With the current education system in a period of uncertainty and change, many Americans are wondering what the future of school will look like. In-person instruction does not have a promising trajectory, as 60% of Americans say that a traditional education setting fails students. Furthermore, studies show that college freshmen remember less than half of the material that they learned during college-preparatory classes, and nearly 90% of high school students believe that most students cheat at some point in their academic career. More than 168 million students do not have access to sufficient in-person learning, thus triggering what has been dubbed “The Great School Migration”.
The Benefits of Online Schooling
Nearly 60% of students feel better about online schooling upon entering a post-pandemic society, while under 20% of teens actually prefer in-person instruction. Many families have chosen online education because it offers a flexible schedule, a safer environment for their children, more family involvement, and the ability to avoid bullying. Online school is also far more time effective than the traditional method of schooling, which is appealing to many as we enter an era with an emphasis on personal freedom and less of a strict schedule.
In addition, virtual school programs prepare students with skills that they will need beyond the classroom, such as active learning abilities, creativity, originality, and analytical thinking. According to Powershift’s Alvin Toffler, the most successful students will be those who can learn, unlearn, and relearn to overcome new challenges, all of which can be developed through new virtual schooling methods.
The focus of virtual learning as opposed to in-person instruction is unique in that it utilizes a project-based, student-led, gradeless curriculum. Learning styles of this nature are key to developing real world skills, as students engaged in hands-on learning are 1.5 times less likely to fail and on average their grades improved by 6% which is half of a letter grade. More specifically, active learning leads to better critical thinking and improved knowledge, while student-led curriculum leads to a higher graduation rate, increased motivation, greater persistence in university, and an improved student/teacher relationship.
Finally, evidence suggests that students can experience a deeper and more meaningful learning experience without the use of grades. Many students put in just enough work to earn a desired grade, or focus on the grade they will receive rather than the actual content that they are learning. An environment that focuses on constructive feedback and mentorship is believed to be more beneficial to students than any of the current traditional methods of instruction. In fact, students that receive mentorship during school exhibit higher college enrollment rates and educational aspirations, build healthier relationships with peers, teachers, and parents, and have an enhanced level of self-esteem and self-confidence.
Overall, online schooling has become more versatile, impactful, and meaningful to students across the country as opposed to the current traditional in-person classroom. The future of education is bright, and as new methods of schooling continue to grow and flourish, the possibilities for students’ potential is truly endless.