How Many Kids Use Online Learning Today

In the 20th century, child studies was relegated to the domain of the university. Online learning started in the 80s but took off with the rise of the internet.

On our way to the New England Institute of Technology’s online course bootcamp, where we’d learn financial advice for millennials, I couldn’t help but think about the body of work online learning is leaving us with. After all, with all the technological advances of the past few years, it seems online education could just be what the system needs. A study from Philadelphia’s Mastery Charter School Institute showed positive results from their online public school: For the second year in a row, Mastery’s students are among the top performing in the district, beating school achievement in mathematics and reading.

Online learning might be the fastest way to get a degree online, but the technology is just one of the things separating online learners from their counterparts who don’t face the same online challenges. There are a variety of things that give online students an edge—tools like video-chatting and Skype, and more casual, engaging formats like Socratic dialogues. But with the ever-growing issue of traumatic brain injury (TBI), online learning programs and platforms are also being developed specifically for the unique challenges that TBI specifically poses for students. The accessible training tools, like the comprehensive software Embodied, that are created for TBI students allow people to learn nearly anywhere, creating a great solution for people who are learning the best way to do it is online. To learn more about how online learning programs are being designed for TBI students, I spoke with Patrick Critelli, who helped to build online learning program JabberTalk’s first-of-its-kind TBI solution.

How Does Online Learning Make Students Learning More Accessible?

It’s important to remember that online learning is about creating an opportunity for folks who want to continue their education and improve their careers. It is not the same as a brick-and-mortar program, and online learning is a collaboration between online and classroom learners. People learn online, and sometimes by traditional methods—like sitting at a desk or watching a video. Online courses are a great way to participate in the learning process, because you can sit anywhere at your own pace. With these devices you have at your fingertips and online courses to choose from, people can access it when they need it most.

Online learning programs can open a bigger world to students who are serious about studying, and working with people they trust, instead of having to ask someone who is offsite or physically present on the spot for help. With Embodied, Embodied content is connected to people’s life experience and machine intelligence. Students can find a solution to the problems they are experiencing when they’re in bed or in the shower. Even better, Embodied’s content is not long articles; people can share a Socratic conversation directly with Embodied on Facebook. Embodied has become the platform of choice for the most amazing health and social change initiatives. People learn and grow and support the people who are helping them at home.

How Does Online Learning Affect The Brain?

One of the challenges with TBIs is the specific type of trauma. The rest of the brain is fine, but the connections involved in learning are damaged. We also need to keep in mind that people are learning in different ways to fit their different needs. Understanding how we can support those learning needs, whether they are able to participate in the classroom or not, is important. For instance, because some people learn best face-to-face, we can also support their learning online. The best online teaching method is largely different for every individual. A great way to start thinking about how we can improve the learning environment in all settings is to first make sure those who are learning in a virtual environment feel accepted, valued, and supported. We’re finding that this approach improves collaboration among learners and strengthens online learning.

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