Online distance learning provides the opportunity to be taught an educational curriculum by qualified teachers in a virtual classroom. Improvement in internet speeds and coverage, as well as the affordability of computers, has seen a huge increase in the popularity of distance learning around the world. This has ‘shrunk the world’, connecting everyone to one another, and reducing barriers to accessing information and communication worldwide. In 2017 it was estimated by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union that 3.5 billion people are online, with 2.5 billion people in developed countries, and 1 billion people in developing countries using the internet (ITU, 2016).
This technological shift has also been accompanied by a shift in attitudes towards education’s traditional mainstream schooling model. Different forms of education are gaining traction worldwide, demonstrating the demand for learning online. Not for profits such as Harvard and MIT’s ‘edX’, and ‘Coursera.org’, and the UK’s FutureLearn offer free online courses provided by educational institutions. In 2016 MOOCs had 58 million students, who were studying 6800 courses at over 700 universities (Shah, 2016). Coursera has 24 million users, 45% of whom are from developing countries (Cheney 2017).
These Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) can be accessed online by anyone, and aim to make education more accessible for everyone, regardless of their location, age, or income. They mean that there is a growing global community of people educating themselves outside of the university, and be taught by leading academics in the field to pursue their passions. These platforms have significant potential, though they can never deliver a full program of education like an online school can. In contrast, online schools continue to provide the traditional student-teacher interaction using an online classroom, where pupils interact in real time with teachers who know them.
How does an online school work?
Online schools use interactive distance learning, where students are taught in an online classroom, in real time. This closely replicates the in-class experience.
The sign-up process
Fees: Dependent on level of qualification taken and number of lessons
Eligibility: Any student is catered for, whatever age, ability, and educational needs
Requirements: Internet connection, quiet working space, headset, notebook, computer
Sign up: Online via the website
A typical day in an online school
The student logs into online classroom lesson promptly with a headset on. Experienced and qualified teachers present hour-long lessons to small groups of students following the English national curriculum guidelines. Students and teachers can speak to each other and draw on the virtual whiteboard. Students can also have discussions with each other in the small ‘breakout rooms’. KS3, iGCSE, and A Level are offered. Students can sit exams for these qualifications at centers all over the world. Students can study online from anywhere in the world.
Why would you choose online schooling as an international student
For international students, online schools present a significant opportunity to gain competitive British qualifications from accredited exam boards. They can take iGCSE and A-Level exams at examination centers all over the world. These well respected qualifications make students applying to international universities much more competitive candidates, as well as highlighting their abilities to future employers. Online schooling fees are much lower than those of international schools. Students can do lessons from the comfort of their own home, from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection.
Sir Ken Robinson argues that:
“What all the high-performing education systems in the world do is individualize teaching and learning. They recognize that it’s students who are learning and the system has to engage them, their curiosity, their individuality, and their creativity.” (Robinson, 2013)
Indeed, much of the beauty of online schools is that class sizes are small, distractions kept to a minimum, and teachers can really tailor their lessons to meet individual student’s needs, and encourage their curiosity. Students finish lessons in the early afternoon so they have time to pursue other interests, hobbies, and sports, and they don’t have to travel to and from school each day. Students are actively engaged in and responsible for their learning throughout their schooling, and supported by their parents and the school. This increases a student’s chance of achieving the best grades that they can.
Does online schooling work?
The effectiveness of online schooling has been demonstrated in many avenues. Thousands of students have paid testimony to the success of online schooling. It has provided an alternative to mainstream schooling for many who are unable to attend due to bullying, exclusion, social anxiety, or illness. It has empowered young people in countries where accessing a quality education is difficult, giving them the chance to pursue their intellectual curiosity and gain qualifications to attend international universities. Online schools overcome a multiple barriers students face to learning and help them to achieve their full potential.
Case study: Year 11 girl
Lucy had social anxiety which was centered around school-based interactions, particularly with educators. She also suffered from depression since the age of 14 and therefore school was becoming increasingly difficult for her. As a result, Lucy missed a lot of schools and eventually, she was unable to access mainstream education altogether. She was able to attend school for part of her Year 10 but shortly after commencing her first GCSE year, Lucy’s family decided to remove her from school due to her increasing problems with anxiety and depression.
Shortly after leaving school, Lucy’s family discovered My Online Schooling. Lucy had a trial week and she loved it. As an online school delivering the National Curriculum and providing iGCSE teaching her Local Education Authority agreed to support Lucy through her learning. After just a few months the changes in Lucy have been incredible. For the first time in years, she is enjoying learning. She loves the classes and despite being slightly reluctant at the start, she engages extremely well with her teachers. She has opted to take iGCSE Maths, English and Science and she is progressing extremely well. My Online Schooling supported her family to get her enrolled for her exams, which she will be sitting this year. For a girl who had given up on education altogether, the results have been astonishing.
My Online Schooling
MyOnlineSchooling.com runs the full Primary and Secondary English National Curriculum with broad curriculum choices taught by excellent, experienced teachers. The cost of private school fees in the UK is now at an average of £12,700 per year. The MyOnlineSchooling.com is a very cost-effective means of private education with fees from as low as £1,900 per year. At MyOnlineSchooling.com we offer students living overseas the opportunity to access a full British Curriculum no matter of where you are located in the world. Our exceptional, qualified and experienced teachers deliver engaging lessons in a small class environment which allows for collaborative learning as well as the opportunity for independent self-study. All lessons are taught live and are recorded so that they may be view back at a later date – perfect for if you miss a lesson or are preparing for an examination. When it comes to sitting examinations, we are able to support you to find your nearest examination center, wherever you are.
- Cheney (2017) https://www.devex.com/news/the-road-to-real-results-for-online-learning-in-developing-countries-89884
- ITU (2016) https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/2016-PR30.aspx
- Robinson (2013) https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_how_to_escape_education_s_death_valley?referrer=playlist-tv_special_ted_talks_educatio
- Shah (2016) https://www.class-central.com/report/mooc-stats-2016/