With an air of uncertainty hanging over the current school year, this three-step process will help teachers and students achieve success in the online learning environment

Three critical steps to online learning success

With an air of uncertainty hanging over the current school year, this three-step process will help teachers and students achieve success in the online learning environment

COVID-19 has shown us that online learning is beneficial in many ways. We know schools face many difficult decisions that may change throughout the semester and school year. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air as teachers and administrators adjust to this “new normal” and strive to maintain nurturing, engaging learning environments.

Nonprofit online provider VHS Learning has developed a three-step plan that allows teachers to seamlessly deliver curriculum under any circumstances. With the curriculum and structure in place, teachers can carry over the same organizational processes week-by-week, no matter how many pivots and changes are made as the year progresses.

Related content: A data-driven look at COVID learning loss

Here are three steps that schools can use to ensure a high degree of online learning success:

1. Find the right online learning platform. Don’t just settle for what’s put in front of you. With our online provider, schools and students in middle and high school can choose from over 220 unique courses that include core & elective requirements, make-up credits, and 24 Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses.

Look for a provider that offers both college and career readiness pathways for students through innovative STEM programs and provides unique core course options and engaging electives. Make sure the available curriculum is constantly being curated and data driven, and that it allows for flexible options for credit recovery (which may be more important than ever this school year).

2. Design your course structure. Just like in your brick and mortar classroom, there are different ways that teachers can organize existing online content. As a former classroom teacher, I can tell you there were some moments when I’d become very stressed out late at night thinking I hadn’t quite figured out how best to present content to my class. Using an established online program, teachers won’t have to write any lesson plans, create curriculum, or figure out how to modify curriculum to be presented online, overnight. Look for an online learning provider whose courses kick off with community building, so students can get to know their teachers and one other. This is an important consideration right now when we can’t be face-to-face. It helps build community, encourages collaboration, and helps improve knowledge retention in any educational setting.

3. Train your teachers. Your online learning platform must include training for teachers, who need to know how to effectively teach courses online to their students. This training should be quick and easy, and it should cover how to use the platform’s learning management system, how to build community online, and how a teacher can incorporate his or her personality into the online, offline, and hybrid classroom. In fact, I’ve heard from many students who believe that they actually got to know their teachers better while learning online (versus in the physical classroom setting) thanks to the flow of open communication with their teacher.

Change is constant

By picking the right platform that offers a solid course structure and good teacher support, schools can improve their chances of running a successful online learning program that not only “fills in” where classroom learning leaves off, but also supports effective, engaging learning in any environment. Regardless of how that environment changes over the next 6-12 months, districts can rest easy knowing that the quality of their curriculum has been vetted and is going to remain constant, and they’ll be able to pivot through anything that comes their way.

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