Many families did not consider the many attributes of quality virtual learning until this past year when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down traditional, in-classroom education. For students, learning online offered expanded opportunities especially for those in rural and smaller districts.
Whether virtual classes or a hybrid of in-classroom with online, the benefits include greater flexibility, improved mental health, and opportunities to learn skills that set students up for a successful future. Today’s students have quickly discovered the many attributes of virtual learning, guaranteeing online options will continue to grow long after the pandemic.
Flexibility & Self-Pacing
Six-hour days in school with back-to-back classes prove daunting to many students. Virtual learning offers flexibility and allows them to take more frequent breaks. Taking some down time can help reduce stress and increase productivity for both students and teachers.
For younger students, regular breaks throughout the day can effectively reduce disruptive behavior. This, in turn, increases the effort they put into their learning activities.
Sleep has also ranked as a long-time concern, debating if 8 a.m. is too early for students to start their day. When students get the appropriate amount of sleep, their grades improve, according to American Academy of Sleep Medicine. About 70% of students are not getting the recommended 8 to 10 hours for teens and 12 hours for younger children. Online learning gives students the opportunity to set their own schedule and start at their own time. Some students may complete their work at 10:30 a.m. or even 10:30 p.m. as long as the coursework is completed within the acceptable timeframe.
Finishing coursework anywhere, anytime
Online school offers unique opportunities with the ability to complete coursework wherever convenient and comfortable for them. This advantage allows students to work in an environment that best suits them, such as coffee shops, libraries, parks or community centers. If students go on vacation, they even have the option to complete assignments while waiting for a flight, during a road trip or lounging poolside to lessen the amount of work needed to be done when they return home.
Promoting Social & Emotional Health
Students can face significant social pressure at school because they want to fit in with certain groups or society. Virtual learning eases these pressures by not being face-to-face with peers for six hours a day which calms anxieties especially when it comes to bullying and other social stressors. This, in turn, allows them to focus more on their coursework instead of focusing on how they are perceived by their peers.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities says one in five children struggle with learning disabilities ranging from ADHD, dyslexia and hearing impairments. Online education gives these students the opportunity to dictate text or email using voice programs and the freedom to design their own learning space in a way that works best for them.
Learning for the future
In addition to completing assignments and learning lifelong skills, students engaging in virtual learning can sharpen their digital skills while using technology. Interactive online tools such as testing, drop boxes, email communications, and video presentations help set them up for success.
For students considering higher education, many colleges and universities offer full or partial online degrees. Even students who attend college in-person have to learn how to stay focused and self-motivated – valuable skills they have learned through online classes. Navigating software, communicating over multiple platforms, and again, working independently are among the many benefits of virtual learning.
For many learners, virtual schooling is a great option that removes barriers and helps achieve goals. From flexible schedules to the convenience of learning anywhere, fully online and hybrid education through school partners promise great opportunities for today’s students.
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