Why online classes can help students learn amidst the Covid-19 pandemic

Jay Harris

On the 23rd March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced, in an unprecedented statement to the nation, that people should only leave their home when shopping for basic necessities, to exercise, to care for a vulnerable person, or to travel to work – but only if this cannot be done from home.

Almost six weeks into lockdown, the British public are becoming used to this new ‘normal’. However, without access to schools for a prolonged period of time, students’ academic progress could potentially be significantly impacted. It is therefore, essential that parents proactively explore ways to engage students with education amidst the pandemic, so that students can seamlessly transition back to a physical school environment, when schools reopen.

One key way that students can continue to learn without significant disruption to their education is through online classes. While schools remain closed, teachers will be as eager as ever to ensure students can continue to learn at a high standard, and will have all the online resources at their disposal to fully engage with the lesson content. Wey Education, a leading online education provider, supports students through their two established divisions – InterHigh, a fully interactive online school based on the national curriculum, and Academy21, a provision aimed at vulnerable learners who are unable attend a physical school due to behavioural, mental health or medical issues.

Online classes are flexible

A significant benefit of enrolling in online classes is the flexibility they can bring to students. InterHigh provides a learning on demand service geared towards Key Stage 4 students, enabling them to learn one, two or three subjects as part of the package. In addition, the service gives students the freedom to decide for themselves the length of their enrolment, which can be a week, a half term, a full term or an academic year. This service gives students the opportunity to plan study time around their classes and vice versa. Online education providers that utilise online classes often place their trust in students to tailor their own learning experience by providing them with a whole host of subjects.

Students can improve technical skills

Registering for online classes gives students the ability to develop new computer skills they may have not previously held, as they navigate through different online resources. At Academy21, students are set homework assignments after every lesson, which are completed online for a specific deadline. Each assigned piece of work makes use of a large variety of questions conveyed in different formats, so that no work is too similar to previously set assessments. By using the online system to complete tasks, students gain a greater grasp of how online schooling operates, while putting their knowledge learned in lessons to the test. This transferable skill will benefit students in their future career prospects, as they will become familiar with many aspects of computing.

Distractions are kept to a minimum

Learning in a physical classroom can be difficult. Studies have shown that studying in a loud environment can make it a lot more challenging to concentrate on work, particularly in a school setting filled with dozens of other students. The closure of schools and the increase in demand for online classes gives students an opportunity to focus on the lesson content taught by teachers by putting themselves in the right environment. For example, students can attend lessons from the quietest room at home and wear headphones to block out distractions.

By using a quiet environment to attend an online course that encourages class cooperation, students will not look to interfere with lessons and will only seek to enrich their learning.  At InterHigh, during online lessons, teachers regularly observe students’ interactions, promoting a safe environment for all students to contribute to online discussions in equal measures. The proactiveness of online teachers to make all students feel welcomed underlines the inclusive nature of online classes, helping to engage students and prevent distractions from taking place.

While we may be living in challenging times, students still have many opportunities to continue learning and become prepared for when normality resumes. Online classes, such as Wey Education’s InterHigh and Academy21, effectively support students throughout their online journey by giving them the flexibility to take control of their own learning, develop their transferable skills and challenge students to become more confident to contribute to class discussions in a distraction-free environment.

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