How to Choose a Suitable Online Course for Kids

Online learning is here to stay. Be it schools or workplaces, online platforms have started to dominate the learning and communication space and this trend is expected to continue in the near future as well. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic and with the advancement of technology, more and more providers are moving to the online platforms to offer courses, classes and lessons to engage minds, young or old.

This pandemic has in particular forced the entire education system to find alternatives to physical classroom learning and extra-curricular activities. Amidst a sea of these online classes, it can get challenging to know which is a suitable one and which isn’t. Whizpa has narrowed down below some pointers to help parents and caregivers decide how to evaluate the online courses before enrolling into them:

  1. Ascertain the Key Area of Interest - There are plenty of courses in the current online market – be it dance, music, coding, yoga; you name it and you will get a dozen of classes at the click of a button. But before you even try to go shopping for an online course, it is imperative to know what your child’s interests and passions are. For instance, if your child is very active at home and you need a class to help put those energy levels to good use, you could try something physically challenging – like Jazz, Zumba or gymnastics. Some children are more creative and may do well with arts or music or drama lessons, and others who like intellectual stimulation might want to try classes like chess or coding. It’s key to find out the area of interest for your child and narrow down the courses that might fit well with their personalities.
  2. Focus on Quality of the Course - It is important to know about the quality of the course and there are several ways to figure that out.  You can look up the reviews of other parents who might have previously signed up for this class. To avoid getting distracted by false claims, it is best to screen through the parents’ forums, Facebook pages, and other external/unbiased forums for neutral perspectives. Most providers offer paid or free trial lessons.  The trial lessons allow you a peek into how the class is conducted and you can then decide whether it is something that you want to invest into for a longer run or not.
  3. Work within your Budget - Cost is going to be another major consideration when it comes to signing up for an online course. Make sure you look for the course that is right for you and your children’s goals – and not just your pockets. Here’s how you can get creative about the expenses - If you like the course but it exceeds your budget, you can have a chat with the provider to bring the cost down by including more kids in a class and that way, the per head cost comes down; alternatively, you can reduce the frequency of the course to accommodate your budget.
  4. Look for a Lesson that’s Engaging and Interesting - Lectures can be boring, not just for kids but even for adults. Imagine a tutor delivering a lesson online in a monologue. No way the child is going to sit through it without losing interest and attention. So, do your due diligence. Try to understand from the provider at the outset as to how often does the speaker/teacher interact with the children, does he or she allow for ample opportunities for the doubts to be cleared, does he teach in a manner which is mainly a monologue. Ensure that the program you’re signing up for not only covers the topic areas you’re interested in, but does so in an engaging way. Find a course where kids can ask one another questions and discuss the material. Further, courses with a variety of activities delivered in short segments are more engaging. For instance, a lesson wherein the tutor who asks you to read a little, watch a short video, write a short paragraph/essay, and then do a role play or a physical exercise is an example of the kind of course you should find. 
  5. Ensure Provision of Flexibility – There may be times that the child may not be able to attend the class. There can be several reasons – illness, connection issues, conflicting priorities, etc. Whatever may be the reason, it is wise to check with the instructor if either you are allowed to have some make up classes or if there are recordings available for such instances to catch up with the rest of the class.
  6. Choose the Preferred Mode of Interaction - Some online courses offer one to one learning experiences and others offer a group learning platform. The cost would differ usually based on the set up. One on one are usually a bit more expensive than group learning platforms. That said, it does not be one on one lessons are superior. Some children thrive and learn better in a group setting or a community driven environment. You need to know your child’s learning style is to be able to make the right decision.
  7. Don’t Forget Kids Prefer Simplicity- Kids don't want to spend time figuring out how to navigate the eLearning course or figure out what they are supposed to do next! Find a course that is easy to use – there should be easily accessible arrows, images, links that are clearly labelled in uncomplicated, easy to read language so that kids can easily find their way around the course.
  8. Ensure the Course Sets Specific Goals for Kids - Look for a course that offers structured learning and assessment opportunities. Having this structure will help kids understand what they need to do next and give them a clear idea of how far they have progressed. It also helps teachers monitor students' progress, so they can identify areas where kids need extra assistance or review previous material so that students can master concepts before moving on.
  9. Understand The Learning Styles of Kids- Each kid has their own way of learning. Some kids are visual learners, some auditory, and some are hands-on learners. It is important to find the right way to approach the kids when teaching them online. After you learn about their preferences, you can use that information to your advantage in looking for the apt eLearning courses.

In today’s uncertain times, if you want kids to build new skills or hone existing ones, online courses may be the answer. The physical brick and mortar activity centres may or may not operate until there is a permanent solution to Covid, but online programs shall continue to thrive. Educators, businessmen, organizations, governments across the globe realize a vast majority of businesses can continue to be delivered online; be it goods or services. It is imperative to choose wisely, test the programs before committing for a longer term and select a course that offers quality, flexibility and fits your agenda and pockets.

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