Last updated: 30.11.11

Online learning technologies 'are effective'

The use of technologies such as online learning to support traditional methods of academic education is proving to be effective, according to one school that has incorporated e-learning into the curriculum.

A representative from St Thomas Aquinas High School in Ontario, Canada told of how the successful recent inclusion of online resources into the existing methods of teaching has officially met the approval of the Catholic school board, the Kenora Daily Miner and News reports.

E-learning contact at the school Teresa Stevenson said that making content available to students through the internet has broken down the limitations of course scheduling conflicts.

She mentioned that the most successful aspect of this form of learning is that it can be used outside of the brick-and-mortar classroom by students who have commitments such as sports and extra-curricular activities - giving them the chance to learn independently when they have time.

"We're moving toward a 21st century school and our goal is to increase student engagement to reach all students," she said. "It's an opportunity for people who aren't vocal in the classroom.

"We don't look at it as taking away from the classroom, we look at it as adding a tool for the teachers."

Ms Stevenson continued that in a trial of an online system, students who were usually less vocal were able to find their voice and respond to challenges more confidently.

The school will use the virtual classroom as a forum of message boards where students can interact with each other regarding homework and other activities. It will also be a platform for lesson plans and accompanying documents to help the learners.

A recent report from the Australian showed that an increasing number of academic institutions are looking to online learning solutions.

The newspaper stated that courses across education, law, health, public policy, business and economics will be converted for online delivery, which will expand the resources for such courses and also enable an increased number of distance learners to take part.