What Is Online Education? A Complete Guide

Everything is going virtual these days. Especially in the post-pandemic era, things that have traditionally taken place offline and in-person are now finding a new life online.

Online education is becoming far more normal than ever before. While previously, online education was reserved for hybrid college and university environments, online learning is now available for students of all different ages.

But what is online education? And how can it be as effective as in-person education? 

Through modern distance learning practices, and engaging curriculums, your student, whether they are five years old or 25 years old, can receive a quality education that prepares them for their future.

Keep reading to discover why studying online should be a top consideration for your children.

Why Distance Learning is Growing in Popularity

The need for online education has been growing, particularly for those pursuing a college degree, for many years. For the most part, those wanting to achieve a four-year degree after high school would have to attend a full-time, in-person college.

Online education was usually reserved for those who didn’t have time to attend a full-time school, or who chose another path after high school. Getting online education degrees was now possible for those working full-time jobs, supporting their families, and following other passions.

Online college offers you to create a flexible school schedule, letting you build your learning time around your existing commitments, such as work and family. It allows those already in the workforce to get a degree and change their career path.

And it’s the only option that fits into their busy lives. Plus, it’s much more affordable than attending an in-person college.

But today, online education isn’t just for those wanting a college degree. More and more families are homeschooling their kids, using online courses to supplement their home-based curriculum. 

Other families spend more time traveling these days, as remote work has become more common. Online school lets children continue to have a normal schedule, with regular classes and topics, while on the go. This is often called road schooling.

So while it’s hard to shrug off the benefits of learning in person, online education is worth considering for your children. 

What is Online Education?

So what exactly is online education? It depends on what you sign up for. But ultimately, it can replace your need to attend an in-person school. It’s now available for K-12 students, high school students, colleges, and other supplementary education options. 

If you homeschool your kids, you can sign your children up for one or two classes, like math or history, so that you don’t have to teach those to your children. Or you can enroll them in a full-time online school.

There are different types of online learning environments to choose from. Synchronous learning is when a student is online at the same time as their instructor and classmates.

This type of online education offers a regular routine and schedule, similar to that of physical school programs. Classes are taught in real-time.

Asynchronous learning, on the other hand, utilizes pre-recorded lectures and content that students can consume at any point in time throughout the day or week. 

This type of learning allows for more student flexibility, but less interaction with others. It’s great for those that lack a consistent schedule, such as when traveling or living abroad. 

Choosing an Online School

The first step in choosing an online school for your child is to look for accredited school programs. Accreditation means that a particular organization has received the educational stamp of approval, either from the regional or national school boards. 

This essentially means that their education is real, valuable, and counts towards their learning progress. Accredited courses can be counted towards college admissions and can earn diplomas and degrees.

You can also find online programs that fit any type of budget. There are many affordable and even free schooling options, while some of the more well-known programs can cost a lot of money.

Also, make sure to look at the student success rate. If a school has a high rate of success and completion, there’s a good chance you or your children will also be able to complete the required curriculum.

Tips for Online Learning Success

Whether you are an adult student, taking college courses in your spare time, or you are a parent helping their elementary students succeed in online education, there are a few steps you can take to maximize online education.

For starters, build a routine. Students need a schedule in order to succeed. If you choose a real-time school, this will be built-in. But with flexible schooling options, where students can learn whenever, they need to create a schedule.

Do your best to set designated learning and homework times each day. It also helps to have designated school space at home, or wherever you are. This might mean a separate room with a desk, or a corner of the dining room if need be. Never let students lay down or sit near distractions like the television. 

The online school that you attend may use student management software to help provide you with the resources you need and to help them track the progress of all their students. Look into what features this software uses to see how it can benefit you and your child.

Maintaining Connections

One of the biggest downfalls of online education is the lack of connection and collaboration with educators and peers. While this might be less of a concern with adult students, who may still have friends and community at work or outside of the home, young learners need to have regular peer connections.

Do your best to make time and space for your children to interact with other children. This could be playing with the neighbors, signing up for sports or extra-curricular activities, or finding a homeschool group to join in your area. 

Online Education is the Future

So what is online education? It’s flexible, affordable, and customizable education that can fit your life, and the life of your children, in a way that traditional schooling can’t.

It offers education to those who might not be able to access it otherwise. And it’s growing in demand and reputation each year.

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