Online Learning

Photo by Michele Venne

I’m often asked my thoughts about online schools/classes. It depends on the learner. I’m not one who learns well online. I prefer face-to-face interactions. If it’s decided that a student will move from traditional school to online, there are several things to consider.

Is the student a self-starter? They will need to get themselves online at least 1-2 hours a day, per class. Is the student working at or above grade level? Without a face-to-face teacher, an online student will need to rely on the videos and text of the lesson, essentially teaching themselves. Is the student motivated? The reason to move to online classes vs. traditional K-12 schooling could be due to discipline, mental health concerns, credit recovery, early graduation, etc.

To spend that much time online, learning by oneself, there are sacrifices: less social interaction, missing out on other learning opportunities (dissections, elective classes, clubs, athletics, hands-on projects, etc.), and a one-dimensional understanding of the subject matter. There is much to be gained by participating in classes on campus. However, sometimes circumstances dictate that a detour is needed.

If the student begins to fall behind in lesson completion, or the curriculum becomes too difficult to understand on their own, hiring a tutor is the answer. Make sure that decision is made early on, before there is too much failure, whether in online classes or in classes on campus.