Most students still learn using a method that has existed in our schools for over 100 years. In a typical classroom setting, students sit at desks in rows and the teacher “teaches” from the front of the room. The typical student has been trained since childhood for someone to give them information and take notes or listen.
While the traditional classroom is adept at preparing students for industrial and knowledge-based jobs, it has not kept pace with preparing students for today’s economy that employs a greater share of workers in service and innovation-based economies.
Today, new learning methods are available to give students an expanded skillset needed for their future. Many schools today are utilizing Project Based Learning (PBL) and computer-based instruction in the form of online and blended learning to fill the gaps left by traditional instruction. These initiatives are expected to grow as research studies indicate that families want more technology-based instruction and less use of teacher-driven instruction.
However, given that students have been conditioned to learn in only the traditional sense, schools and students typically struggle when online courses are made available. Suddenly students must now control the pace of learning, show initiative, and make choices about where to invest their time and energy.
In order for students to successfully make the transition, schools and online learning providers must purposefully engage students in activities that train them for a new learning paradigm. Schools can greatly increase their chance of successfully onboarding new students with the following best practices: