Online education is booming, and schools across the nation are waking up to the benefits of online learning. However, that doesn’t mean education leaders who are moving schools online should scoop up the first online learning platform system that comes along.
If your school is eyeing a move to online learning, consider that the platform that powers your school can influence everything from student learning and faculty performance to staff members’ well-being and even accreditation status.
It’s worth taking a minute to examine what’s out there.
Want to see what a K-12 online learning experience should look like? Read on. We’ve laid out what you need to build a positive online learning experience, and why SmartFox K12’s learning platform is leading the way.
What Are K-12 Online Learning Systems?
K-12 online learning systems are digital platforms that make it possible to run a school online. Of course, they allow you to deliver content and use modules to instruct students. But advanced K-12 online learning systems let you control much more. They should give you reporting, measurement tools, a trusted curriculum, personalized coursework, and the resources to propel your school forward.
Who Is Using Online Learning?
Schools of all kinds are rushing to offer online learning. In fact, the global online education market is expected to more than double in the next six years. Still, there are some institutions and leaders who are especially eager to move into online learning programs. Here are some groups and individuals that stand to benefit the most from online learning.
Public charter schools often want to use flexible learning models to improve student outcomes. At the same time, they need to prove those outcomes and meet charter standards. In K-12 learning, online programs make it easier to deliver advanced instruction and report on the figures needed to uphold charters.
Private K-12 schools rely heavily on their reputations in order to succeed. By picking up an online learning platform with trusted results, stimulating coursework, and an accreditation-ready curriculum, private institutions can use online learning to reach more students than ever.
Administrators know that in order to prove their school’s successes, they have to measure, prove, and strengthen student learning. With the right online learning platform, administrators have the information they need at their fingertips. Better yet, a streamlined online learning system flows information into a single hub, which simplifies reporting and staff management.
With the right online learning system, counselors can follow a student’s progress and keep them on track for graduation. Advanced systems will give them easy access to transcripts, provide graduation planners, and help them identify academic barriers standing between students and their future plans.
Online Learning Difficulties to Avoid
With all the benefits out there, it’s no wonder schools are racing to move to online models. However, there are some issues to look out for if you’re eying a traditional online learning platform. Here are some questions to ask if you want to avoid online learning frustrations.
Is Coursework Engaging?
Especially in online classrooms, students can lose interest if coursework isn’t engaging. Unfortunately, many traditional online learning systems make it difficult to break through and connect with students on a personal level. That’s why it’s important to use online programs that make it easy to deliver engaging coursework on an intimate level.
Is Reporting Seamless?
If you’re running a charter or private school, you already understand how important it is to capture student information and prove results. Now, with so many schools moving into online environments, schools are under even more pressure to uphold high standards. The bad news? Most online learning systems make it difficult to collect and access the information that schools need to establish strong reputations.
Does Technology Support Your Team?
No education leader wants to spend precious time retraining faculty and addressing technical issues. Subpar online learning platforms may force users to piece together info from disconnected learning management systems (LMS) and student information systems (SIS). As a result, faculty and staff can be left confused and frustrated.
Do Systems Make Measurement Easy?
Online learning systems should be built to improve learning outcomes. That requires systems that measure daily student and teacher performance. It also means the technology should give administrators easy access to reports, enrollment data, and other critical student information.
Is the Curriculum Trustworthy?
Before picking up any online curriculum for your school, ask, “Is it trustworthy?” Your curriculum will be tied directly to your school’s reputation, and it could play a critical role in your school’s accreditation status. Make sure it prepares students for postsecondary opportunities and is accepted by postsecondary standard-bearers, such as the University of California (UC) system.
What Makes SmartFox’s Online Learning System Special?
Wondering what’s driving the enthusiasm around SmartFox K12’s Online Learning system?
We’ve created a program that’s designed for a better learning environment and one that lifts stress off of education leaders. Here are a few things that make SmartFox K12’s Online Learning platform special:
- An integrated LMS+SIS: Because our learning systems connect information, your teams spend less time sorting through and organizing information and more time leading.
- More personalized learning: With Learning Tiles, Smart Sessions, and advanced LMS capabilities, students can learn at their own pace. That means they can spend more time on difficult subjects and they aren’t held back if a concept comes easily.
- Measurable progress: SmartFox makes it possible to track how students are doing, and it allows leaders to pinpoint academic barriers students are facing. In the right hands, that means leaders can drive powerful positive growth in the classroom.
How Does SmartFox K12 Look in Action?
When it comes to the success of any online learning environment, it’s important that your leaders have the tools to positively change the lives of students. That means accessing an advanced LMS and programs that are easy to use. Here are some resources SmartFox K12 is providing schools across the nation:
- Smart Sessions: With engaging features like Smart Sessions, coursework adapts to learners and lets them advance at their own pace.
- Trusted coursework: Coursework is aligned with University of California standards, and we’ve helped schools develop classes that meet the expectations of major national bodies such as the NCAA.
- Built-in analytics: With analytics built into the LMS, you can monitor student progress in real time.
- Clear data: You can quickly download and share cumulative files. That makes it easier to meet standards, secure funding, and solidify your school’s reputation.
- Reporting made easy: Unlock access to the CALPADS reports suite and simplify reporting.
- Resource integration: Our LMS fully integrates Zoom and Qualtrics within courses, so teachers can lead through the programs they’re used to.
- Safety reporting: Our platform lets you run online bullying and safety reports to help you create a secure learning environment for students
Why Use a “One-Stop-Shop” Online Learning Platform?
When we built our platform, we knew right away educators needed a one-stop shop—one that incorporates an LMS +SIS design. SmartFox’s platform is different from most systems because it blends information into one database.
Wondering why a single information hub is important? Here are some advantages unified information brings to education pros.
Advantages for Administrators
When your LMS and SIS share information, it is easier to see student progress, teacher performance, and internal figures. That means you have what you need to make the right strategic decisions. At the same time, you have access to precious enrollment data and those reports that you need to pass on to regulators.
Advantages for Counselors
Because counselors often have to jump between an LMS and SIS, it’s a huge benefit to have the two systems connected. It means counselors can track student progress, plan for graduation, enroll students in coursework, and review transcripts in one place.
Advantages for IT Pros
With an integrated LMS and SIS, IT pros don’t have to spend hours trying to transfer information or address endless help tickets. It also makes for faster uploads, fewer makeshift solutions, and a less stressful day all around.
Get Online Support for Your School
We want to help your school succeed. If you have questions about K-12 online learning or you’re wondering what you should be looking for in a learning platform, contact one of our education pros today. We’ll be happy to help you find the right solution for your school.
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.