In today’s world, online learning has become an increasingly popular option for students of all ages. It is predicted that, by 2025, CA online independent study enrollment will reach almost 200,000 students as families seek alternatives to a traditional brick and mortar education.
When the entire country shifted from the classroom to the kitchen and living room, teachers, students, and families had about 24 hours to completely rearrange their approach to teaching, learning, and pretty much everything else – with absolutely no training or expertise, all while dealing with the pandemic itself. It was a traumatic experience for many and soured the taste for online learning for those who had only seen it in its worst form. Though the pandemic did bring us grocery delivery, margaritas to go, and a global introduction to the wonders of Zoom, it also brought a version of virtual learning that did not resemble the real online educational experience in any form.
When teachers are trained and students and families are prepared, online learning provides flexibility, access and a diverse experience for students that cannot always be found in a brick and mortar setting.
Flexibility: Learning at Your Own Pace
One of the biggest advantages of online independent study learning is the flexibility it offers. Unlike traditional classroom learning, online learning allows students to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. This is particularly beneficial for students who have busy schedules due to elite athletics, jobs, or family travel, or who need to work at a slower or faster pace than their peers. With online learning, students can access educational resources whenever they want, wherever they are, making it easier for them to balance their studies with other commitments.
Access: Breaking Down Barriers to Education
Another important advantage of online independent study learning is the access it provides to students. This includes students who live in remote areas, students who have physical or emotional disabilities, or students who have other barriers to traditional classroom learning. According to the California Charter Schools Association, online learning can be particularly beneficial for students who are struggling academically, or who have been unsuccessful in traditional classroom settings. Online learning allows these students to receive individualized attention and support, which can help them to succeed academically and build confidence in their abilities.
Diverse Learning Needs and Experiences: Personalizing Education
Online independent study learning also allows for a more personalized educational experience, as students can choose the courses and resources that best meet their needs and interests. This is particularly important for students with diverse learning needs and experiences, such as English language learners or students with learning disabilities. Online learning can provide these students with tailored resources and support, which can help them to succeed academically and build confidence in their abilities. Unlike traditional homeschools, the online independent study model includes direct instruction from credentialed teachers trained in online learning.
EdHype Labs, as a charter management organization (CMO), supports online independent study plus models where students have the flexibility to work on their own schedule while also getting support and instruction from teachers without ever stepping foot on a school campus. Parents are learning coaches there to support their children, but the actual teaching is left to the professionals.
Online independent study options benefit both students who struggle and those who excel and need to move at a faster pace than their peers. The flexibility, access, and personalized approach of online independent study makes it a perfect fit for many students for many reasons.