Online learning’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years amid reports of poor academic performance and concerns over lax regulation. While there is certainly some cause for concern, many of the problems center on for-profit providers who manage full-time virtual schools. The truth is that not all online learning experiences are of suspect quality.

When done well, online learning can be highly successful—opening the door to numerous learning opportunities that students otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to, while providing very rich and rigorous instruction. In fact, students who take online Advanced Placement courses from VHS Learning consistently outperform national passing rate averages on AP exams.

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What are the elements that lead to high-quality online learning? They’re the same components that define high-quality learning in general. Here are seven key characteristics to look for in an online program.

Qualified teachers

At the heart of any effective learning experience is the teacher and his or her relationship with students. This is true for both face-to-face and online instruction.

7 keys to effective online learning

Related Content:

eSchool News Online and Blended Learning Guide

The eSchool News Online and Blended Learning Guide is here! It features strategies to help K-12 administrators and educators adjust to the sudden shift to online learning in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It also features best practices, resources, and tips for top-notch online and blended learning practices. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!

About the Author:

Carol Ribeiro is the President and CEO of VHS Learning (formerly The Virtual High School), a nonprofit provider of supplemental online education for students in grades 6-12.


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