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October 20, 2021

3 min

Dr. Jessica Spallino

Turning To Online Learning? Look For These 5 Elements To Spot A Good Program

More Families Are Turning To Online Learning

Though online learning has been around for decades, it has recently become a more preferred learning modality than ever before. Whether part or full-time, online learning can fill a temporary or permanent need for remote learning for students anywhere. Increasingly, students are turning to online programs at school districts, charter schools and private schools for the following reasons:

  • Need for a flexible learning modality
  • Time allowance for special interest or lifestyle demand
  • Need to diversify the modality of learning
  • Temporary need for remote learning (health issues, Covid, relocation)

At Method Schools, we recently surveyed the parents and guardians of our current students, and the findings, while not surprising, show more families who might not have been traditional independent study "consumers" are choosing this flexible learning format for their children:

What is the MOST IMPORTANT reason you enrolled your child at Method Schools?

We prefer a homeschool/independent study setting

48%

Other (please describe)*

16%

We are in a temporary situation requiring the flexibility of homeschooling/independent study

13%

Low quality of assigned neighborhood school

13%

We've enrolled temporarily based on Covid conditions at our neighborhood school within the school district

11%


*For those that chose "Other," here are some of the replies:

"We always wanted to homeschool but both parents were working and could not teach. Due to Covid, e are able to stay home. We will remain in homeschool even after Covid."

"2020 covid brought us to Method. We like Method and plan on staying."

"The accommodations of homeschooling"

"We see the benefit of one on one teacher/student time rather than addressing the class as a whole all the time."

New Online Options Are Appearing...But Parents Should Do Their Homework

Due to an increase in these student needs, new online program offerings are on the rise. As new online programs aim to successfully serve students, there are several elements to consider. Like any classroom setting, sitting a student in front of a book and hoping the student will learn everything he needs is not at all realistic or effective. Similarly in online learning, providing a student with a computer and assuming he will be engaged and retain information, isn’t at all practical.

Ensuring growth for every student in online learning is a collective effort that requires diligence and the continuous development of new ways to support student success.

Five Key Elements:

During the pandemic, more parents have selected charter schools for their students, as charter schools are often more experienced at delivering online education to students. In fact, while public school enrollment declined by 1.4 million students during this period, charter enrollment was up 240,000. However, whether choosing a charter school or a traditional school district for online learning, there are key features and attributes to look out for:

  1. Multi-Leveled Instructional Support
  2. Developed Curriculum & Systems
  3. Student Centered Methodologies
  4. Teacher Development
  5. Culture of Expectation

Schools Should Ensure The Online Experience Is Optimized For Students

As in any educational model, teacher support, rigorous curriculum, student focused methodologies, teacher development and a strong school culture are incredibly vital to student success. The five components listed above are equally critical in online learning and are more thoroughly discussed in an upcoming webinar that will provide adaptations to each that account for a learning modality that is purely or partly remote.

Success can be achieved in an online learning modality if these five components are not only fully developed and implemented, but continuously refined based on ongoing student performance and outcomes.If you’d like to learn more about the Five Elements for Success in Online Learning, feel free to register below for a free webinar that will explore these elements in more detail.

ONLINE BEST PRACTICES WEBINAR: REGISTER FOR FREE

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