When students move from classroom-based learning to online learning, they can face several challenges related to how they learn and how they react to not being part of an in-person school community. These are important issues that online schools must be aware of so that not only is the course material engaging and interactive, but a sense of community must be created to enable students to get the most from the experience.
Apex Academy Online understands that no matter how effective the course material is, if students feel isolated, they are unlikely to realize their full potential. All Apex Academy Online courses are designed to fully engage students by using the following principles.
At the start of their course, students complete a self-directed online module that takes them through the Canvas Learning Management System. It shows them how to navigate, and the various tools and features that are available to them. In addition to this, each student will have a one-on-one video meeting with their teacher before the course content is unlocked so that they get to know their teacher and their teacher can find out more about the student’s learning preferences. This helps the teacher become aware of the student’s approach and perhaps provide appropriate assistance or reinforcement where needed. At the same time, it allows the student to connect with, and get to know, their teacher so they can begin to develop a solid learning relationship.
Learn at Their Own Pace
Apex Academy Online learning is based on an asynchronous model, which means that students are free to access course material at any time, from anywhere. The course material is laid out to lead students through step-by-step, allowing them to work at their own pace, and if they have any questions, they can contact their teacher for clarification or perhaps arrange a one-on-one video tutorial. Students are in the driver’s seat, giving them a sense of ownership and control of their learning experience.
The Apex Academy Online asynchronous learning model removes the need for students to have to attend online video classes or lectures. It allows teachers to rethink lecture models, offering more flexibility in the way the content is presented, as well as giving students the option to view the material at any time that and as many times they want; maximizing their focus and allowing them to get the most from the material.
Provide Clear Guidance as to Learning Outcomes
A key element in creating course material that has impact is to regularly remind students what they are working towards, what is to be achieved at each stage of the process, and what is required to be successful. Apex Academy Online courses are focused on engaging students through keeping them informed as to their progress and what they are working toward. At the start of each course module, students are given the learning goals and what they can expect to achieve once the module has been successfully completed. Apex Academy Online understands that if students know why they are doing an activity, and how it impacts their learning, they are more likely to invest themselves in it and complete the work.
Interactive & Engaging Course Material
Course material is at the heart of the online learning experience. How course material is presented can make or break a student’s desired outcome. Apex Academy Online brings together the best of its Canvas Learning Management System, supporting technology, and media to build interactive and engaging courses that are designed to stimulate and challenge students to achieve their best outcomes. Course material is presented in a logical and consistent manner to help reduce any possible student confusion, while at the same time utilizing video tutorials, images, infographics, and other relevant media. Apex Academy Online makes the most of the available course-based resources and technology to deliver a unique and stimulating student experience.
Access to Teachers and Guidance Counsellors
No matter how well a course is designed, there will always be instances where students need to discuss issues related to course content, or perhaps need to seek clarification on an assignment. It is important that students have accessible support. When an Apex Academy Online student sends an email to their teacher, they will respond and depending on the question, will either answer it, or arrange for a video conference with the student to discuss it in more detail.
In addition to being able to get rapid access to their teachers, Apex Academy Online students also have access to a guidance counsellor who can help answer guidance related questions ranging from course selection choices to post secondary course selections or applications.
Community & Connection with Other Students
Research has shown that when a community component is included in an online course, students are five times more engaged and 16 times more likely to finish the course. It also gives students the opportunity to share experiences, discuss course material, share ideas, and help each other through their struggles. Apex Academy Online is focused on building a community for group learning through course-based discussion boards that allow students to post thoughts, ideas, and other related impressions to help and support each other as the course progresses.
Regular Feedback and Reinforcement
An important element in helping students retain information and commit it to their long-term memories is regular feedback and reinforcement. Throughout Apex Academy Online courses, teachers will regularly connect with students to follow-up and discuss what students have learned to make sure that they have understood the principles covered and can apply them in the appropriate way. In addition to this, teachers are in regular contact with students by providing timely feedback on assignments, quizzes, and tests. These student-teacher interactions allow the teacher to assess the progress of the student and provide appropriate support or additional practice as necessary, giving the student every opportunity to be successful.