9 Factors That Make Or Break Online School For Your Child
What we've learned from serving more than 50,000 students
With the advent of digital platforms and e-learning technologies, students can access education anywhere and anytime they want. It's an exciting time for parents and educators alike as online learning offers a wealth of opportunities to unlock their child's potential. It almost goes without saying that the pandemic sped up online learning adoption. But, it also gave online school a bad reputation (in some cases deservedly so) because many providers - especially traditional school districts - weren't designed or equipped for distance learning.
After successfully serving more than 50,000 students via distance/online learning, here's a list of what we've found is most critical in ensuring a positive learning experience:
1. Parental and/or guardian support at home
2. Strong student to teacher relationship
3. Flexible teachers who meet each student exactly where they are - academically and logistically speaking
4. Reliable and regular communication between students, parents, and teachers via various mechanisms, such as chat, text, email, calls, in person, etc.
5. Engaging curriculum that makes students want to "go to class"
6. In person activities for students, parents, and teachers (at Method, this is a major feature that our students and parents rely on)
7. Seamless technology (machines and connectivity) with readily available tech support
8. Teachers that leverage data to improve instruction
9. Regular feedback opportunities (such as surveys)
We'll go more in depth on each of these make or break factors in upcoming blogs. And while this list isn't exhaustive, it's a summary of the factors we've found to be most important for students to succeed in an online learning modality. In addition to our own research, we polled our teachers to help us narrow down the factors and to rank them in order of importance. In summary, the old mantra of "online school isn't for everyone" isn't a good excuse for a bad online school experience. Online school provides a much more consistent and personal experience for students when delivered competently and with the student in mind.
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Mark is the co-founder of Method Schools and SmartFox and has been working in the marketing and finance areas of K-12 education for two decades. He holds a B.S. in Business from Utah Valley University and an MBA from Brigham Young University. In his spare time he’s usually on his mountain bike.