Virtual education is synonymous with distant learning, courses you take online in pursuit of your academic goals. Colleges and universities have been offering online instruction for decades with entire universities based on this style of learning. Virtual schools, catering to elementary and secondary school students are also on the rise, offering a connection for students that learn mostly at home with instructors that might be located across state, across the country or even abroad.
At any level of education from kindergarten through college, virtual education can give students an expanded curriculum and the tools to acquire and apply knowledge successfully. Let’s take a look at how you can handle distant education from a virtual learning standpoint.
Your quest to learn virtually must begin with a desire to learn in a nontraditional environment. Some students thrive in a face-to-face setting while others are more comfortable working in small groups or even one-to-one.
Any student or parent considering the educational needs of their child must gauge both the student’s ability to learn virtually and his or her desire to participate in a special learning environment. Unlike traditional online classes where students learn at their own pace, virtual learning may bring teachers and students together online at an appointed time just as they would in a classroom.
Students that want to learn online must have the right tools in place to successfully take classes. Those tools include a computer with Internet access for without either one, virtual learning is not possible.
Besides having access to the right equipment, students must understand how to use it. For younger students, a tablet device may be sufficient. For older students a computer station with a keyboard or a laptop computer may be required.
To succeed at virtual learning requires a level of commitment. That commitment is not too different from attending a fixed-base school as students must adhere to a certain rigor to accomplish their goals.
With virtual learning, students will have some level of interaction with instructors and their peers. That can include prescribed sign on times as well as assignment deadlines and test taking. Learning parameters are established by the virtual institution, with students and families expected to adhere to those principles.
Success at virtual learning is measured in much the same way it is in other schools. Students will work on assignments, complete projects, take quizzes and complete tests. Learning tools will be readily available with measurable outcomes in place to monitor achievement.
Virtual schools can also provide a number of student services including online library access, instructional materials, guided study, peer counseling, parent-teacher meetings and tutoring. Timely intervention, remedial instruction and parental involvement are among the keys to academic achievement.
Succeeding at virtual learning means meeting the prescribed outcomes as outlined before the school year begins. Although the location of where students learn is different, what students learn in a virtual environment will parallel traditional schools. Students that keep up with weekly assignments, their personal reading and accomplish their activities will see a positive outcome and will be ready to take their virtual learning up to the next level.
Harrison Ross is an avid blogger and contributor to eAchieve.com, a leading virtual online charter school in Wisconsin.