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Like every other avenue of education, online education has had its fair share of ups and downs. There was a time when people looked at traditional schooling environments with skepticism and doubted the very need for them. However, with the passage of time, they soon felt the need for a good education system and understood the importance of conventional schools. In the same light, virtual education has recently come under fire for failing to live up to expectations. However, the key distinction here is that conclusions drawn may be based on the evaluation of only a handful of schools in the country. Although the platforms used by different schools are all web-based, they are not the same. Different schools employ different technology to impart education in different ways. This is what gives them their competitive edge. Here are just a few of the many myths about e-learning we seek to debunk.
When it comes to evaluating the quality of education that is imparted, a lot of people base their judgment on the fact that conventional schools employ physical classrooms while e-learning school courses deliver their content via the internet. While the physical absence of a teacher may be an influencing factor here, learning online does in no way undermine the quality of education that is delivered. Students are still provided with access to a wide range of course material that they are allowed to access via their online accounts set up by the school. Moreover, they can also interact with their teachers and peers online in real-time or using offline communication modes that allow for free exchange of information and communication.
The biggest advantage of being able to learn online is that students are allowed to set the pace of learning according to their own individual cognitive abilities. A common hurdle faced by most children in a traditional classroom is that they are required to keep up with the pace of learning that’s set for the entire class as a whole. While this may not be conducive to learning, teachers are faced with limited options when dealing with students as a collective group. Virtual education makes room for dedicated individual attention, which helps teachers assess each student’s strengths and then accordingly alter the pace of learning for that particular student.
The increasing teacher-student ratio has been a challenge for traditional schools for quite a while – one that virtual schools claim to overcome. While this has been accomplished by most platforms imparting education online, it has also opened up the possibility for misuse. A handful of schools have gone the wrong way and have exceeded the optimal teacher-student ratio in a bid to boost profitability. This in turn, has impeded learning programs at these schools and has eventually adversely impacted students’ performances. On the other hand, certain schools have ensured healthy ratios enabling teachers to provide adequate attention to each student. The superior performance of these students vis-à-vis their traditional counterparts is testament to the successful implementation of their learning model.
Fundamentally, the e-learning platform is based on two core factors – technology and implementation. While there is nothing wrong with the way the platform is structured, its implementation can impact a child’s learning process. Successful schools have efficiently implemented these systems, which are reflected in the performance of their students (as reported by the ACT). On the other hand, not implementing the entire system in a student-centric manner can have a negative impact on students’ performances resulting in their reading and math scores being hampered.
The learning models are comprehensively based on a child’s learning process. In fact, they constantly emphasize learning as a continued process and not something that ends after earning a high school diploma. Students are provided with a host of online resources to assist them with learning their course material. Professional licensed teaching faculty and support staff are expected to be adequately trained to guide and enable students to get the most out of their course curriculum. As an independent learning platform, students are given access to a holistic environment that can be tailored to suit their individual learning needs. This makes them very viable alternatives to traditional classrooms, especially for children with special needs.
Just because your child is provided with the flexibility to learn at home or a place of convenience doesn’t necessarily undermine the education process. In fact, research has shown that it’s quite the opposite that’s true. Being able to study at your own pace encourages a child to take on the learning process with an entirely different attitude. Additionally, they are free from the pressure of having to cope with their peers as demanded by traditional classrooms. The key advantage of virtual education lies in the manner in which the course material is delivered. Courses are designed according to standards set by federal and state governments to ensure they match up to the quality standards expected of them.
Delivering this material via the internet makes for a more enriching experience since it is more interactive and students are given access to an avenue that enables them to freely engage with their teachers without the fear of ridicule. While students are allowed to vary the pace of learning, they are required to complete their courses within a stipulated period of time. Additionally, the course curriculum is designed to be as rigorous as traditional environments (if not more) to ensure that students graduating are at the same level as their traditional counterparts. Research studies have shown that in some cases, students actually perform better than their traditional counterparts.
Overall, virtual home schools are definitely a boon to our entire education system as well as those who stand to be impacted by it. With rapidly changing environments, we need learning platforms that can suitably help us adapt in a timely manner to prepare our children for the challenges that lie ahead of them.
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