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September 8, 2020

7 min

Dr. Jessica Spallino

The Status of Remote Learning in 2020

Education is changing fast, and remote learning is jumping into the spotlight. Unfortunately, as schools rush to pick up new remote learning models, parents may feel left in the dark.

You shouldn’t have to make life-changing decisions about your child’s future without knowing what’s going on in education.

We’re here to cut through the confusion and provide an update on the status of remote learning in 2020. Read on to learn what’s happening in the education industry and uncover what you should watch out for in order to pick the right remote learning opportunities for your child.

What’s the State of Remote Learning in 2020?

It’s no secret that remote learning has skyrocketed in recent months. With COVID-19 impacting the entire education industry, schools are rushing to pick up distance learning programs. In fact, several states are only allowing schools to open in a remote or hybrid setting this fall.

Even before COVID-19 shook up education, schools were inching their way toward remote learning. Prior to the virus, the remote learning market was already expected to grow by more than $100 billion by 2025. Now, this momentum toward online learning and pressure from legislators are catapulting schools into remote learning programs.

The result?

Droves of schools are scrambling to adjust their entire learning structures on the fly. At the moment, remote learning is exploding just about everywhere, but not all schools are prepared to use distance learning to produce the best learning outcomes.

What Are the Challenges of Remote Learning in 2020?

When done right, remote learning can reach students on a deeper, more personalized level. However, the current educational climate is producing some alarming red flags in the online arena.

More and more, traditional schools are being forced to dip their toes into online education with little to no prior remote experience. Schools that rush into online education underprepared are likely to experience several problems. Here are a few.

Frustrated Learners

It’s only natural. As instructors at traditional public schools are forced to teach remotely, they’ll need to pick up technology quickly. In many cases, this is a recipe for frustration. Because many leaders will be using advanced technology on a regular basis for the first time in their lives, it’s likely that students will be left frustrated in the classroom and waiting for instructors to catch up.

Stunted Social Growth

Sadly, as traditional schools jump haphazardly into online instruction, they may not think to put critical socialization programs in place. That can leave your student missing out on social growth and critical life skills.

Poor Instruction

There are plenty of hurdles for instructors to jump over if they’re not prepared for online education. If they aren’t willing to take a personalized approach and adapt their teaching styles to fit online education, they won’t be able to get through to students.

Which Schools Are Positioned to Excel—and Which Aren’t

As schools rush into online learning, some will be immediately set up for success. Others may be in over their heads. In order to understand which schools are better positioned than others, it’s important to look at the structure of K-12 schools in general.

The Differences Between Charter Schools and Traditional Schools

Of course, not all charter schools are the same. Neither are all traditional public schools. In reality, a school’s quality will depend on case-by-case factors. Still, if you want to understand the state of remote learning, it’s worth examining the differences between public charter schools and traditional public schools.

What Is a Traditional Public School?

In traditional public schools, educators create coursework that lines up with the standards of the school’s district and state. These schools are free to attend, and admission is based on the student’s address.

What Is a Public Charter School?

Although public charter schools are also free to attend, coursework lines up with a different set of standards than traditional public schools. Instead of being tied to district policy, public charter schools establish separate standards through local boards.

Are Public Charter Schools Better Suited for Remote Learning?

Public charter schools and traditional public schools across the nation are both racing to provide remote learning opportunities. However, the structure of these two types of schools leave them on unequal footing when it comes to providing online instruction. Here are a few reasons public charter schools are naturally set up for better online learning outcomes.

More Flexibility

Because they aren’t bound by sweeping district standards, charter schools have more flexibility to use the structure and instruction methods that meet students’ needs. That flexibility makes it easier for charter schools to pick up advanced remote learning methods without having to wait for sluggish district approval.

More Experience

Because many public charters have been operating online for years, many are already filled with remote learning experts. The obvious advantage is that teachers are already ready to lead students through new processes, and learners aren’t stuck waiting for their instructors to learn how to use technology.

Less Rigid Scheduling

With the uncertainty of COVID-19 hovering over everyone, there’s a chance schools could try to hop back and forth between online and in-person schedules. That puts rigid traditional schools in a tough spot. Because they’re used to more open instructional hours, charter schools that are already offering flexible scheduling will be positioned to adjust much more easily to unexpected public mandates.

Less Change Resistance

Because they’re generally rooted in more traditional education models, traditional schools are often staffed with teachers who resist change. Unfortunately, if teachers insist on using lecture-heavy methods or other in-person styles in the online classroom, learners will be left behind. Those methods simply don’t translate well to online learning. Most charter schools have spent years adopting new teaching methods that focus on more personalized online learning.

More Advanced Technology

Technology is at the heart of remote learning. Sadly, many traditional schools don’t have the advanced technology that’s needed to support positive online learning outcomes. On the other hand, many online public charters have already invested in—and learned to use—advanced technology that pushes learners forward.

How to Spot a Strong Remote Classroom in 2020

Now, with so many schools offering remote classes, it’s harder than ever to identify those schools that are prepared to improve the life of your student. Unfortunately, it’s also as crucial as ever. Before you sign your child up for an online program, make sure the school is set up for remote learning success. Here are some qualities to look for.

Distance Learning Experts

Few things are more frustrating for a student or a parent than having to teach instructors how to use technology. The remote learning program you choose should be led by distance learning experts who have years of experience leading with online tools.

Personalized Learning

For remote learning to be effective, it needs to be personalized and self-paced. Otherwise, students may lose interest, struggle with content, and fall behind. The best remote learning programs will offer ongoing support, self-paced coursework, student/instructor check-ins, and small classrooms.

Advanced Online Learning Tools

It’s not enough for instructors to simply post instructions online or lecture students via video. To spark advanced learning, remote programs should offer engaging coursework that adapts to the learner.

Support for All Students

Just because your student is learning online doesn’t mean they need to drop their extracurricular passions. In fact, the best remote learning programs will clear the path for success outside the classroom. If your student is an athlete or a performing artist, make sure their school provides additional support and NCAA-approved coursework.

Curriculum You Can Trust

Especially with new schools popping up online, it’s important to make sure the school you choose features a curriculum that prepares your student for life after graduation. That means it should be accredited and should feature coursework that’s approved by the top regulatory bodies, such as the University of California system.

Programs for Socialization

Social development is a critical part of your child’s education. That’s why remote learning programs should provide opportunities for social growth through clubs and learning extensions.

Learn with Remote Schooling Experts

With the state of education shifting so drastically, we understand how hard it has become to find the right school for your child. We’re here to help you through the process. Here’s a bit about Method Schools:

Above all else, we want your child to succeed. Have questions about online learning? Contact one of our remote learning experts today!

Method is here to help your child succeed. Learn more >>

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