Unlike traditional in-person secondary schools, virtual high schools allow students to take their course (or courses) remotely: from home, from a coffee shop or even while on vacation.
Virtual schooling provides opportunities for students from a wide variety of backgrounds to obtain credits and gain their diplomas, including the following: mature learners returning to high school or finishing it for the first time; students who need to complete a handful of select courses to be eligible for a college or university program; those who need to repeat a course to graduate high school; students with mental or physical challenges; and persons who are new to the country.
Further, virtual high school is an excellent option for students who have moved away from their place of residence but who would like to continue learning the same concepts. For example, virtual learning in Ontario is a good option for students from Ontario who have moved out of the province but wish to continue with the province’s top-performing curriculum.
As evidenced by the many demographic groups it serves, virtual high schools and self-paced learning offer a wealth of benefits for all.
What Is Self-Paced Learning?
Self-paced learning gives students the freedom to study, complete assignments and take their exams in their own time, at their own speed. Here are a few other features of this custom-built approach to education:
- Generally speaking, most self-paced courses take approximately one hundred hours of study, and students have one year to complete them.
- Students can study anytime during the day (or night), take breaks whenever they need to, and even pause their studies for short vacations.
- As befits an individualized course load, extensions are offered to students who request extra time.
- Homework is used as a supportive tool and is not mandatory. This means that students are trusted to complete as much as they feel necessary to better their understanding.
The flexibilities that come with self-paced learning have fantastic benefits for learners of all ages.
Personal Learning Needs Are Met
Unlike a conventional classroom, where upwards of 30 students receive instruction simultaneously and are expected to complete assignments at the same pace, virtual learning allows individuals to slow down and focus on areas of confusion. There’s no need to rush to keep up, giving individuals a better chance of understanding and retaining information in areas of study that may once have been challenging.
Similarly, students can sail through coursework that they already understand thoroughly.
Self-Esteem Will Be Boosted
As above, having a better understanding of coursework will boost a student’s confidence and self-esteem. Consistently feeling confused, rushed, or out of place will begin to take its toll on some individuals. It can cause them to become unmotivated and frustrated. It can even cause them to suffer from depression.
Time Management Skills Are Strengthened
Self-paced studying helps learners hone and finesse their time management skills. While most reputable virtual schools follow their student’s progress, even checking in when they see dips in activity, daily learning structures and timelines are always set to the student’s style and pace.
That said, most virtual schools encourage and support consistent study, recommending that learners map out their weekly study times and set individual goals throughout their course. This supported freedom helps younger learners specially to understand the importance of self-discipline, target-setting and how best to manage their time.
Virtual high schools that support self-paced study are, as described, innovative ways for students of diverse backgrounds to gain control over their education — and study and complete work at their speed — but never by sacrificing quality.