The Advantages of Online Digital Learning

If corporate employees in digital learning environments follow the same pattern as school students, they are more interested in what they are learning, more motivated to do well, and feel a stronger connection to their organization than employees in traditional, face-to-face classes. A recent study also found that boys are more likely than girls to take online classes.

The report found that nearly 50 percent of virtual high school students say they were interested in what they were learning in school, while only 32 percent of traditional high school students said the same. A similar disconnect exists in terms of motivation to do well with more than one-third of virtual school students saying they are motivated because they like school. Only a quarter of traditional school students say the same.

Similarly, while only 24 percent of traditional high school students say their school cares about them as a person, nearly 40 percent of students who have had some type of school-based digital learning experience believe that their school cares about them.

The study also found that the most defining characteristic within the digital learning profile is gender with a larger percentage of boys being represented across all categories. Among high school and grade school students, 59 percent of those who have taken an online course, either self-study or teacher-led, are boys and 60 percent are enrolled in a virtual school. For girls, 52 percent have taken a self-study online class, 50 percent have taken a teacher-led one and only 47 percent are enrolled in a virtual school. 

“When students are using digital resources, building multimedia projects, collaborating and connecting online, and conducting online research, they are more interested in schoolwork today and feel more connected to what their future holds tomorrow,” says Dr. Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, which uses Blackboard solutions to power the district’s blended learning program.

The findings, which focused on understanding the student perspective on the impact and benefits of innovative and alternative classroom models, are included in “Trends in Digital Learning: Students’ Views on Innovative Classroom Models,” which was released at the 2014 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Atlanta, Ga. The report is based on data from the 2013 Speak Up annual survey that captures the views of more than 400,000 K-12 students, parents, educators, administrators and other community members across the U.S. each year about digital learning.

—More info: www.tomorrow.org

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