What Are The Types Of Online Learning

The Internet offers students countless options and experiences on the subjects they study. Here are some of the most popular and best courses.

According to The Learning Channel, “What Do You Know? teaching in schools…is a pretty big deal”, and in a somewhat controversial interview with Denzel Washington, Oprah (of course!) said she “never heard of any kind of internet education” until Oprah embarked on her own 12-week independent study.

So according to our “experts” and Oprah’s “experts”, there are really only two types of “online learning”—preschool education and regular schooling (she did actually use the term “learning about education” though).

Primarily online instruction falls into one of two categories: classroom-based classes (preschool, college classes and so on) or test preparation classes (children in Kindergarten, high school).

With the help of the Learning Channel, I went through and categorized the different options available—and I don’t know how you actually even define “online”—and found out that the United States has a 24/7 online charter school option that uses all sorts of web-based technology to educate children. No longer are we just using the internet to listen to music or keep in touch with family, we’re also using it to learn how to stay in control.

So what’s going on here? These are the kinds of online classes I participated in…

Online school for preschool education

Renaissance: Founded in New York City in 2006, Renaissance is a publicly funded charter school run by the network N.Y.C. Lab Schools (what exactly is the key “science, technology, engineering and math” element here?) The program aims to use web-based technology in what appears to be an interactive and hands-on classroom. Both parents and teachers keep in touch online, and the kids are encouraged to participate in online games (stadium seating made out of LEGOs, anybody?) in addition to the lessons being taught in class. The price tag for the preschool program? $100 a month, plus a $300 one-time enrollment fee.


In addition to playing online video games and running online science experiments, kids also learn from a teacher called Amy Jones. The screen has been tuned to a video called “Infrastructure and the Future of Transportation.” Parents are encouraged to keep tabs on their kids’ progress via Fiverr and Uber, and in December you can actually receive updates on your child’s progress via Fiverr or Platespiration, the online marketplace and communications platform.

The curriculum isn’t complicated or inaccessible—It’s practically interactive preschool, and you can watch the video about transportation in any setting. With so many pedagogical options available to teach an under-served population of kids, the skill of finding the right way to learn online will be important in the future for education.

Testing and “formal” teaching

Blue CoatLearn: The main part of the program is a one-on-one learning program for college students called Blue CoatLearn, taught by certified teachers. You can get your child through the program by filling out a survey, and once you’ve done this (at random, not for any reason), your kid will receive an email with a timeline of the series of tests he or she will take throughout the year. Everything is geared toward college students and parents—the pressure is on them, the in-class responsibility is real.


While the tests are conducted online, you still get the chance to sit in the classroom with your kids to watch, discuss and receive feedback.

In a press release, Executive Director Paul Tricoletto says of Blue CoatLearn, “Our goal is to help educators provide high-quality learning to their students without incurring much expense or time.” Sounds like a pretty good deal.

The total cost of the whole thing is $4,800 a year, which is pretty reasonable compared to what schools shell out.

Did I learn anything?

Along with the possibility of helping to start a debate about online schooling, I learned that my kid probably knows less than anyone I know (seriously, I see no reason why anyone has five years of college to fake it or hide behind the scenes).

When it comes to learning, the internet is probably good for shooting your mouth off—and for stupid reasons. No matter how many internet courses you take, your kid is probably going to learn something that will be important next year in school. After all, we should try to help her get her little brain not on fire.

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