Online learning is becoming more and more popular for students of all ages. Adults have been completing college and university degrees through e-learning for years. Today, high school students are likely to include some e-learning to earn their diplomas. Of course, for younger children, there are all kinds of online resources for helping kids to learn through games and puzzles.
E-learning for young children
The advantage of encouraging kids to play learning games on platforms like ABCMouse or Reading Eggs is that incorporating e-learning into their study habits will feel second-nature by the time they enter high school and university. These and similar platforms are ad-free and allow children to progress at their own rate while learning reading, social science, science and math in a fun and engaging way. Many platforms are suitable for children as young as two years old, so kids can start learning online right away. This could set them up for learning success as they move through their education from early learning to university.
High school and beyond
Last year, the Ontario Ministry of Education mandated that high school students must complete at least four online courses to earn their diploma. The province is presently negotiating with teachers about that requirement, but e-learning will inevitably make up some part of most students’ education in the near future. Online learning offers many benefits to students. They can learn at their own pace while they develop the online communication skills that are required for most professions today. Online courses encourage active learning, can enhance critical thinking skills, and they facilitate a collaborative learning environment. These are all skills that will be in high demand in the future workforce.
Strategies for successful online learning
While some students are naturally self-directed, for many, e-learning will require developing a special set of skills and study habits to be successful. Parents can help their children get the most out of their online coursework by encouraging them to follow these useful tips:
1. Create a schedule and a dedicated learning area. One of the main benefits of e-learning is that students can choose when and where to learn; however, an erratic schedule in a busy household may lead to rushing through lessons at the last minute and missing assignment due dates. Students need a dedicated, quiet space to work in with access to high-speed internet. Encourage students to create a weekly schedule and to stick with it so they don’t fall behind with coursework. Sticking to a schedule helps to avoid procrastination and ensures students can finish assignments on time and to ask questions if they’re having difficulty with a concept or project.
2. Encourage students to participate actively in online discussions. Participation is often a graded component of e-courses, and by engaging with peers on chat boards as much as possible, students have a richer learning experience. They can see how others are approaching ideas or problems and they can help one another understand materials. Students can also engage in deeper discussions about a particularly interesting area, while those who may be shy about speaking in a classroom also have the opportunity to share their ideas with their peers.
3. Eliminate distractions and plan for timed breaks. The downside to having high-speed internet at our fingertips is that it is all too tempting to check social media sites and other time-wasting websites. Online course time needs to be dedicated to course work. Parents can help students overcome the temptation to check their TikTok or Snapchat feeds, by setting up a schedule that includes regular timed breaks, which they can use as they please. There are also browser extensions like StayFocusd for Chrome that lets users block social sites for certain periods while they’re working.
By integrating good time management and study habits into their online learning experience, students can enjoy the enhanced benefits that e-learning offers. These skills will help them for life as they head to the less-structured world of university and their future careers.