offered in the traditional brick and mortar school. Adults find many courses that help them with career advancement and professional development. Teens and high schoolers can find courses that will help them explore possible future professions and learn new skills.
Comfort of Learning from Home
Online learning gives students the comfort of learning from home. This is huge, especially for children with special needs or emotional stressors that are amplified when they are in a traditional classroom setting. Online school allows students to be in a comfortable and predictable environment rather than physical classrooms which can be loud, chaotic, and stressful for some children.
Convenience and Flexibility
Thee flexible schedule of online learning is an amazing benefit for kids of all ages. But for high schoolers with a busy schedule who also want to work on the side, the schedule flexibility is key to be able to accomplish both. Instead of having to fit in person classes around a work schedule, your teens can complete their course work when it makes sense for them. Online learning also allows for personal preferences in learning. That is, some people do best early in the morning when they are fresh, so they can complete their online class then. Others do better in the afternoon or later at night. So in this way, everyone can learn at the time that fits their needs the best.
Reduced Education Costs
Online learning is cheaper when compared to taking the same classes at a private school. The average tuition cost for private K-12 school is $12,350 annually in the United States. But this figure might not include extra expenses for uniforms, books, supplies, transportation, sports, and more. Private online K-12 schools can cost as low as $2000 per year per student.
When your kids enter the high school years and you start looking at the price comparisons between getting a college degree with in-person tuition versus online learning, the cost differentials are staggering. When comparing a public college 4-year degree to that of an online degree, the online college degree is $10,776 cheaper.
Lessons Taught to The Student
When your kids become online learners, they have to start being a manager of their time and attention more than in a traditional classroom. Learning online can cause a change in the way you process information. You have to be a bit more active in your participation because you don’t have an in-person teacher right there with you. From participating in online discussions, to uploading assignments on time, these are some of the lessons that you learn as an online student.
Plus, your online students will also have to figure out how they learn best and can accommodate their different learning styles better online. For example, your auditory learners might appreciate the online format more because they can focus in on listening without the distraction of other students in the classroom. Or, your visual learner might appreciate the slides that the online teacher uses and be able to screenshot those to study from later.
Grades and Lessons Organized
Grades and lessons are usually well organized with established online platforms. Students can see which lessons they need to complete along with due dates for assignments. And grades are available at any time. Immediate feedback with grading is one of the best advantages for online students. Instead of waiting days or weeks to have an assignment graded in a traditional classroom, your online students will know exactly how they did and they will know it quickly.
Online students participate in discussion forums, which are very natural for today’s kids growing up in a social media age.
The self-paced learning style is probably what appeals the most to online students. You can follow your own schedule, take extra time with lectures, and enjoy great flexibility than with traditional classes.
Online students can control the amount of information they consume and the time frame they consume it in. This works well for students who are easily overwhelmed with information overload in a typical classroom. When your student is learning online, they can pause the lesson when needed and come back to it again. Students can re-listen to a lecture if they didn’t understand. Plus, they can learn the material during the time of day when they are best suited for learning, whether that’s bright and early in the morning or later in the day.
Greater Ability to Concentrate
One of the pros of online learning is having a greater ability to concentrate. Normal in person learning is filled with many distractions, from the environment, to the other students, and even to the teacher’s presentation style. Most of this can be avoided or worked around with an online format.
Of course, if the teacher is presenting direct to camera, then you don’t have to worry about other students being a distraction. If the teacher’s style is too slow or too fast, you can adjust the speed of the presentation. Plus, you can go back and re-listen to a portion of the lesson if you didn’t understand it the first time. All of these things are only available with an online learning process.
Great for Visual Learners
Visual learners do well as online students. With the ability to see presentation slides from the teacher, download notes, and take notes online while listening, your visual learners will benefit. Plus, when the learning material is presented online it tends to be more visual and you can pause the lesson and take screen shots to refer to later if needed. Many online courses tend to be media-rich in their presentation. All of these aspects provide great pros of online learning for your visual students.
Of course, online learning helps to build discipline because without an in-person teacher, your student does have to step up and take responsibility for their own learning and progress. Time management becomes crucial with an online learning program. Most of the time, no one is checking in on your student to make sure they complete assignments. So your children learn to structure study time and lesson time to fit their learning style. Their time-management skills are put to the test as they learn to prepare ahead of time for larger assignments. All of these discipline-building skills are excellent preparation for them as future college students.
Learn New Technical Skills
Students can learn new technical skills by learning with an online program. So while not only learning content-area information, your student is gaining in his ability to work with an online interface, participate in online forums, and submit work to an online teacher. Your online teacher might also require you to use additional online tools and apps, further increasing your knowledge and technical skills. Learning new technical skills is likely one of those overlooked pros of online learning.
If you’re ready to use an online learning program for your kids, then you’ll love this inside look into Monarch Homeschool Curriculum for grades 3-12. This program allows you to customize your schedule to fit your family, plus with a free 30-day trial, there’s nothing to lose! If you want to dip your toes into the online homeschool world, then try one of these one-semester courses instead.
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Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.