Online technology courses present an unknown challenge to their first-time students, as well as the students’ parents. Besides offering a learning experience that is radically different from a traditional classroom, online courses have their own unique teaching style and requirements. However, parents can help kids can be successful in their online technology courses with a little planning and continued commitment throughout the course.
Here are five helpful tips to help your kids get the most out of an online technology course.
1. Give kids options based on their passions
From coding to animation, today there are online courses that suit almost any interest your kid may have. Many times, what draws a kid to a course is the project that they will make, as opposed to the subject matter itself. For example, a kid may not want to learn to code, but they do want to create mods for their favorite game Minecraft. Their intrinsic passion for Minecraft will translate into dedication to the course and a rewarding learning experience.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that course offerings aren’t limited to strictly computer sciences, but other STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) subjects as well. Use your kids’ interests in other hobbies to guide you when choosing a course– or simply ask them what they’d like to create!
2. Plan ahead
A common mistake of students taking an online course is scheduling too little time to complete the course. Since most online courses are self-paced, meaning that students work through the course curriculum at their own pace, parents do not need to be with their student every step of the way. However, many kids fall into the trap of failing to devote enough time to the course, which leads to students not completing the course and missing out on a valuable learning opportunity.
You can help your kid combat this by determining a schedule of time blocks for them to spend on the course before they get started. Make sure you understand the timing details of the course, such as how many hours of instruction are included, how long it will take to complete the final project, and how long your student will be able to access the course online. You should also factor in some time for getting help from the course’s online teachers in case your kid has a question or gets stuck on an assignment. With a clear picture of the course stipulations and a well-planned schedule, you’ll set your kid up for success in their online course.
3. Check in often, but encourage independence
Most online technology courses for kids are designed so that the student can complete them without any parental assistance or intervention. For example, Youth Digital’s online teachers are available six days a week to ensure that students have the support they need to master the skills taught in the course. However, it’s still important for parents to play an involved role in their kids’ online courses.
Make sure to check in with your student periodically to monitor their progress and ensure they’re sticking to their schedule. By letting your kid work through the course on their own while also offering encouragement, you’ll boost their confidence, empower them to create, and help them practice important skills like time management and accountability.
4. Celebrate their successes
Celebrating milestones throughout your kid’s online course can help ensure that your student stays committed to completing the course. Encourage your kid to share their work with you throughout their experience, and celebrate when they have accomplished something significant, such as reaching the halfway point of the course or finishing their final project. Incentives like a special outing, treat, or toy can serve as additional rewards to the satisfaction your student will surely feel from what they achieve in their course.
5. Continue the momentum
Online courses are a great way to get kids excited about technology, but the learning doesn’t have to stop after the course ends! Encourage your student to continue creating using the skills they learned in the course, whether that’s more animated videos, a new fashion collection, or an advanced video game. Kids can also share their course projects with friends and family as a way to receive positive feedback on the effort they put into their course and the skills they acquired.
With a little research, preparation, and dedication, any kid can succeed in an online technology course!