Howdy! Today we have a guest author at TBR. Welcome Karen!
How Online Education Affects Individual Students
Online learning has permeated almost every level of education in one way or another from pre-school aged children to master’s degree university students. This shift from traditional learning to an online format offers several benefits but it also can be taxing on individual students, which is why as educators it is important to understand how the term “online learning” is implemented at all levels of education as well as the affect it may have on the individual students we teach.
How Online Education is Implemented in Pre-K through College Education
Many of us are aware of how online learning is implemented for college level students (more on that later) but how is this new learning style applicable to non-college aged learners?
Many parents have downloaded learning apps to their mobile devices that educate their toddlers and pre-school aged children in shapes, numbers and letters, all items that in the past were taught by parents instead of computers. These programs allow for quick access to learning tools and also entertain/teach toddlers during an important growth time in their life.
Elementary student education utilizes online learning through internet-based homework programs, interactive teaching formats that encourage student and parent participation or through tutor curriculums like StudyDog that helps children improve their reading levels and comprehension through online reading programs.
· Middle School And High School
Middle school and high school’s are implementing online education in several ways including offering entire classes in an online format for courses that may be held at another school (usually language or technical trade classes such as French or animation), repurposing lessons online for students who may have missed the class or for group project management. There are also several home school online learning formats available for students at all levels of education.
University education has slowly migrated towards online education with some of the nation’s most prestigious universities now offering online degrees through online doctoral programs, masters, bachelors and associate programs. This learning format is great for college students because it offers flexible, cost effective and cohesive learning solutions through online coursework with a wide array of resources available. But regardless of how well-rounded and accepted online education has become the question of how online learning affects individual students still remains.
Individual Growth and Development through Online Education
There have been numerous studies conducted to enlighten parents, educators and students on the benefits and disadvantages of online education. The majority of those studies suggest that online learning offers scheduling flexibility, cost effectiveness and computer skills but we want to explore how online education actually affects an individual student. To do this, let’s look at three student types- all in different levels of education with different learning needs.
· Student Profile 1: Pre-Kindergarten Student
The timeframe between pre-k and elementary school is a vital time in a young student’s life as it is a time of growth and key development. Online education during this time can be convenient for parents and teach core necessities to young students but it can also create barriers in other aspects of this learning/developmental phase. Toddlers between the ages of two and five often learn the most from interaction during this stage of life and while online learning here requires them to interact with a screen, it can also limit the interaction with adults and other children, resulting in social ineptitude. Experts suggest balancing the amount of time a child at this age learns from online education and from peers as well as adults.
· Student Profile 2: High School Student
Most high school students are always on the go, barely having time for homework between actual classes, after school extra circular activities, enjoying time with friends and spending time with family. Student athletes at this age often have difficulties if they’ve missed a class for an away game which makes online learning through lesson repurposing an ideal way for them to catch up on missed classes. Other students may wish to take a language class offered at another school but have no transpiration. This is easily negated through online learning where students can converge in a classroom and learn through video streaming, online programs and more. One set back however may be that certain students learn better through face-to-face interaction, which is why online learning for students at the high school level is recommended to include video streaming or video taught lessons.
· Student Profile 3: University Master’s Degree Student
The need to balance education with family, career and finances can be very stressful for traditional university attendee but online coursework allows master’s degree students to balance all of these things in a productive and educational way. Online education provides flexibility in scheduling, cost-effective solutions (through less travel as well as materials needed) and an atmosphere of peers to assist one another. All of these things make online education a wonderful choice for university students in ways that may have not been applicable to the earlier levels of education.
Online Education for Your Students
Online learning has permeated almost every level of education and this shift from traditional learning to an online format offers several benefits to students of all ages. But as educators it is important to understand that online learning may not work well for all students and it is most beneficial for older students who have surpassed the early developmental stages of their growth. High school and college students stand to gain the most from online learning while younger students may do better to balance online learning with traditional methods for the best educational experience. Have you had any experience with online learning yourself or with your students? Do you agree that younger students should have a balance or do you have a different opinion? Tell us about it in the comments!
About the Author
Karen works as the Online Ambassador for Liberty University Online. During the evening hours her interests lie in freelance writing, the occasional road trip for a Krystal slider, and finding opportunities to better her vegetable and fruit garden.