Six Ways Parents Can Help With E-learning

Smiley-Tab-People-smallE – learning and blended learning have become quite the norm. While most of parents use computers and tablets as a  part of routine, schools have lagged behind. Schoolkids trudge out to the bus with 20-kilo bags full of books and notebooks. They sit up nights copying those books, using antiquated technology like pens and paper. They’ll do this homework with a smart phone or tablet plugged into their ears with streaming music claiming their attention. Meanwhile, in the other room their parents are plugged into a device and chatting, tweeting, visiting friends via social media channels and ordering clothes on line while watching HD TV.

E-learning programs can change this scenario so that study actually impacts understanding and improves critical thinking and creativity.

Research has shown that at primary age, parents can significantly impact the achievement rates of children. By teenage years, the parents can positively create an impact on their child’s decision to stay on in school, pursue University and focus on fulfilling career ambitions. With E-Learning tools, you can participate in your child’s education wherever you are, whenever you want.

Companies like Extramarks make products that enhance and reinforce school lessons and expand learning using technology. The online programs or tablets replace the heavy books, but Extramarks takes a leap forward – they engage the students more than printed paper can, and they help practice and test what students have learned in ways that are smarter. So what can parents do to make the most of the opportunity that E-learning provides?

Here are six suggestions:

  1. Provide a comfortable space, without distractions, for e-learning. Keep other devices (including the TV and mobile phones) elsewhere. Keep other people away, too – including siblings who might be interested in the lessons but prevent the students from learning on their own.
  2. Help at the beginning, but let your children do the lesson by themselves Parents can help with scheduling if the E-learning program has a planning or scheduler component. They can help set reasonable, attainable goals and ensure the child sticks to the schedule. But then back off and let the software ply its magic.
  3. Help at the end. Most good E-learning programs have almost limitless testing possibilities, allowing for careful evaluation at different levels of difficulty. Parents can help when children get low scores by talking with the child, drawing out his reasons with the help of real-time analysis. Then let the child review again; don’t give him the answers, but try to see where he lacks understanding.
  4. Help your child make notes as he learns. Unlike rote copying, still practiced even at the best of the schools, having the learner note down thoughts and questions without restriction encourages the kind of critical thinking that is often missing in the classroom. Discuss these notes regularly. Use this process to initiate the kind of free conversation that will take learning to a new level. Often there isn’t time for this in the crowded classroom environment.
  5. Encourage your child to join groups if the programs make these available. Networking with other children can help understanding of difficult concepts. In Extramarks LIVE, for example, groups can be set up with others anywhere who are studying the same boards, class and subjects. This expands the child’s world beyond his own experience in positive ways. Often kids will ask others questions they won’t ask mentors or teachers – and they’ll get better responses.
  6. If your child is in a higher grade, and studying topics you don’t fully understand, have a walk through thelesson, or let your child teach it to you off line. It will crystallize the learning, and give you a chance to evaluate whether the program is really helping your child retain understanding of concepts. If you think improvements can be made in the programs, give the company that created the programs your feedback, so they can improve the product.

Whether E-learning comes invited to your home or not, it’s definitely on the way. Welcome the opportunity that E-learning gives you  with open arms to engage in your child’s learning process and to widen horizons for both you and your child.