Sunday, July 21

The effectiveness of online learning in international schools

April 2020 marked a drastic shift in learning for students across the world. Schools had to make an almost immediate shift to delivering education online, from home on a massive scale whilst making sure that their students were still meeting their goals. 

In what has been a steep learning curve, many schools have come to realise that what works in a physical classroom doesn’t always translate well in an online environment. But, when done well, online learning can in some ways be an effective learning tool when compared to a brick-and-mortar classroom and indeed, has some very tangible benefits.

Digital learning is set to continue in some shape or form, with global investment in EdTech more than doubling by the end of 2020 when compared with 2019 figures. However, almost 2 years later, what have we learned about online learning, its necessity and effectiveness? 

Gain more insight into how students work and learn best

Delivering classes in an online environment and tasking students with exercises to work through independently at a time or pace that suits them is a challenge. 

It does lend itself to exploring the different learning styles of students. Online content can be consumed in different ways: some students are visual learners; some students learn better through audio; some students thrive in the classroom, while others get distracted by large groups and are better as solo learners. All learn at different speeds, with varying needs for repetition and explanation.

Online teaching also allows teachers to broaden their teaching material, utilising more digital sources and media without the need to print out. This gives students tangible access to:  

  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Pdfs and presentations

By encouraging students to work through materials independently at a time and pace that suits them, and by using technology that generates insights about their learning, teachers can tailor lessons to the specific requirements of the students. They can then have additional time to work with individuals during one-to-one sessions to further mitigate any issues.

Students can fall through the cracks and feel isolated 

However, there are drawbacks to consider. Whilst students can benefit from the focus and pace of online or distance learning, they can also learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. Minimal physical interactions between students and teachers can result in a sense of isolation for the students, and students that struggle with the lesson material may not get the support they need, depending on the school’s efficiency at digital learning. 

In this situation, it is vital that the school plans for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. Whether this be online messages, emails and video conferencing, it needs to allow for face-to-face interaction to reduce the sense of isolation.

In a post-pandemic world, there may well be a more blended approach to education where situations call for a shift to online learning. Being able to be agile between the two will really set international schools apart. 

Consider online learning when choosing an international school

When choosing an international school for their children, parents will need to consider a school’s preparedness to deliver online learning effectively in ways that put the students needs first and foremost. Having the ability to solve problems, technical or otherwise, swiftly and efficiently is in the school’s best interest as well. 

Alice Smith School have always been an institution of innovation, and the past 2 years have only exemplified this. We work hard to ensure that each of our students receive the support and assistance they need throughout their schooling journey, online or in person from primary school to sixth form years. 

We are constantly adapting and learning how best to serve our students, their parents and the wider community that surrounds our school, digital or otherwise. This is what makes Alice Smith School a fantastic choice for your child’s future. Get in touch with our admissions team today to talk more about what we have to offer or come see for yourself on a campus tour.