As we settle into another academic year filled with uncertainty due to the pandemic, educators are taking a deeper look into what can be learned from the tumult of the last two years. Schools around the world were forced to quickly pivot to virtual learning and many have just recently returned to a traditional, in-person model.
Many parents still want an online option, but critics of online learning have questioned whether students really progressed academically without in-person supervision. The question on everyone’s mind: “Do students learn when you don’t see it?”
The short answer is yes, and it becomes abundantly clear why–once we update our mindset around what education can and should look like, and how we measure its success. Online learning provides access to a wealth of data that educators can use to personalize learning for students. Once educators and districts understand the unique advantages of online teaching and learning, they can update their approach to take advantage of the best of both worlds.
Learning from learner behavior
New possibilities are unlocked in a virtual environment when we recognize the power of data. Today’s online learning platforms generate a lot of data that would be either impossible or too time-consuming to collect in person. Where traditional education models measure face time with students and pop quizzes, online teaching tools have evolved to allow educators to go deeper.
With the right tools and training, educators can more accurately and easily track homework completion rates, time logged into class or office hours, what percentage of an assignment a student has completed, and assessment scores. This comprehensive picture of student activity, effort, and outcomes helps teachers better understand where each student is and how they can tailor their efforts to help them progress to the next level.
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