As we venture further into 2023, many parents and education experts throughout Arizona are asking the question: will distance learning still be relevant in 2023?
As much as the world has changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it is safe to say that distance learning has become a part of our educational landscape, and students around throughout the state and across the nation are reaping the benefits of having more options.
After an initial period of adjustment for both teachers and students, online learning has become increasingly commonplace and is likely to continue in one form or another for the foreseeable future.
Real World Benefits
The benefits of distance learning are many: it allows students to learn at their own pace, access educational materials from anywhere in the world, and take courses that may not be available in their local area. This effectively levels the playing field for students who may struggle with learning in traditional classrooms, and also creates a wider array of choices for students who may live in rural areas.
“Online schooling meets the needs of students who could be confined by traditional schooling for many reasons. Some students that we meet the needs of with online schooling may be training in sports during the day, attending medical appointments, having social or emotional needs that are not being met at brick and mortar schools, or are perhaps simply not being challenged enough in the classroom. Regardless of the reason why, students and families turn to online education because of quality educators and programs that are changing the path to meet the needs of all students,” explains Katie Small, who holds a Masters Degree in Education and serves as the Director of K-8 Remote Program at Calibre Academy, a public charter school in Arizona.
Remote learners can also connect with other students around the world, allowing for a much more diverse educational experience than is possible in traditional classrooms, where students are often interacting with people of similar socioeconomic status and background.
Finally, online courses tend to be more affordable than traditional classroom-based private schools or independent learning classes, making them an attractive option for those who want to expand their student’s horizons on a budget. In fact, virtual public charter schools are typically tuition-free, just like public schools.
Expanding Use of Distance Learning
It is clear that distance learning will continue to be relevant in 2023 and beyond, but in what ways can we expect it to change and evolve? As technological advances make online courses even more accessible, the potential for further expansion into other areas of education – such as vocational training, continuing education, and corporate training – will likely be explored.
Essentially, online learning is likely to become even more accessible over the coming few years. Despite the challenges of 2020, distance learning has proven to be an invaluable tool in educators’ arsenal. Many schools now also offer K-8 virtual courses for children, showing just how far distance learning has come since its inception.
Proper Delivery is Key to Success
When it comes to online learning, there’s still a wide range of disparities between the quality of virtual programs; the importance of a well-constructed virtual program cannot be understated. There’s a world of difference between self-paced classes and well-instructed online classes.
For online learning to be effective, it is essential that classes be delivered and structured in a way that allows for maximum engagement with the material. That means courses need to include interactive elements like videos, quizzes, and discussion boards – all of which can make the learning process more enjoyable and manageable. Schools offering online courses should make it a point to integrate the best of the online learning experience in their courses with irreplaceable passionate instructors.