The traditional classrooms have given way to virtual ones. In this digital age, we tell you how your children can benefit from online classes and how you can go about them.
By Leena Ghosh
The Internet has drastically changed the way we learn. Whether it’s students looking for extra guidance or adults enquiring about different courses, all types of information is now available at the click of a button. One important development in the digital age is the availability of courses and tuition online.
So, what exactly is online education? The study titled, ‘Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States’, by Elaine I Allen and Jeff Seaman published in 2013 on eric.ed.gov defines what online courses entail. The study states, ‘Online courses are those in which at least 80 per cent of the course content is delivered online. Face-to-face instruction includes courses in which zero to 29 per cent of the content is delivered online. The remaining alternative, blended (sometimes called hybrid) instruction has between 30 and 80 per cent of the course content delivered online’.
The report further states that the learning outcomes in online education have significantly increased over a decade. It states, ‘In 2003, 57.2 per cent of academic leaders rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face. That number is now 77.0 per cent. Academic leaders at institutions with online offerings have a much more favourable opinion of the relative learning outcomes for online courses than do those at institutions with no online offerings’.
According to an article published on study.com, ‘Online tutors provide individual or group instruction in a virtual learning environment (VLE). They communicate with students verbally and visually in a secure and controlled fashion’. The primary role of an online tutor is to assess the student’s skills in a particular subject and enhance them through verbal and visual instructions and tests. He can also help students looking to specialise in a subject or preparing for a competitive test. The tutor possesses specialised knowledge in his field and may use one or more of the following tools to teach:
So now that you know what an online class entails, here are some ways online tutoring benefits your child:
Is cost-effective: Private tuition can be expensive and not every parent can afford it. Online tuition helps your child get quality education at affordable prices. For a simple fee, he gets personalised attention from tutors to help resolve complex problems.
Saves time: Going to a tuition centre involves dealing with various logistics like arranging for safe transport and ensuring that your child is in the right company. If you have hired a private tutor, you have to take into account his travelling time and availability. With online tutoring you do away with these hassles and save time on your child’s commute. She can access lessons easily on the laptop, desktop or your smartphone from the comfort of her home.
Offers more variety: Many a time, children are not comfortable with a particular teacher’s method of teaching. While they can’t do much about it in a traditional class, in online tutoring they have the option of reaching out to other experts based on reviews and select someone they feel they will benefit from the most.
Ensures a personalised approach: An online tutor has many technological tools at his disposal to ensure that your child gets the best coaching possible. From live video sessions, instant texts and whiteboards to shared files and graphing tools, the tutor can use a few or all of them to explain a subject. Each child learns at her own pace and has a preferred learning style. The tutor can use these tools based on the child’s preferences to make the subject and the learning process interesting.
Provides quality education: One major concern for parents regarding online tutoring is whether their child will get quality education as they are unsure about the tutors’ qualifications. Most online tutoring websites recruit experts based on their experience and qualification. To help the parent decide the right tutor for their child, these websites also have a rating and a review system. As opposed to being taught in a classroom, during an online session your child gets personalised attention from the experts who help enhance his problem-solving skills and explain the basics. This ensures that he gets quality education.
Has a convenient tracking system: The only way to know whether a child is benefiting from tuition is to track her academic progress. In online tutoring, a student is periodically assessed through tests given by the experts. Her progress is monitored, and the reports are sent to parents on a weekly or monthly basis. This helps parents know whether their child is on track and progressing in the right manner.
Is available 24/7: One of the best features of online tutoring is that there is help available for your child around the clock. Children often come up with doubts while studying or preparing for tests. Through online coaching, they can get their doubts cleared promptly, without having to wait for the next day to ask for their teacher’s help.
While there are many benefits of online tutoring, it’s essential you ask yourself a few questions before enrolling your child for a session. Some of the questions are as follows:
Will my child be able to benefit directly from message boards and watching online videos without enlisting expert help?
Sometimes, your child only needs to invest more time in research (which is free) and may not need online tuition. Find out if she is capable of finding solutions on her own.
Do I have the appropriate technology?
Depending on the course your child is opting for, you need to know if you have sufficient technological support to ensure he benefits from his lessons. You might need to upgrade your RAM and make sure you have high speed Internet. Your computer will also need a microphone, a camera and the latest version of the preferred web browser.
Am I satisfied with the credentials of the tutors?
One of the negatives of the growing power of the Internet is that many tend to misuse it for personal gain. Ask the online tutoring agencies to provide you with proof of education and experience of the tutors before you decide to go ahead with an online course.
What is my child’s preferred mode of instruction?
Even in the online world, your child may have preferences about the tools used for learning. Some prefer message boards and chats to live sessions, while others rely more on video calls. Find out what she prefers and help her find a tutor who’ll work on the chosen method.
Help your child learn with the help of technology and gain an edge over her peers through expert instruction.
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