While traditional brick-and-mortar schools are the more common experience, many students can benefit from virtual learning. Students can experience several unique advantages of online learning, from schedule flexibility and a controlled environment to the ability to follow their passions.
1. Improved Preparation for College and Beyond
The unique skills and personalized experience that online school offers students can help prepare them for various futures, from continued education at college or technical school to entering the workforce. Students across all levels of education can gain skills to prepare them for their futures:
- Elementary school: Younger students in elementary grades can use online school to learn several skills that will be essential to their futures. Online schools can help connect subject matter to possible careers, helping students see how many options each subject offers. Further, virtual classes can help young students develop skills like problem-solving and empathy.
- Middle school: In middle school, students can start to take more action toward their futures. School counselors work with students to develop career planning tracks and offer specific services, like preparing for interviews, building resumes, and drafting cover letters. School counselors can encourage students to pick courses based on their interests and possible future goals.
- High school: At the high school level, students can take specific courses to help set them on the right track to their desired careers or future. Students can elect to take advanced placement (AP) classes to earn college credit and jumpstart their progress toward their degrees. Online schools can also offer specific courses or pathways to align students with their specific interests and give them the necessary skills they’ll need for their futures.
While virtual school can help prepare students for the specific pathway they intend to take after graduation, it can also help give them the skills they’ll need when they enter the workforce. Even though many businesses are re-opening after moving completely virtual in 2020, companies saw several benefits to working remotely, like increased productivity.
Hybrid positions, which include weeks mixed with both remote and in-office days, are an increasingly popular employment option. Online schools can prepare students to enter these workspaces and understand the independence, motivation, and collaboration they will need to succeed.
2. Increased Diversity and Inclusion
Traditional, in-person school limits student populations to only people within a specific geographic area. Because virtual school allows students to engage with others online, they can meet people from communities outside their own. Students have the unique ability to interact with students without needing to share a physical space with them.
This type of schooling can increase opportunities for diversity in the classroom, introducing students to people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Diversity in the learning environment can help bring more unique approaches to problem-solving and class discussions, opening more opportunities for creativity. Further, by bringing students of different socio-economic statuses, religions, and ethnicities together, students can better develop empathy and acceptance toward others.
Online school also offers increased opportunities for inclusivity. Because virtual school allows students and teachers to individualize their learning experience, students and parents can ensure that students learn in a manner that best suits them and their needs. Online learning can offer features like closed captioning for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and audio descriptions and visual aids for students who are blind and visually impaired.
Many virtual schools offer specific electives and academic pathways to allow students to follow their interests. The pros of online learning can enable students to explore interests and pursue passions that traditional schools in their areas might not be able to accommodate because of lack of funding, space, or interest.
3. Reduced Barriers Between Education and Home Life
Online school allows students and families to have better control over their learning environment since they can learn from the comfort of their homes. Traditional brick-and-mortar schools offer several daily distractions, like noises from other students and people moving around the building, flickering lights, and moving objects. These distractions can impair the learning process for students, making it more challenging to engage in lessons.
When students switch to online schools, families create an environment that best meets the needs of their students and eliminates distractions. Students can create a place that is quiet and optimizes their learning. They can adjust the lighting, temperature, and seating to match their comfort.
Learning from home also helps reduce the stress of learning at school. Students might feel overwhelmed with material and various social aspects of traditional school. Further, some students might have a challenging time dealing with change each school year and even throughout the year.
Online school gives students more control over their environment to minimize changes and stressors and increase focus on learning. Further, decreased stress can help encourage students to try new things, like speaking in class or tackling complex topics. When education is full of challenges and opportunities, virtual schools can help minimize challenges and maximize opportunities for students.
4. Enhanced Technical Skills and Knowledge
Technical literacy is an essential skill in the workforce and higher education. Students need to understand how to use various technological devices and navigate largely virtual environments to prepare themselves for their futures. While technical literacy can teach those skills to them, it can also help improve communication and problem-solving. Further, the more literate they become, the more they can adapt to changing interfaces and evolving technology.
Online schools can help students learn how to adapt to changing technical expectations and standards with various platforms to navigate. Further, students can take the opportunity to learn how to use specific pieces of standard technology like laptops, monitors, and printers.
5. Reinforced Schedule Flexibility
What makes virtual learning unique is that students and families have the opportunity to customize and individualize their school schedules to fit their learning needs. Students can stream classes live or they can watch recordings at a later time. Students might have assigned coursework that they can complete whenever they have free time during the day.
This increased flexibility allows families and students to access quality education while catering to their needs and interests. Whether students need to pause coursework to go to a doctor’s appointment or follow their passions by partaking in the arts or even starting a business, virtual learning gives them the freedom they need over their education.
Make the Most of Your Online Learning Experience With CCA
With several unexpected educational benefits of online learning, virtual school is the preferred option for many students and families, offering increased opportunities for individualization, flexibility, and future success. Online schools provide students with the resources and learning environment to pursue their passions and carry out plans.
Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) offers personalized curricula for students, allowing them to explore interests and cater to their strengths for a more individualized approach to education that they might not receive in traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Teachers and school counselors work directly with students to guide them through coursework and prepare them for the future. We offer several clubs and other engagement opportunities for students to connect with their peers and their interests outside of learning.