e-Learning (or online learning) is not new.
In fact, people have been learning online for decades. The Open University in Britain began delivering this way of learning in the early 1990s. This said, for a fair number of parents this way of learning for their children is new territory. Covid-19 has also made e-learning a more attractive option for parents who are seeking alternatives to the traditional schooling system. These alternatives could be in the form of fully-fledged online schooling or extra-curricular and co-curricular online learning options for their kids. For example, if your child needs extra maths support or extension, then hiring a face-to-face tutor is no longer your only option.

At Advantage Learn we have been using online education as a medium to help more students and over our years of e-learning provision we have found there are some common questions that are frequently asked by parents. Here are the top five questions we are asked by parents who are considering this learning option for their kids:

1. Why should I consider online learning for my children?

Firstly, you should consider it because of its ability to enhance your child’s academic performance.
e-Learning is not a less effective or lower grade learning modality for your child, recent studies are showing that online learning is just as effective as learning in the classroom if not better in many instances. It is therefore all about the context for your child. 

This means that it may be a great decision to use an online learning solution for your child to help them perform academically. 

When we implemented a full distance learning option via online learning for our Advanced Programme Mathematics course, we were worried that our results wouldn’t match up to our in-person classes. We could not have been more wrong, in the first three years of the programme our online learning students on the programme outperformed our in-person students!

Secondly, you should consider it for financial reasons. While online learning is not always cheaper than traditional in-person options, a large number of online learning solutions available leverage larger economies of scale than in-person learning solutions and usually cost a lot less.

Thirdly, you should consider it for convenience. This reason cannot be overlooked – online learning makes it possible to learn from wherever there is an internet connection and a device that can browse the web. This means you can forget the hassles of dropping off and picking up from extra classes etc. Just ensure your child has an appropriate device and internet connection and you are good to go.

2. Is online learning safe? (For learners not being supervised)

Many of our parents often ask us about the safety of their learners when they are left, quite literally, to their own devices learning online. 

This is a great question and an important consideration. Online learning is safe, when approached in the right way with the right controls and measures in place but can, however, be unsafe in some instances. 

However, it is safe if the online learning solution/provider you choose is reputable. Here at Advantage Learn all our staff and educators go through stringent background and criminal checks so that our customers can rest assured their precious learners are in safe hands when they are online. In addition

to this, we monitor all interactions over our e-learning platform to make sure learning is the focus and nothing untoward is taking place. If you choose the right solution and/or provider then online learning is just as safe as in-person learning. 

3. What are the hidden costs I should know about? 

This is a great question because simply choosing the supplementary online learning solution and purchasing it is not the end of the budgetary considerations. There are other cost areas that need to be acknowledged and accounted for. The major cost areas to remain aware of are:

  • The cost of the programme/solution.
  • The data costs to facilitate access to the internet. Most online learning is done over video media which can mean, on average, around 1GB of data per hour.
  • The device costs including maintenance of the device. To learn effectively a learner will need a big screen device and the necessary supporting stationery. 

4. How do I choose the right online learning solution/plan/programme for my child? 

One major challenge our parents face when considering online learning for their child is choosing the right solution from the plethora of online options that might be available. This can be extremely daunting. 

Our first piece of advice for parents when navigating this is to first establish your current context. When choosing a new school for your child one would look at the location, facilities, curriculum, costs etc. Choosing an online learning solution should be treated much the same. 

We have a high school maths learning solution (Maths Online) that helps learners remediate or extend themselves by using our deep learning library of practice questions and learning videos covering Grade 8 – 12 CAPS and IEB curricula. 

Our target is to help students who are in high school in Southern Africa. This solution would not be applicable to American students studying in America, so someone based there choosing our online learning solution to help their child would be making a mistake. 

The first step then is to consider your child’s learning context and then to filter your options accordingly. The second step we suggest is to actually engage with your shortlisted providers to see what they suggest and offer. 

If you struggle to get helpful advice from your chosen provider then it is likely they are not going to support your child’s learning as well as you would hope. This is a critical point and we strongly suggest parents test this out with their preferred provider.

5. How do I make sure my child is actually learning and not pretending? 

This is a question we are often asked, and it is a genuine concern for most parents. A lot of parents are more comfortable knowing their children are at a physical location (like a school) learning. Online learning presents a problem where parents feel like they need to be monitoring their children constantly when they are learning online. 

Parents are often worried there is too much opportunity for their child not to learn. This certainly is a valid concern if the child is not motivated to learn the material they are required to study. Thankfully, if you have chosen a reputable provider/solution then the monitoring and management of the learning will be facilitated, and parents can choose their level of involvement.

 In addition, we always suggest learners develop a learning plan to follow and encourage parents to hold them accountable to it. Effective learning takes discipline and so facilitating the learning process is key to ensuring learning is actually taking place, no matter what the medium.

To conclude: 

Using online learning to complement, supplement, support and/or enhance your child’s learning is critical in this day and age and has great benefits like convenience, affordability and accessibility. 

Our current reality is that kids have to be lifelong learners to remain relevant in their skillsets and careers, so getting used to using online learning to acquire knowledge and skills is critical for a successful career and vocation. 

As parents, we can play an important stewarding role to facilitate this and should be mindful of our approach and the solutions we choose for our learners, especially when they are at a young age. 

At Advantage Learn we believe in the power of the partnership between parents and their children to facilitate a successful learning journey for their kids. We encourage all parents to seek guidance from experienced providers to help guide the selection and choice of the appropriate solutions for their children.

About the author
James Lees

I am a passionate ZA [South African] tech entrepreneur who firmly believes that providing keen learners with access to top educators is a critical component to providing equal opportunity. On my journey, I have realised that we all have a part to play in helping to level the playing field.

In 2014 I co-founded AdvantageLearn.com and since then I have been working on helping learners and organisations become agents in the fourth industrial revolution. My current priorities are providing learners access to high-quality STEM educators and materials and helping organisations provide their learning online in a helpful and meaningful manner.

When can/should I write my NBTs

The National Benchmark test project recommends that you write your test when you are ready. The best way to determine when to write your NBTs is to l... Read more

Mathematics low-tech & high-tech: using manipulatives to further understanding

“In mathematics education, a manipulative is an object which is designed so that a learner can perceive some mathematical concept by m... Read more

23 for 2023! 50% off Maths Online Grade 8-12

If you know us, you’ll know we don’t do big deals very often but every now and then, the occasion calls for it. And Black Friday happens ... Read more

Do you want better Maths results?

Maths Online is a bank of over 2000+ extra lessons. Furthermore, gain access to our teacher support to help you when you need it!

More info
conversation

Advantage Learn is a registered Distance Education Provider with