The ease to facilitate instruction across the internet creates opportunities for students of all ages to enroll in remote coursework and, in many cases, to receive a legitimate degree from an accredited, fully online academic institution. Ultimately, it is of great convenience to the public for schools to have such diverse forms of operating whether online or through traditional in-person centers. In recent years, we’ve seen how e-learning (or learning that is electronically-enabled ⁴) provides an important safety net for students when school shutdowns are an absolute necessity.
Online schools can be compared to traditional schools where in the latter the majority of learning occurs at a physical site with in-person students and instructors. Students enrolled in traditional schools may have access to supplementary digital learning mediums at home such as virtual tutors and online textbooks. When it comes to full-time online students, digital tools are a distinct requirement. Online students need as many virtual resources as possible to maximize the at-home learning experience because their primary educational environment is not a facility with libraries, staff offices, and lockers filled with notebooks. Their academic journeys take a more independent route that benefits from portable laptops, adaptable course pacing, and flexibility with busy family schedules.
The pandemic added new challenges for how to effectively implement and sustain distanced learning strategies. In the year preceding the start of the pandemic (2018-19), about 375,000 students in K-12 were enrolled in full-time online schools.¹ The highest proportion of online courses pre-pandemic were more likely to be concentrated in small, rural school districts where course offerings were limited by comparison to larger more urbanized districts.² During the Spring of 2020, 77 percent of all American public schools and 73 percent of private schools reported moving some or all classes to online distance learning.⁴
Shifting to remote education was certainly jarring for families and institutions alike who were tasked with supporting students through the changes. Traditional schools working hard to fit into the virtual arena have numerous models to examine for strategic direction since 35 states offer free, online public school and all 50 states have private online school options.² Delivering a quality online education means analyzing what the positives of this format are even outside the context of the pandemic.
Online schools generally tend to cater to students who: progress at a different grade level than their peers, have experienced bullying in traditional school, are otherwise medically compromised, are student parents, and/or are in highly mobile families looking for flexible scheduling.¹ ² Research demonstrates that prior to the pandemic, online K-12 schools were underperforming compared to in-person schools.¹ ³ Although this was the case, virtual school enrollment had still been steadily increasing for years and COVID-19 only accelerated the continuation of this online schooling trend.¹ ³ Enrollment data for the year 2019-20 captured that in some states, grades K–5 saw a 112 percent spike in online enrollment even though participation in online elementary school had been less common in years before.³ What all of this indicates is that families are more interested and willing to consider how e-learning can help students succeed in school from staying at home.
Benefits of E-Learning
With a keen understanding of the benefits of an e-learning space, Tutor Zone strives to keep kids engaged across the computer in ways that genuinely help them excel in their academics. A quality online learning experience that matches the energy and care of in-person instruction is our top priority. Our company offers flexible scheduling options (Monday through Saturday from 9am to 9pm) which ensures that there are plenty of after-school and weekend opportunities for students in any grade level to meet with a skilled virtual tutor. We require no contract so that parents can personally plan with their kids how long they’ll participate in tutoring. Tutor Zone sessions are 1-hour long and, to make the process as smooth as possible for families, we work alongside the school curriculum to enhance the relevance of the material.⁶
Instructors send reminders for the one-on-one appointments via email where they will include links to the video meeting. The meeting links originate from the best free online platforms–most notably Google Meet, Zoom, or Google Hangouts–and are easily accessible on any device with an internet connection. The student also has the option of replying to their tutor’s appointment reminder with homework files, pictures/screenshot attachments of their study material, or class notes in the event that the student wants to bring extra focus to certain challenging topics in advance of the lesson. The content of the sessions is highly personalized to adapt to the student’s daily learning needs; tutors can help students complete their homework, study for exams, and gain mastery in any subject area. The individualized lessons feature the use of different web tools such as online whiteboards, powerpoint presentations, video lessons etc. Tutor Zone instructors implement an approach that encourages students to truly grasp the concepts and not just memorize information. In all, our company has determined that when learning online is fun and productive, it provides an excellent avenue for all pre-K through 12th grade students who want to boost their academic performance, whether they are enrolled in regular in-person instruction or attend a virtual school.⁶
By: Daisy Ocampo