Some of the most important developments in education have happened since the launch of the Internet - online learning.
What is Online Learning?
Online learning is an educational approach that enhances learning through the use of technology. Online learning can be instructor-led, computer-based, or a combination of two. Online learning provides for homeschooling families:
- Head start to online school for elementary students (Grades 3-5)
- A safety net for emotional middle schoolers (Grades 6-8)
- A flexible, self-paced learning environment for high schoolers (Grades 9-12)
- A new role for teachers from “sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side”1
- Greater convenience for homeschooling parents
Online learning allows courses and content to be updated quickly, enabling students to access to the very latest information. Social media, instant messaging, multimedia, and other types of online communication empower learners to collaborate, keep in touch, and discuss course-related matters while providing a sense of inclusion.
More families are choosing online learning for their children. Online learning demands active student participation and holds students accountable for submitting their assignments. Is it right for your family? Consider the following:
- What is online learning?
- What are the benefits of online learning?
- What are the challenges of online learning?
- How does my child apply their personal strengths to online learning?
- What is the future of online learning?
Individual, Personal, and Safe
Online learners benefit from personalized learning, individualized instruction, and a safe environment.
- Online education offers myriad benefits:
- Self-paced learning - students can speed up or slow down as needed
- The flexibility to support the needs of diverse learners
- The opportunity to incorporate moral and religious principles into daily lessons
- An individual approach to learning that helps both gifted and at-risk students
- Unique course offerings - Dual Enrollment (DE), Concurrent Credit (CC), and Advanced Placement (AP)
Friends, Teachers, and Accountability
One of the frequent arguments against online learning is socialization - or lack thereof. Contrary to popular belief, online learning students do collaborate via online sessions and group projects. Homeschooled kids play with friends, compete on sports teams, and go on field trips.
The Parent’s Role
Online learning requires a motivated, driven student and supportive parents, especially for younger children. Teachers provide various online sources for students to access. It’s the student’s responsibility to log in, learn the material, and complete their assignments. At Enlightium we offer tools for parents to keep their students accountable and on track to finish each school year on time.
Regular, predictable communication with their teachers is critical to an online learner’s success. It is important for parents to evaluate the available support options and select the one best for their family.
Applying Strengths to Online Learning
Every child learns differently. Some are visual learners, using pictures, images, and spatial understanding to aid in studying. Other kids may be auditory learners, using sound and music to help comprehend the material. Verbal learners use words, both in speech and writing, to understand concepts. Physical learners, also called tactile learners, use their bodies, hands, and sense of touch in learning.
Age impacts learning too. Younger children may find morning is the best for working on assignments, while middle school students may prefer to start their online school work later in the morning. High school students may prefer late afternoon or evening, especially if they work or participate in sports.
Mobile, Virtual, Personal
Over the next few years, educators expect online learning to continue to evolve, but online learning doesn’t mean the end for schools or teachers. Students still need to be taught how to learn, to be motivated by parents and teachers, and to be guided through their studies. Communication, collaboration, and teamwork cannot be taught with just videos or written lessons.
Online learning will become more modular, flexible, and increasingly tailored to the needs of students. The online learning industry believes five technology trends will impact the future of education. They include:
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
LMS are designed to create and track a variety of online academic activities. Teachers can use LMS to upload assignments for their students to easily access.
Gamification creates algorithms to build educational games for students. This allows for personalizing education, improving engagement, and providing a better experience for students and teachers.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
A quick note on the difference between VR and AR - VR is a simulated environment (everything is digital), while AR’s information is overlaid onto an existing environment (digital images placed over a real-world feed). Both technologies allow students to simulate the world and experience hands-on learning.
Coding and Robotics
Many schools are adding robotics and coding into their curriculum to better prepare their students for careers in technology. At Enlightium we offer STEM and technology courses.
The Smart Classroom
A smart classroom is an educational setting built for technology. Students can use the most up-to-date technologies, from smart tablets and voice recognition to biometric devices, sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to learn new concepts and collaborate with peers.
Curious about the benefits of online, Christian education and want to learn more? Please visit us at EnlightiumAcademy.com or call (866) 488-4818 option 1. We’re an accredited, alternative online education option for homeschoolers. Enlightium Academy is a private Christian school. We offer a Bible-based, flexible, and affordable education. Our curriculum meets all accreditation and state educational requirements.
1 Keengwe, G., Onchwari, G., & Agamba, J. (2014). Promoting effective e-learning practices through the constructivist pedagogy. Educ Inf Technol., 19:887-898.