Maximise Online Learning for your child

Maximise Online Learning for your child

There are many ways to maximise online learning for your child, such as preparing a designated, distraction free, study area, scheduling online classes so that they suit your child’s preferred study schedule and their energy levels, and ensuring that your child does follow up activities within an hour of any online class.

Learning online is when a student joins a live class hosted on a video based classroom. Usually the teacher will be able to show slides, pictures and video clips on the platform, additionally, the students and teachers will be able to see each other on screen. The Covid pandemic forced parents and students to quickly adapt to online learning, the pandemic calmed and students went back to school, however, many have chosen to continue to take a number of classes online. This is for various reasons such as travel convenience – the teacher and/or students do not need to travel to meet each other for a class. In this blog post, I discuss everything you need to know about online learning for your child.

Advantages and disadvantages of online learning

Taking classes online is different to classes in a traditional classroom or face to face learning. This doesn’t mean that it’s definitely better or worse. In fact, the subject of the class and the age and personality of the student can have a big impact. The main disadvantages of online learning are, increased screen time, the reduced social connection, and the increased difficulty of managing students if they misbehave. The main advantages of online learning are the convenience, being able to easily show images and video on screen, the ease of recording lessons for revision.

7 ways to help your child make the most of online learning

  1. Communicate clearly and openly with your child about their online classes.
  2. Some classes work better online than others.
  3. Online learning is more intense than face to face learning.
  4. What the ideal class length is per age group.
  5. Make sure to have a designated online learning space.
  6. Preparation is key to a successful online class
  7. Every child is affected differently by online learning.
  8. Follow up and revise an hour after class
Communicate clearly and openly with your child about their online classes.

Make sure that you discuss your plans for online classes at every stage. You should discuss the idea with them and if they feel online classes will add value to their learning. You should also discuss the different options and teachers available and the ideal schedule. Finally, once the classes are underway, continue to seek feedback from your child about how the classes are progressing. This kind of communication has 2 excellent benefits, firstly your child will feel part of the process and that they have some kind of control. Secondly, you will be able to understand progress and if there are any problems to sort out.

Some classes work better online than others

Classes with lots of speaking, such as languages are more suited to online learning. There is an advantage to the teacher of having all the students’ faces close together on the screen, this allows the teacher to closely see student’s reactions and whether they are paying attention.  Classes with more physical activities such as music, art and craft are less suited to online learning.

Online learning is more intense than face to face learning

I always make my online classes shorter than face to face classes. This is because a much larger proportion of the class is spent talking and therefore, I believe that children need to focus more in an online class, particularly if it is 1:1. The lack of travel time and ease with which a student and teacher can log on means that shorter classes can also be more efficient. For example for students 4 and under it may be more effective to do 2x 20 minute or 30 minute classes than 1 longer class.

What the ideal class length is per age group.

Age             Class Duration
Up to 4       30 mins
5 to 8          45 mins
8 and up    1 hour
12 and up  1 to 1.5 hours depending on the content

Make sure to have a designated online learning space

Ensure that your child has a comfortable and distraction free environment to take their online classes. Many people don’t have much space in their homes, in this case, still try to designate an area that your child can use when they are having lessons, ideally not near the kitchen or TV. Background noise can affect your child but also the teacher and other students in the class.

Preparation is key to a successful online class

It can be nerve wracking (and therefore energy sapping), to join a new class with unfamiliar faces, therefore it’s important that your child has an idea of the content and format of the class. It is also important for your child to know what they are expected to do in class, if they are passively watching the class or if they will be very involved and expected to talk a lot. Before each class ensure that your child has been to the toilet and

Every child is affected differently by online learning

Some children enjoy the relative anonymity of online classes. They prefer that they only have to show their face and that, usually there are less students. Some children also prefer the relatively increased intensity of online classes. Children may also enjoy the increased opportunities to speak and that the teacher can bring images onto the screen. When I’m teaching older students online, I will often ask them to research a word or topic and give me their ideas and interpretations. Unfortunately, some students do less well in online classes and prefer physical classes. The only way to really find out is to try and to monitor your child’s performance and their comments.

Follow up and revise an hour after class

The forgetting curve concept shows that knowledge learned decays quickly in the first 24 hours after learning and particularly in the first hour. Therefore help your child to revise content they learned in class approximately 1 hour after the class concludes. This will allow the ideas to become more ingrained in their memory. This will also allow your child to realise what they understood and what they didn’t. They may then need to relearn some concepts. This strategy will allow your child to retain a much higher amount of information.

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