Parents cite many benefits when explaining the rapid growth in the popularity of online learning:
- Self-paced flexibility that allows all students, including gifted and talented students and students with special needs to learn at the pace that suits their development;
- Schedule flexibility for working students, students seeking credit recovery, at-risk students and non-traditional students;
- The opportunity to learn from home with the support of a parent, licensed teacher, and a curriculum of their choice in a program with individualized instruction that can be customized to serve each student’s particular needs and abilities;
- Tailored learning for children who work at different paces in different subjects. Online learning offers the ability to customize a learning program based on individual strengths, weaknesses, and interests as well as learning style. Each student has an individualized learning plan with accountability measures. Targeted modifications can be made easily and immediately as indicated by each student’s progress;
- In several states, online education serves as a public school option for students in failing neighborhood public schools who lack the means or opportunity to access the alternative of private education;
- Students can enroll in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, and have access to highly qualified teachers in the college level math, science and foreign language classes critical to success in the global economy. These offerings are often not accessible to students residing in a small rural school district with a widely dispersed student body, declining enrollment, a shortage of qualified teachers, and fiscal limitations;
- Military families can maintain school continuity when transferred or redeployed;
- Early student competencies and preparation for the higher education environment that is increasingly taking advantage of technological advances; and Teachers and parents are in more frequent and regular contact leading to greater collaboration in supporting the child’s education.
In short, while not for every student, many are benefiting from online learning as it serves to expand their education options.