Virtual schools can be as effective as traditional school environments, and for some students, they prove an optimal choice for K-12 education. The key in gauging effectiveness, however, is evaluating a virtual program individually while considering the needs and learning style of the student it will serve. In many cases, cyber schools provide education comparable to traditional schools but allow for a degree of customization that helps students excel.
Quality Education in an Alternative Setting
It’s important for families to remember that virtual schools are not an entirely separate animal. They fall under the same educational umbrella as traditional schools, though they do operate differently. Cyber schools are simply an educational alternative. As with traditional schools, effectiveness depends on the curriculum chosen, the staff’s commitment to providing quality education and the skill of those responsible for teaching students and guiding families. As such, families can ensure an effective education for their students by researching cyber schools in advance and selecting the option most likely to provide a quality education.
Catering to Individual Needs and Interests
Also critical in evaluating effectiveness is considering the needs of the student. Each student is an individual and thus has unique needs and interests. One of the main strengths of virtual education is that it can play to the specific needs of the student. Cyber schooling can cater to a student’s unique learning style and pace. For example, it can prove beneficial for a child who learns best visually, who is more of an auditory learner or absorbs information best through interactive studies. Likewise, virtual learning allows students to spend as much time as they need in order to achieve full mastery of concepts rather than focusing on completing work as quickly as possible. On the other hand, those who need less time for mastery are free to move ahead at a faster pace rather than getting bored and demotivated.
The Right Curriculum
The effectiveness of a virtual school depends on the curriculum options. As with traditional school, a carefully planned and implemented curriculum is key to effective instruction and learning. For this reason, many parents compare virtual schools based on curriculum options, evaluating whether they will help their children progress educationally. Some virtual schools offer a range of curriculum options, however, allowing families to choose not only an effective program but also the program most likely to benefit their children.
A strong support system can mean the difference between a positive learning experience and a continuing struggle to learn. Virtual schools that offer technical support, guidance counselors and mentor connections often prove most effective. Additionally, some schools go the extra mile by providing on-campus labs through which students can obtain additional help and coaching that gives students valuable feedback, provides suggestions for improvement and helps keep motivation high.