Online Learning is a form of distance education that utilizes the Internet to teach students. Students take classes through a website and communicate with their instructors and fellow students using e-mail, instant messaging and web broadcasting technologies. Students can access reference materials, including documents, books and periodicals, on the Internet as well. In some cases, these references can also be downloaded to a personal computer for offline reading. Online students work independently, but may collaborate on group projects with classmates through web-based tools such as wikis. They may also use videoconferencing and chat rooms to conduct class meetings with their instructors.
One of the most significant benefits of online learning is its flexibility. Students can log on to their online course at any time of day or night and fit their learning into their schedules, if they are careful to adhere to assignment and discussion deadlines. This can be especially helpful for those who have full-time jobs, young children or other family responsibilities. It can also allow learners who live in rural areas, or those with special needs, to access educational opportunities that might not be available to them otherwise (Watson & Johnson, 2010).
However, students must possess certain basic technology skills in order to participate successfully in an online learning program. They must be comfortable navigating the World Wide Web and be familiar with Newsgroups, FTP procedures and email. They must also be able to use a computer to play and download audio and video files. In addition, they should have a reliable internet connection and be able to operate their computers at a high speed.
Another concern with online learning is that it can be difficult to stay motivated without the structure and accountability of a traditional classroom. Many programs have strict attendance requirements, which can be challenging for learners who are not accustomed to missing 2 or 3 classes a week. And, even with the best of intentions, it can be too easy to fall behind when there is no one to push you or keep you on track.
Finally, it can be difficult to maintain focus when working on a computer for several hours at a time. For this reason, it’s important for kids who attend online schools to be self-motivated and have good time management skills. Taking regular breaks, and using apps like f.lux that filter out blue light, can help avoid screen fatigue and make online learning more enjoyable for all.
All in all, though, online learning has become a popular choice for students around the world. It continues to surge in popularity, not just because we’re staying at home more, but because it provides the flexibility and convenience that many of us crave in our daily lives. With the right blend of motivation, structure and support, it can be a powerful tool for achieving success in school and beyond. For more information, contact the admissions department at your desired school. They can explain the online learning options they offer and how these can benefit your child.