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September 1, 2016

3 min

Mark Holley

Should My Student Attend An Online High School?

For many, online courses offer an attractive solution to the distractions of traditional high school classes. However, despite the benefits of online courses, many students still prefer traditional on site education as USA Today has reported. So what are the pros and cons of taking a high school course online or on site?

Where Do Traditional Classes Excel?

One of the great strengths of on site instruction is the ability to tailor a course for group learning. Interactions are customized for the group of students so that the improvements learned in the course will help with future projects. Talented instructors pull from a database of online resources to enhance the current lesson or to answer an individual question. On site classes encourage engagement rather than passive learning and are tailored to learners who enjoy actively discussing material with others and working in groups.

Having a live instructor available means that students receive instant and detailed feedback for their questions. Unlike online classes, where students have to generate and frame questions for their instructors, in a live class session an instructor can see potential problems and correct them proactively. Instructors can also create group scenarios which take advantage of questions that arise in a given session. These techniques allow classes to be both engaging and entertaining while providing quality instruction. Instructors also provide ongoing information after the class allowing for follow-up questions and opportunities.

When are Online Classes More Effective?

While on site classwork can be an excellent option for group learning, it may not always be the best solution for your student's needs. On site sessions are by necessity inflexible, requiring a fixed time and place. Online courses are a better fit for individuals who need to be able to complete work on a less structured timetable or from remote locations. It can also help students who move more quickly than a traditional class or need a little extra time to review difficult concepts.

While on site classes are an excellent solution for providing education for a group of students, for students who are easily distracted or work best alone and online class may provide a solution. While the discussions and activities produced by a large group discussion are excellent for creative energy and producing face-to-face discussions, they can sacrifice the needs of the more introspective individual to those with louder voices.

How Do I Get the Most Out of an On Site or Online Course?

Whether you choose a traditional or online program, you want to make sure you are getting the course which best fits your student's needs. You need to consider whether you student works best alone or benefits from discussion with others and consider what goals you would like the course to meet.

While online courses provide the greatest flexibly, on site courses provide a unique mix of individualized instruction for group participants, excelling at creating discussion and meaningful dialogues through activities and scenarios. Online students may need to work to connect with the instructor and can feel isolated by the pressures of working alone. Students must stay organized and follow a detailed schedule to make sure to complete all required assignments on time. Traditional students need to make sure that social events don't overwhelm learning in the classroom. While communication with peers is vital to the success of on site courses, learning still needs to remain a priority for students.

Statistics have shown no real difference between the outcomes of on site and online courses, so the choice between online and on site courses is largely a matter of personal preference. Although, online courses do allow for more flexible pacing and an expanded course catalog (more class choices). By considering your goals and needs, you can choose course format best suited to your student.

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