The landscape of education is rapidly evolving, and online schooling is at the forefront of this change in South Africa.
Understanding what contributes to a child's success in this mode of learning is crucial. This article explores the essential elements of online schooling and highlights what makes an exceptional online school stand out.
How online schooling differs from homeschooling in South Africa
The distinction between online schooling and homeschooling is often blurred, yet they are fundamentally different. Online schooling is a structured form of education where students engage in a curriculum delivered virtually by qualified educators.
Unlike homeschooling, which often involves parents or tutors creating and delivering the curriculum, online schooling offers a more systematic approach with accredited courses and professional educators.
What an online school in South Africa should provide
A well-rounded online school should incorporate several key features to ensure comprehensive education. These are some of the non-negotiable features that an online school should offer.
Interactive learning content
Online schools must offer interactive content that engages students and enhances their learning experience. This includes multimedia resources like videos, interactive simulations, and practical exercises. Such content makes abstract concepts more tangible and easier to understand.
Live lessons are essential for real-time interaction between teachers and students. They offer immediate feedback, encourage student participation, and facilitate a dynamic learning environment. These sessions help in keeping students engaged and motivated.
Marking of assessments
Regular assessments with prompt feedback are crucial in tracking a student's understanding and progress. They help in identifying areas where students excel and where they need additional support. Timely marking and constructive feedback guide students in their learning journey.
Access to teachers
Easy access to teachers outside of scheduled lessons is vital for additional support and guidance. This could be through email, chat platforms, or forums where students can ask questions and seek clarification. Such access ensures that students never feel isolated or lost in their educational journey.
Regular progression reports are crucial for monitoring a student’s academic journey. These reports provide insights into a student’s performance, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. They are valuable tools for parents to stay informed about their child's progress. Moreover, they help students self-reflect and set goals for their learning.
Accreditation from recognised educational authorities is a mark of quality and credibility. It ensures that the education provided meets specific standards and is comparable to traditional schooling. Accreditation gives parents and students confidence in the school’s educational offerings. It also plays a crucial role in the recognition of the student's education for future academic and career pursuits.
What to look for in an exceptional online school
While the above features form the backbone of a decent online school, exceptional institutions go a step further. They offer additional support and resources that can significantly enhance a student's educational journey.
Student success tracking
Exceptional online schools use advanced tools to monitor each student’s progress and performance. This tracking system helps in quickly identifying when a student is struggling and needs additional support.
If a student is identified to be struggling they should be assigned a student success consultant. These consultants will guide and support students by offering personalised advice, helping set goals, and providing strategies for academic success.
Direct chat features
Direct communication channels with teachers facilitate immediate assistance and clarification of doubts. This feature ensures continuous learning without barriers and fosters a more interactive and engaged learning environment.
Regular Q&A sessions provide students with the opportunity to clarify their doubts and deepen their understanding of the subjects. These sessions are tailored to be interactive and encourage engagement from students. These sessions can significantly improve a student’s academic performance.
A culture of positive reinforcement
Celebrating achievements and offering positive feedback is essential for building student confidence and motivation. A culture of positive reinforcement encourages students to strive for excellence and take pride in their accomplishments. It also helps in fostering a love for learning and perseverance in the face of challenges.
Community forums are vital for building a sense of belonging and connection among students. These platforms allow students to interact, share experiences, and support each other. Community forums also provide opportunities for collaborative learning.
Extra curricular courses
Offering courses like robotics, Python coding, and social and emotional learning adds significant value to a student's educational experience. These courses encourage the exploration of new interests and the development of practical skills.
Cultural events like virtual talent shows and online competitions enrich the learning experience beyond academic pursuits. They provide opportunities for students to showcase their talents, build confidence, and engage with their peers in a fun and creative setting.
When choosing between the multiple online schooling options available in South Africa, it’s important to take all of these points into consideration. While there are many fine options in South Africa, CambriLearn stands out from the rest. From a flood of positive reviews to the support offered, and the curricula taught, CambriLearn exemplifies an exceptional online school by incorporating all of the above-mentioned elements into its educational model.
The choice of an online school can significantly impact a child's learning experience and future opportunities. It’s therefore crucial for parents and students to carefully consider the offerings of an online school to ensure it aligns with their educational goals and personal needs.