What Is Combination Of Face-to-face Instructional Learning And Online Learning.

Face-to-face instruction is a proven solution to student success; online learning, though, has raised its fair share of qualms.

Science has already been pretty clear on which parts of the education system work well and which don’t. In fact, New Scientist’s analysis revealed that New York City, Washington D.C., and Seattle did a better job of getting students reading and math-wise than Atlanta, which found itself in the bottom third of the country for four years running. So, yeah, think online courses vs. in-person instruction: Science knows.

In short, when it comes to education, “online learning should be seen as a supplement, rather than a replacement for in-person courses,” said Jodi Parente, co-founder of Connecticut-based nonprofit American Bridge 21st Century. Parente, who is also an education policy expert, is attempting to turn that perspective on its head with a new video series that aims to educate Americans about how online learning actually works.

But how is it different from “traditional” schools or traditional learning? How does online learning differ from some of the higher education options on the market? We sat down with Parente, who is also co-author of Transforming Learning, to see what the different methods have to offer.

What Is A “Traditional” School and How Is Online Learning Different?

Basically, “traditional” schools are the schools we go to every single day. Parents want to send their kids to them because they offer organized academics, structured activities and the “socialization” that parents love about having kids that are in a school environment.

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So, what is a “virtual” school, and how is online learning different? Virtual schools are online schools that are using technology to engage kids and their parents on multiple levels. With virtual schools, kids do their classes online, but also enjoy the social component of a school-like environment. As an example, Extra!, an online charter school in Washington, D.C., is designed to help students connect with other students across the country, “as well as encourage them to experience other cultures, interests and passions,” said parent.

And while virtual schools offer school-like structured activities and academics, they also offer a “diverse, global curriculum” that goes beyond academics and encourages family engagement. With virtual schools, there’s more of a connection to learning — without all the confines and all the onerous demands that traditional public schools have.

Why Is Online Learning Right For Education?

When we turn to online learning, we often think of math or spelling or science skills. But it turns out that online learning is just as important for the history, literature and social science curriculum. While teachers always need to be sure to teach history as “informative and informational,” online learning is ideal because it makes it easier for teachers to illustrate how different elements of history come together and build onto each other. And when we learn about history, it doesn’t end when we turn the page; it goes on, online, forever.

So, if a world-class educator are still going to be spending their time teaching, and they’re still going to want to focus on teaching both stuff a kid should know as well as in-depth readings on a particular area of history, using online learning tools provides a more flexible (and less expensive) way to deliver those lessons. So, in that sense, online learning is just about being accessible; it’s not necessarily about which way it’s delivered.

Whether or not online learning is used in the classroom is pretty much a judgment call.

But thanks to Parente’s podcast series, education experts will have a better idea of how online learning can be utilized. For example, the very first episode — “Successful Online Learning: Where did it come from?” — looks at the history of online learning, and how it’s developed over the years.

“I’ve been amazed by the progressive nature of online learning, from the very beginning when it was a new thing and technology was not as advanced as it is today, to today’s technologies that serve as their templates,” said Parente.

Related: There Are 5 Key Skills On the Common Core State Standards That Every Child Should Be Developing, And Here’s How to Get Your Kids On Board

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.

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