Most research shows that as people enter their twenties, they open up online courses to learn new things. In the past, people studied online mostly for about a year in order to decide whether they wanted to remain online or go back to traditional academic settings.
How To Get Online Students To Take Responsibility For Learning
You’ve probably started a class because you fell in love with it. You’ve been wanting to learn something new ever since you read something about algebra. You’ve always been pretty good at looking at pictures of tropical beaches or the New York City skyline when you’re feeling down, so choosing a subject and getting started on it is easy. You can say to yourself, “This school is a fit for me, I’ll just start taking the classes.”
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But that won’t happen if you’re not taking the right action. Though the joy of learning isn’t going to be diminished, the benefit of your education will be. Because you’re getting more out of it, you’ll keep coming back.
It’s not up to you to instill in the people around you that learning is important. When a school or school district starts promoting learning as the default route to personal development, that’s when you’re going to see people taking on a lot of responsibility for learning.
Where does this leave you and your students? You’re on your own, of course. But here are a few steps to take:
Learn to Ask questions
When I was a sophomore in high school, a counselor in the school she went to made my first trip to the outside to join in a third-grade classroom. The counselor was in charge of reading specialist classes that went from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm that day. The math class I was in looked like it was going to finish around 3:30. If I wanted to continue my education the next morning, I had to take a field trip.
I hadn’t told my parents about this trip and didn’t tell my teacher, so there was this awkward disconnect between me and my public school. With the help of my friend and algebra teacher, I got my parents to send me out of the classroom. I figured that if I was going to attend something three hours away on a field trip, why not educate myself about what I was going to experience and what I would learn?
That day, we learned that something happens at 3:30 that I didn’t realize at the time. Those two hours were not an afterthought — they were critical in the understanding that this was going to be an educational experience.
While my parents were happy to see my attendance, they hadn’t expected it, and learning about that day and its significance only provided me with incentive to keep showing up at school.
Invest in Your Outdoors
In high school, what do you do when you only see the inside of a classroom building or a highway overpass? Usually, you come up with excuses. I once told myself, “Well, you can always find me at the beach.” When you’re at the beach, it can be nice to be inactive.
But actually doing good deeds outside your environment reinforces the values of action that can be carried into other parts of your life. And it does so by prompting your reactions: “Wow! I actually did something cool. I earned the privilege to be here.”
What you do on your way to taking that class opens the door for you to do other things outside of your school, and that also serves as a reminder to your children about the importance of outside experiences.
Travel is good for all of us, because it’s free. But how important are you to the school or the district? Do you get in your face and do something out of the ordinary because you want a higher profile or less scrutiny?
There’s the risk that out of the adventure you derive from taking an online class you’ll suddenly be confronted with issues that put a damper on the experience. For instance, can you avoid the content that may or may not hit too close to home? The more comfortable you are learning this way, the more comfortable you will be seeing yourself in a new environment.
No matter how good of a job you do in the classroom, people will try to make you uncomfortable when they know they can. Asking a number of hard questions will help to reinforce that this experience won’t be an afterthought, but a natural stepping stone to the next step.
Pam Iriart is a futurist who helps people envision the future in a variety of industries such as aviation, food, transportation, hospitality, and more. Follow her on Twitter or on her Business Leader Network page.