Many people think of online learning as MOOCs and a tool for adult learning, but an increasing number of high school students are now studying some of their subjects online – with an online teacher and alongside classmates from around the world.
A research study produced by the Institute of Education for leading online IB course provider, Pamoja Education, has explored the impact of online learning on 16-19 year olds and its influence on their learning experience at university.
The Institute of Education University of London (IOE) researched students who are now at university and who participated in online learning during their time in school. 108 university students aged between 17 and 23 were surveyed, including students from the UK. 58 of those researched had studied at least one two-year-long subject course online as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), delivered by Pamoja Education, OSC’s sister company and currently the only IB approved online course provider.
Of all 108 students surveyed, 78% said they considered it important in university to be able to plan and coordinate group tasks using online tools such as calendars, scheduling tools and discussion applications. 94% said having the ability to find academic resources online is valuable. 78% of all students who responded said that at university they try to solve learning problems by themselves. And 84% said it is definitely important to be able to set goals to help manage studying time for their university course.
Those students surveyed who had participated in online learning at school said the online learning experience had helped them gain experience in a range of online learning tools that they are now using as part of their university learning. They agreed that the online learning experience had helped them develop confidence in using technology to source information and so were most likely to research online rather than using print sources. They believed studying online had helped them to become independent learners who could manage their time well and were less likely than other students to turn to their university instructors for help.
All the IBDP online students who were interviewed by an IOE researcher commented that learning to learn online had come with its own set of challenges, but that developing the skills to learn online within the supported environment of school had been a beneficial experience that was now effectively helping their university study.
One student said “Studying online is different from attending regular classes. You have to be self-motivated to study on your own and set your own deadlines. Personally, I learned a lot from taking an online course because it helped me prepare myself in terms of scheduling and allocating time.” Another said “I had to be independent and in charge of my own learning so this has helped me be able to work this way.”
The teachers who were interviewed talked about the importance of providing a supportive online learning environment for school age online learners. Several teachers suggested that it provided students with low-risk challenges so that they could learn from the experience; making mistakes and developing skills in a safe environment that prepared them well for subsequent university study.
Pamoja Education – the online IB course provider
This article was produced by Pamoja Education. Pamoja Education works in close collaboration with the International Baccalaureate to develop and deliver authorised online Diploma Programme courses. They are dedicated to supporting the IB in their efforts to increase global access to the Diploma Programme.