Students attempting to earn high school credit with traditional online schools are expected to work in a similar fashion to their peers in brick and mortar schools. Their online class meets at certain times and all assignments must be completed by pre-determined deadlines regardless of how fast or slow the student learns.
While this way of learning is still effective for some online students, it isn’t the ONLY type of virtual learning available to students today. Competency-based learning has also become one of the most effective ways for a student to earn online high school credits. Here’s why:
The U.S. Department of Education describes competency-based education as a flexible process that allows students to progress at their own pace as they attempt to demonstrate mastery of academic content. This type of education is not limited by time, place or pace of learning.
“Competency-based strategies provide flexibility in the way that credit can be earned or awarded, and provide students with personalized learning opportunities.”
So, just what is competency-based learning? Here are three characteristics that set it apart from traditional learning.
1. In a traditional setting, time is held constant and the level of understanding or competency varies widely among students. In a competency-based setting all students are expected to meet the same standard or competency, but time is a variable. If one students needs three weeks to master a competency and another requires two weeks, that’s OK.
2. A competency based-education employed in an online setting can harness what a recent blogger calls the “power of technology for teaching and learning.” Earning high school credits online is enabled by students and teachers having access to a variety of technology tools where an almost endless amount of educational resources are available.
3. A competency-based education defines what a student should know and then puts the student in charge of creating their preferred path toward understanding.
A student who chooses to earn high school credits online has the opportunity to learn in a way that enables him or her to master a variety of academic content at his or her own pace. However, few online programs offer any pace and competency-based learning opportunities. Those who have, have done so because it encourages positive results by putting students in charge of their learning.
Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) is one of those online programs that has chosen to embrace the competency-based approach and offers it to students from any state. With over 10,000 enrollments, and a course catalog that spans grades six through 12, VLACS fully embraces the synergy created by competency-based education and online learning. Contact us today to learn how you can enroll in this exciting learning opportunity.