Is Online Learning the Solution for Public Schools?

If you’re a public school leader, you want to see your students succeed. Unfortunately, there have long been obstacles standing between your students and advanced learning outcomes.

Now, online learning is emerging as an effective tool to help public schools cover the gaps in education and drive deeper learning.

Wondering how?

In this article, we explore online learning and examine how the latest online learning platforms could be the best solution for public schools.

Traditional Public Schools Need to Improve

There’s plenty of room for improvement in the public school space. Luckily, by identifying some of the most immediate threats to public learning, it’s possible to chart a course to more in-depth learning. Here are some areas in which traditional public schools are struggling in the U.S.:

Overcrowded classrooms: Unfortunately, many public schools across the nation are simply overcrowded. Overcrowding puts extra pressure on instructors and leaves many students without the attention they need. 

Dwindling performance: Simply put, performance is suffering in public schools. In fact, the most recent National Report Card revealed that only around a third of eighth graders are proficient in reading and math. 

A lack of personalization: In the traditional public school setting, teachers can’t always meet with students on a personalized level. When students don’t receive personalized attention, they fall behind, lose interest in schooling, and miss out on learning opportunities.

Information chaos: Administrators, counselors, and other education leaders need easy access to information in order to improve student learning. However, chaotic online information systems and manual data entry make it difficult for leaders to do their jobs. Especially as education pros pick up subpar online learning systems, they’re being met with additional stress and confusion. 

Online Learning Is Creeping into Public Schools

Public schools have long been toying with the idea of picking up online learning to fill the gaps in education. Of course, COVID-19 has accelerated the move to online learning, but the wheels toward online learning have been turning for years. 

More and more, as schools look to online learning solutions, their true potential for plugging the holes in traditional learning is shining through. 

How Online Learning Can Improve Public Schools

More than ever, online learning is positioned to fill in the gaps in public school learning and push education forward. Here are a few benefits the right online learning programs have to offer public schools.

More One-on-One Attention

Most education pros understand that more targeted learning inspires positive student growth. Unfortunately, traditional public schools often have to decide between delivering focused attention and keeping excess pressure off of education leaders. 

Online learning is able to bridge that gap. For instance, some online learning programs will adjust to the learner’s needs, allowing them to learn at their own pace. At the same time, online platforms that integrate with intuitive software, such as Zoom, make it easier for instructors to give learners the one-on-one attention they need.

Advanced LMS Capabilities

When it comes to online learning, your school’s learning management system (LMS) has the potential to spark learning and drive continual progress. Still, if the online learning provider you choose gives you a clunky LMS, it will only hold up progress. Here are some advanced LMS features that can help public schools and students realize better education outcomes:

  • Self-paced learning: Advanced platforms feature coursework that adapts to the learner’s needs. That means they can advance faster or spend more time on difficult subjects.
  • Intuitive platforms: The best LMS programs will be easy to use and integrate with popular online teaching tools, such as Zoom and Qualtrics. This integration helps your team avoid frustration and lead more efficiently.
  • Built-in analytics: With insights into learning performance, instructors, administrators, and counselors can easily identify academic barriers. That’s a recipe for efficient student progress and higher-performing schools.
  • Graduation planners: Advanced online learning programs will include graduation planners and other programs to help counselors pave a clear path to graduation and beyond.

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Simpler Reporting

When it comes to online learning, it’s easy for a school’s student information system (SIS) to get overlooked. However, it plays a critical role if you want your school to make learning strides. In online learning, education leaders need to be able to access information and use it to make progress.

Now, advanced online learning platforms are building programs that simplify the information management process. For instance, SmartFox has designed a SIS+LMS integration that allows information to flow from multiple systems into a single data hub. Here’s how this setup improves the lives of different education leaders and sparks progress:

  • Advantages for administrators: Administrators need information in order to make plans and keep the school moving along a path to success. With an integrated SIS+LMS, administrators have easy access to the information they need and can easily download reports and send them on to regulators. At the same time, because the LMS includes built-in analytics, they have a clear view into how well instructors and students are performing. 
  • Advantages for counselors: Unfortunately, most online learning platforms make it difficult for counselors to access the student information they need to plan for the future. However, with an integrated SIS+LMS, counselors have the information they need at their fingertips. They have advanced graduation planners, easy access to transcripts, and simple enrollment tools. This all lifts a weight off of counselors and gives them more time to help students realize their dreams.
  • Advantages for IT pros: For IT pros, moving to an online system can be a nightmare. Too often, a school will pick up disjointed learning systems and rely on IT staff members to fill in the gaps. When members of IT have to piece together incompatible systems or constantly teach instructors how to use tools, they can get burned out fast. An integrated SIS+LMS promotes better work for IT pros because programs are built to work together. Additionally, programs that include intuitive functions keep other education leaders from having to rely on IT staff for everyday tasks. 

Engaging, Trusted Curriculum 

Curriculum is the engine that drives positive learning outcomes. Especially in online learning, curriculum needs to be engaging yet flexible. Unfortunately, with so many online learning companies flooding the market, it’s not always easy to know what to look for in quality online curriculum

The cost?

In online education, your curriculum can affect everything from your school’s accreditation status and reputation to the number of students and parents it attracts. 

As public schools explore online learning, it’s important to ask a few questions about an online curriculum: 

  • Has the curriculum been used by public schools to secure accreditation?
  • Is the curriculum aligned with UC A-G standards?
  • Have public schools used the curriculum to create coursework aligned with major regulating entities, such as the NCAA?
  • Is the curriculum built by specialists and educators?
  • Is the curriculum designed to increase your school’s chances of earning or keeping accreditation?

Fewer IT Headaches

Online learning can be a powerful solution for public schools, but it’s important that the system makes learning easier, not more difficult. The right online learning systems will lift the burden off of all education leaders, including IT pros. Advanced systems now make it possible to make educational progress without causing problems for the IT team. 

For instance, SmartFox K12’s integrated systems free up IT staff members because they don’t have to waste time pasting together incompatible programs. In turn, those IT pros’ days are freed up, so they can focus on improving all of the school’s technology. 

See How Advanced Online Learning Systems Work for You

With the right online learning system, public schools can spark even more meaningful learning outcomes without the frustrations that come with implementing new online learning plans. 

Ready to see how SmartFox K12’s online learning platform can help your team reach their goals? Schedule your walkthrough today!

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