Get ready to be busy inside and outside of the classroom. The recent changes to Ontario’s education plan including larger classrooms, a simpler curriculum and mandatory e-learning courses have been met with mixed reviews. Unfortunately, the inclusion of online learning courses could add more work and stress on an already hardworking student.
Students are going to be required to earn four online credits before their graduation, which equals out to 480 hours of learning on the computer instead of in the classroom. While in some cases, time is made available for online courses during the school day, other times students are responsible for completing the course outside of school hours. This assumes that a student’s time is available after that last bell rings, and with extracurriculars, volunteering and part time jobs, this time isn’t always the case. Students in high school spend much of Grade 9 to Grade 12 preparing for post-secondary education, whether it be university, college, a trade program or community college; and all of that costs big money. Going into post-secondary education without some financial backing is a quick and easy way to fall into debt. This leads many students to seek part-time employment to save for their future education. Not to mention that high school students are also required to complete a mandatory 40 hours of volunteer work.
There’s also the most glaring problem that e-learning courses are not for everyone. For some students, online courses may improve their time management skills, but others struggle because they have difficulty meeting the time management demands or struggle with the lack of one-on-one support a classroom can provide.
If you have difficulty learning something in the classroom, like math or science, with a teacher right there to answer your questions, it’s very rare that same student will find success in the subject independently. Sure, there’s always Google but that can only get you so far in certain subjects.
Learning complex concepts through an online program can be difficult when you have no one to lean on for academic support and e-learning courses cannot replicate the personalized experience found in traditional classrooms.
Could high school students find the benefit of online learning? Absolutely. But like any tool, it needs to be used properly or you could end up breaking something that wasn’t necessarily broken.