Online learning is one of the benefits of technology in the education sector. As technology advancement led to the development of social platforms where interaction could be made possible online, the education sector took the advantage that and came up with learning classes that are conducted on the online social platforms (Byers, 2015). Critics say that the adoption of online learning has advantages as well as its shortcomings that people need to identify, evaluate, and understand. K12 students are among the learners around the world who have taken advantage of the social interaction platforms to continue their learning process at the comfort of their homes, that way; they do not have to, necessarily, attend classes for face-to-face learning processes. It is important to evaluate the benefits of online learning among K12 students and the possible adverse effects of the same based on Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model.
Setting self-pace is one of the benefits that online learning offers to K12 students. Unlike the traditional learning where there is lack of personal speed, online learning offers the k12 students an opportunity to move at their own pace in learning since the learning involve an individual. In the traditional learning, the tutor or lecturer have to make sure that all the students understand what is being taught thereby results to waste of time for students who understand the subject in one teaching (Byers, 2015). In online learning, the student sets his or her own pace for example for a k12 student whose understanding is very high will spent less time learning a topic while students who take a long time to understand the topic also have the time to spend as much time as possible online to understand the topic. Secondly, individual attention from the teachers is another benefit that online learning offers to K12 students (Harris-Packer & Segol, 2015). Unlike traditional learning where all students in a classroom seek the attention of the teacher, online learning gives the student an opportunity to have all the attention of the teacher on him or her only. This single attention of the teacher creates an environment for the students to concentrate more and understand all the explanation that the teacher is offering to him or her (Harris-Packer & Segol, 2015). Lastly, learning online encourages the K12 students to have an open environment with their tutors or their lectures. Online students have lively discussions with their teachers that in turn also help them in improving their interpersonal communication skills and become more direct in handling issues since they can express themselves more clearly.
However, taking a keener look at the role of online writing in the lives of the K12 students based on Bronfenbrenner's bioecological model, the processes have adverse effects that need to be evaluated as well. The most important ecological systems to evaluate in understanding the adverse effects of online learning on K12 students include the mesosystem and the microsystem (Ruppar, Allcock & Gonsier-Gerdin, 2017). Understanding the microsystem requires that one understands the prefix "micro," which has an origin in the Greek language meaning "small." In the nested systems by Bronfenbrenner, the microsystem is the one that is most immediate (Harvey, Greer, Basham & Hu, 2014). The microsystem includes people's interpersonal interactions and the individual relationships with their immediate surroundings. Online learning promotes the use of laptops, handsets, and computers that use the internet to connect to online social platforms that such students may easily get addicted to. Such addictions lead to reduced interaction between parents and their children (Smith, 2011). The relationship between learners and their parents is important as the parents get to understand the milestones their children make as far as learning is concerned. In some cases, parents become tutors to their children, but that can only happen effectively if such parents have a positive relationship with their children. Another important ecosystem conceptualized by Bronfenbrenner and can be applicable to the case of online learning by the K12 students is the mesosystem (Ruppar, Allcock & Gonsier-Gerdin, 2017). The Mesosystem can be used to explain the relationship between the parents of the learners and the school. In the case of online learning, the school does not exist, that makes it impossible for the parents to develop a relationship with an institution that offers their children education. That way, the parents may not know the progress of their children educationally (Harvey, Greer, Basham & Hu, 2014). The social lives of their children may also remain unknown it them as the children do their online learning without having to get the chance of making friends in school, interacting with them, and sharing their experiences.
In summary, the ecosystems conceptualized by Bronfenbrenner can be used to in the in-depth evaluation and analysis of online learning effects on the learning processes by the K12 students. Online learning could lead to antisocial behaviors, reduced interaction between parents and their children and generally poor social skills that may affect the ability of the learners to the ability to learn properly in the long run. K12 students who study online perform better as compared to K12 students who still use traditional learning simply because of the open environment that the online learning offers to its students. The traditional learning strategies mainly involved classroom learning where teachers meet students face-to-face so that the process of learning can be conducted successfully. Parents should consider offering their children a chance to enjoy the numerous benefits of online learning to enable them to increase their chances of learning in a favorable environment.
Byers, T. (2015). The empirical evaluation of the transition from traditional to New Generation Learning Spaces on teaching and learning. Mapping learning environment evaluation across the design and education landscape, 32.
Harris-Packer, J. D., & Segol, G. (2015). An empirical evaluation of distance learning's effectiveness in the K-12 setting. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(1), 4-17.
Harvey, D., Greer, D., Basham, J., & Hu, B. (2014). From the student perspective: Experiences of middle and high school students in online learning. American Journal of Distance Education, 28(1), 14-26.
Ruppar, A. L., Allcock, H., & Gonsier-Gerdin, J. (2017). Ecological factors affecting access to general education content and contexts for students with significant disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 38(1), 53-63.
Smith, L. (2011). Applying the bioecological theory of human development to learning. Enhancing student engagement in online learning. In 10th Teaching Matters Annual Conference. Sharing practice (Vol. 5, pp. 1-8).
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