With about 2.3 million K-12 students enrolled in online schools, it should come as no surprise that this alternative style of learning is now being considered mainstream.
In fact, numerous states now require students to enroll in at least one online course before graduating from high school. Virginia, Idaho, Alabama, Florida, and Michigan are among the states seeing advantages of learning online. Many state officials say that it’s an essential step in preparing students for college or the workplace.
“The reality is, when a student leaves us, whether they’re going to a four-year college, a technical college, or going into the world of work, they’re going to have to do an online course,” Kathleen Airhart told Education Week when she was working for the Tennessee Department of Education. “This helps prepare the students.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 5.8 million college students were enrolled in online classes in 2014.
What you should know
As virtual learning has evolved, here are several things you need to know about this increasingly popular form of education, whether you enroll in high school or college.
An increasing number of younger students opt for online courses.
A recent report called”Online College Students,” conducted by Aslanian Market Research and the Learning House, revealed that online college is becoming a more popular option among those 25 and younger. In 2012, about 25 percent of undergraduate online students were under the age of 25. That number climbed to 34 percent by 2015.
Top concerns among online college students varied.
That same study revealed that online college students had various concerns, including their ability to be self-motivated (27 percent) and the price of online study (26 percent).
It’s critical to develop a connection with instructors.
Your teacher could be 20, 200 or 2,000 miles away from you. That’s the beauty of online instruction. If you want to take a course like Chinese or German, there’s a good chance your online school can provide you with that type of instruction by hiring a teacher with that expertise — no matter where in the nation they live. However, it’s important that you take the time to communicate with your instructor. Get comfortable with asking questions whether or not you’re talking to them face to face.