In schools across the nation, independent study is igniting positive learning outcomes. For most school leaders, the powerful effects of independent study programs are undeniable. However, these programs are not easy to pull off online without the right technology.
Wondering how SmartFox K12’s online learning platform is designed to drive your school’s independent study programs? Read on. We lay out how SmartFox K12 simplifies independent study and lifts the burden off of your education leaders.
Why Is Independent Study Important?
Independent study can be extremely effective, but it isn’t a requirement in schools. In fact, independent study is a voluntary type of education that runs alongside your curriculum. Contrary to some misunderstandings, it does not compete with your curriculum. Instead, independent study includes individual programs that fit the student’s learning style, unique interests, and personal learning needs.
Wondering what the benefits of independent study are for students?
Students don’t just benefit from what they’re learning with independent study. They gain through how they learn. Independent study sparks skills that will serve students for long after graduation, including:
- Critical thinking
How crucial are these skills for learners?
They can completely define a learner’s future. Studies suggest critical thinking is more closely linked to positive life outcomes than raw intelligence. What’s more, according to the World Economic Forum, analytical thinking and problem-solving will be critical for jobs in the future. That means independent study doesn’t just drive better learning now. It can set students up for success long after graduation.
How Does Independent Study Benefit Schools?
Beyond cultivating deeper learning, independent study can also directly benefit schools. Here are a few ways school leaders benefit from effective independent study programs:
- Build a stronger reputation: The skills that independent study programs help develop aren’t just a massive benefit for students. They can drastically boost a school’s reputation. Critical thinking and problem-solving are both top 10 skills employers say they’ll need in 2025. The more schools can build these bridges to successful careers, the easier it will be to bring students on board in the future.
- Craft a united school culture: The best schools are anchored by solid relationships. Independent study programs connect students with school leaders on a deeper level. These connections open the door to clear learning outcomes and help you build a learning community that students and leaders enjoy.
- Appeal to more students: Independent study programs are more personalized, and they fit perfectly into the schedules of busy students. Because they’re flexible, they allow student athletes and performing artists to craft their schedules around a more flexible learning day. That means you can attract more students and lift enrollment.
Is Independent Study Easier Online?
If your school is considering beefing up its independent study programs, it’s worth looking for a K-12 online learning program that’s built for personalized learning. Here are a few ways independent study is simplified when you have the right online learning platform propelling your efforts:
- Tools built for educators: School leaders understand that independent study requires attention, check-ins, and a deep dive into student needs. The best online platforms will simplify all of the above. Advanced platforms will include easy-to-use tools, such as Zoom, as well as interactive dashboards to encourage uninterrupted interactions.
- More focused learning: With the right online learning technology, students can move at a pace that fits their needs. For instance, self-paced learning programs can catapult independent study programs because they help diagnose learning needs and adjust to the learner. That way students can accelerate ahead or spend extra time on their more difficult subjects.
- More analytics: For independent study efforts to work out, leaders need to be able to quickly gaze into the learner’s progress and make adjustments. The best online learning platforms will include technology that records student performance and lays it out for leaders to use.
How to Use Online Platforms to Support Independent Learners
When it comes to supporting independent study, not every online learning platform is equipped to deliver the same level of excellence. Here’s how SmartFox Online Learning simplifies independent study programs:
- Advanced reporting: If your school is using independent study programs, you’ll need to be able to prove to regulators and parents that they’re working. SmartFox K12 Online Learning includes an integrated LMS+SIS system. That makes it easy for administrators to track progress, generate reports, and pass them on to regulators.
- Built-in analytics: To take root, independent study needs to be targeted to students’ needs. With built-in analytics, SmartFox K12 lets instructors, counselors, and other leaders pinpoint progress and zoom in on gaps in learning. That makes it easier to deliver the kind of personalized learning that changes lives for the better.
- A dynamic design: If you want to build a strong online learning community that reaches all students, it requires uninterrupted connections. That’s why SmartFox K12 built an online learning platform with fast downloads and mobile-friendly programs. These features let educators, counselors, and administrators lead from anywhere. It also saves IT pros time and headaches because they don’t have to deal with the problems that arise out of incompatible systems.
Learn More About SmartFox K12
Looking for an online learning platform that simplifies independent study and relieves your school leaders of unnecessary stress? SmartFox K12 was built by educators, for educators.
Want to see exactly how your school can use SmartFox K12 to drive better online learning outcomes? Schedule a walkthrough today for an inside look at our online learning platform.
About the Author
Mark is the co-founder of Method Schools and SmartFox and has been working in the marketing and finance areas of K-12 education for two decades. He holds a B.S. in Business from Utah Valley University and an MBA from Brigham Young University. In his spare time he’s usually on his mountain bike.