How does online learning support college and career readiness?
When you think about your experience as a college student, what stands out the most? For me, it was the independence of my learning. College began with me taking on the responsibility of gaining the knowledge I would need to build a future for myself. All at once, I had between two and four courses and was required to balance my coursework, knowing that each class had tests that would make or break my grade. This introduced me to ownership and taught me to “own” my education. Online learning is constructed to show students that the time you put into your course will reflect in the grade which you receive as a result of hard work, helping them learn about ownership. I believe this is a huge part of the preparation it takes to be ready for college and/or the workplace.
Online learning sets the stage for structure.
Within the online learning realm, courses are structured with lectures and activities to build upon ideas which have been sent to students prior to testing. Students then decide when to work on the lesson and when to take the test, forcing them to determine how to find the information they need, allowing them to retain knowledge on their own schedule, and teaching them time management skills. The beauty of learning with online curriculum in middle school and high school is that it offers students these valuable life skills at an early age. Skills such as these are imperative to reaching performance goals in any area of learning, from a college course to new hire training, thus supporting college and career readiness.
Help students explore new ways to learn.
College is the place where we are pushed to explore and learn the newest ways of experiencing information. Giving middle school and high school students the opportunity in the classroom now to learn via the Internet is a wonderful way to encourage them to broaden their search for knowledge in a given topic area.
Prepare students for a technology-based world.
Our world has become a hodgepodge of time spent in person and time spent online. By allowing our students to engage in learning online (early on) during their secondary educational careers, they are gaining valuable computer skills and are better able to decide if they want to pursue an online degree, which may be more affordable and flexible for their needs than a brick-and-mortar-based education. I see online curriculum as a preparatory method in primping students to become young adults who can solve problems on their own, manage their workload independently, and research facts needed to complete delegated tasks successfully. The skills gained with this type of learning model extend beyond the classroom and into real-world applications and college and career readiness. Therefore, online learning can be a ticket upward in the performance and success ladder for middle school and high school students who have generally been stuck at the bottom.