When comparing online class vs. traditional class, the difficulty level is often a factor both students and parents consider. Is online school harder than traditional school? There are certainly some differences between these two schooling options, but they may be more similar than you realize when it comes to difficulty. The right level of academic rigor is essential for challenging learners and helping them do their best, whether in the physical classroom or online.
5 Common Misconceptions About Online Classes
Are online classes hard? A helpful way to break down this topic is to look at five questions parents and students often have based on common misconceptions or concerns.
1. Are Online Classes More Work Than Traditional Classes?
The amount of work involved in a traditional or online class depends on a variety of factors. Generally, however, online classes involve a similar level of involvement and work as classes in a brick-and-mortar school. In both traditional and virtual classes, students engage in classroom sessions — either in-person or on their computer — and complete assignments.
At CCA, students spend at least 25-28 hours per week learning. That’s an average of at least five hours per day, which is shorter than the average 6.8 hour school day in the United States. Students may end up spending close to the same amount of time learning as they would spend in a brick-and-mortar school. Of course, the exact amount of time needed to complete work will depend on the learner.
Whether online or in-person, teachers plan the work level in their classes and assignments to challenge students without overextending them. That’s where online learning can often be an improvement compared to traditional classes, as it’s more conducive to personalized learning. Parents can help develop a customized plan that sets their children up for success, challenging them in the ways they need to grow without overwhelming them.
2. Is Time Management Harder in Online Classes?
Time management is an important skill all students should develop as they become more independent. This ability can help students succeed in college and in their personal and professional lives in the future.
One of cyber schooling’s most significant advantages is that it provides more flexibility for students and families. With this greater flexibility and freedom also comes a greater responsibility for students to effectively manage their time. However, caregivers can coach their children in scheduling their time, setting goals, and prioritizing their schedule to complete work on time. The older and more mature the student, the more they can take over their own scheduling. This way, they develop the valuable time management abilities they need for current and future success.
CCA’s learning management system, edio, also provides scheduling tools students can use to manage their time. This platform helps kids keep track of their schedules and organize their time on a daily and weekly basis.
3. Is It Tougher for Online Students to Get Support?
A fairly common misconception that some people have about online school is that it’s less personal and students may feel unsupported in their learning. At CCA, this misconception couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, our students may find it easier to get the support they need than they would in a crowded in-person classroom, where their time with their teacher is limited.
Online instructors are used to receiving messages from students and answering questions to help each student individually. Students can also take advantage of tutoring sessions if they need some extra assistance. We also emphasize the role of learning coaches in students’ lives. These coaches can be parents or other caregivers. Especially for younger children, their learning coach plays a crucial role in supporting their education.
4. Is It Harder for Online Learners to Make Friends and Socialize?
Another question some families have is whether it’ll be difficult for students to socialize with friends and classmates if they’re in cyber school. Forming relationships with classmates may look different for online students, but online students still have plenty of opportunities to connect.
For example, CCA students can take advantage of numerous socialization opportunities, such as participating in clubs, going on field trips, and taking part in hands-on activities throughout the school year. Whether in virtual or in-person gatherings, students can enjoy getting to know their peers and spending time together.
Additionally, students can use their flexible schedules to join local youth groups and volunteer for local organizations. These activities give students the opportunity to socialize, learn, and give back to their communities.
5. Is Technology Harder to Work With?
For some families, the technology involved in online learning may seem like a challenge of its own. Because students access school materials online, they must have a stable internet connection and an internet-enabled device, such as a laptop. CCA students receive laptops, along with other resources they need for their learning, from the school.
CCA also provides troubleshooting resources to help students and parents become familiar with the online learning platform and answer any questions that might come up along the way. Even if you don’t consider yourself technology-savvy, that shouldn’t deter you from considering cyber schooling for your child.
How to Make Online Classes Easier for Learners
Online learning has some significant advantages, and it can come with some challenges that may not be as pronounced in traditional schools. Consider these tips for success in online courses:
- Create a productive learning environment: If students try to learn in a place full of distractions, they’ll have a harder time with their online classes. It’s best to set up the computer in a well-organized, quiet part of the house with minimal distractions so students can be in “school mode” and give their full attention to learning.
- Stick to a daily routine: The flexibility that online schooling affords means you can create a routine that works for you and your child. Work with your child to find a rhythm for morning, afternoon, and evening that helps them enjoy a well-balanced and productive day.
- Take breaks periodically: Some students may prefer to “power through” to finish all their school in one time block. However, research shows that taking breaks has some valuable benefits for students — breaks can improve focus and productivity and reduce stress. Be sure to make breaks part of your daily schedule.
- Set goals and track accomplishments: Part of effective time management is positive goal-setting. Help students determine what they need to accomplish, breaking up larger tasks if needed. Creating a checklist can be a great way to help students stay motivated as they have a tangible way to track their accomplishments.
How CCA Makes Learning Online Engaging
Overall, the potential challenges inherent in online school are either mere misconceptions, are easily remedied, or are meant to help students grow in positive ways. Additionally, online classes offer some advantages traditional schooling simply can’t match.
Cyber charter schooling makes quality education accessible to all students. You can enjoy the flexibility of online learning and the personalization it offers to help your child feel fully supported in their education — and you can do it from your own home. Our teachers and administrators are committed to involving families and taking a student-centered approach to everything we do to bring the very best of online education to Pennsylvania students.
If you’re interested in becoming part of the CCA community, contact us today to learn more about whether online courses are the right choice for your child.