Bachelor of Arts

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Best Practices for Online Learning in Secondary Education

One of the best ways to ensure that you get into the college of your choice is to enroll in a college preparatory course while still in high school. While this does eat into your free time and increases your study burden, it does make it easier to get into a good college and the degree that you aim for. Most college prep courses allow you to study online so you can take advantage of flexible timings and schedules. And best of all, you can earn nearly a whole semester’s worth of college credits through advanced placement courses and dual credit courses. However, in order to gain the most out of these online courses, best practices have to be enforced in the teaching and learning spheres.

On the instructional side, the following practices have to be implemented and carried out if online learning in secondary education is to be beneficial:

  • Flexible models: The success of online education at any level depends on how flexible not just schedules and timings, but learning models are. Most people choose to study online because they wish to choose the model and schedule that suits their circumstances, needs and lifestyles. The more the flexibility, the greater the success of online learning.
  • Focus on soft skills and informal learning: College is not just about grades and learning; it must prepare you for the real world by teaching you soft skills and other practical aspects that are needed to survive in the real world. Preparatory courses that focus on these skills help students ace the interviews held during the admission process and also prepare them for professional careers.
  • Building relationships and learning to interact with online communities: Online courses should be structured in a way that allows learners to form communities and interact with each other. The absence of face-to-face learning and interaction hinders some students’ progress, so it’s important that they learn to form relationships that allow them to sustain and progress in their online venture.

From the learners’ side, online learning is beneficial only if there is:

  • Commitment: The downside of flexibility is that those who are not committed tend to go astray. They are unable to concentrate when there are no fixed schedules and when there is no direct supervision. So in order to gain the most out of online courses, there must be commitment on the part of the learner.
  • Consistency: It’s not easy to sustain dedication to learning on a long term basis when you don’t have regular schedules and timings and when self motivation is your only asset. So unless learners are able to motivate themselves and continue to extract the most out of their online courses, online education does not serve its purpose.
  • Responsibility (the ability to learn independently): And finally, online learning works only when students accept responsibility for their performance and are able to function and learn independently, without teachers to push them and parents to cater to their needs. Online preparatory courses help students prepare for an independent college life where they’re able to function without supervision and without the fear of repercussions.