Published: May 13, 2021
In Ontario, it has been over a year since students started pursuing their education online. But now that more and more people in Canada are being vaccinated and schools at all levels and in all provinces and territories are preparing a return to in-person classes in the fall, it may appear as though the days of online learning are ending.
The more likely result, however, is a hybrid approach that a hybrid approach is the way of the near future. However much parents and students alike might be dreaming of having things go back to normal, online learning might be here to stay in Canada.
In Manitoba, for instance, the government is actively working to enable universities and colleges to develop more sophisticated and engaging remote-learning models with the intent of improving the quality of online learning now and in years to come.
Manitoba recently made public its better education starts today (BEST) document, as well as the contents of the Education Modernization Act, and the K-12 review. BEST is a list of provincial takeaways from the past year, and it looks favourably upon online learning. According to the document, “Expanding access and capacity for high-quality remote learning improves our resilience moving out of the pandemic and provides greater flexibility.”
The hurdles of online learning will be tough, though not impossible, to overcome, and our professional online tutors can help.
The Bumpy Acceleration of Online Learning
This past school year has seen more drop-outs and lower student engagement and performance rates. Not only that, but stress, anxiety, and rates of depression have increased among students and teachers alike. These statistics have much to do, of course, with the pandemic — mental well-being has been hard hit throughout the country — but online-learning on its own is also partly to blame.
If online learning is here to stay, government and school boards will need to devise proactive ways of improving the quality of remote education, and parents need to search out online tutoring tips that can help kids keep learning under remote conditions. Doing so may mean drawing from best practices and solutions outside of Canada.
A case can be made that online learning is an inevitable step in education, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has simply accelerated the move toward online learning models. Student demand for remote learning has greatly increased over the past school year, and a hybrid online and in person learning model will, ideally, combine the benefits of in person learning with the benefits of online learning.
Professional online tutoring in Toronto and other Canadian cities has been one example of this, helping students get the extra help they need from the safety of their own homes.
Can Online and In-Person Education Be Complementary?
The benefits of in person learning are well documented. An in-class environment is far less distracting than an at home learning environment, where students are often free to do what they please.
In-person learning also makes it easier to develop close relationships with teachers. Students can better learn from the body language of a teacher when they share a classroom together. Students in class have easier access to school materials.
Students also benefit socially by interacting with other students in class, doing group projects, and spending time with students at recess and in hallways or the cafeteria. Indeed, the social benefits of in person learning are not to be underestimated.
This may be why students who complete their course in classroom settings do so at a much higher rate than students who learn remotely, and some students feel more comfortable and accustomed to learning in a classroom than elsewhere.
Credit: Katerina Holmes Via Pexels
But there are also many benefits to online learning, especially when supplemented by tutoring in Hamilton or Toronto that gives kids one-on-one learning time with an educator.
With online learning, students who live far away from campus don’t have to spend hours commuting to and from school grounds five days a week. Students with disabilities can sidestep the difficulties inherent to navigating campus facilities, many of which do not adequately meet their needs.
Sick students who by showing up to class risk making other students sick can participate in class (if they’re not too sick) from home. Mature students with jobs or families have an easier time fitting online learning into their busy schedules.
Online learning may benefit students at the post-secondary and post-graduate levels most. One recent study has shown that MBA students benefit from online learning in a variety of ways.
According to a case study in which more than 100 students enrolled in prestigious online MBA programs were asked to share their perceptions and thoughts on the pros and cons of online learning, a commonly shared sentiment among the students was that they highly valued the experience of virtual teaming because it prepares them for today’s global business environment.
Online Learning: A Parent’s Perspective
It’s not only students who recognize the benefits of remote learning, however: parents also see value in online learning — a fact that may come as a surprise for parents who are burned out after a year of Zoom school.
The difficulties of parenting students who learn remotely are well documented. It has been remarkably difficult for parents to provide educational support to their children while working full or part time jobs. However, parenting students who learn remotely does have some benefits.
With online learning, parents have more time to spend with their children; family time has increased. Not only that, but parents — especially parents who help their children build structure and routine — enjoy the pleasure of watching their children develop more confidence in their ability to work alone.
Parents of adolescents enjoy watching how their children’s increased confidence in their learning abilities has in turn helped them discover themselves. More flexibility in their children’s schooling has helped parents better understand how their child’s unique learning styles interact with the curriculum.
Perhaps the hybrid in-person and online learning model of the future will benefit education in ways that were unimaginable before the onset of the COVD-19 pandemic. It is likely, however, that some adjustment will be needed, and tutoring can play a significant role in this process.
If you want to find out more about how tutoring services can help manage the transitions between online and offline learning, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today.