Insights

My Four Year Old Daughter, The Online Learner

By November 12, 2020No Comments

Written by Geoff Horsfall, Senior Product Manager

Last spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced most schools into a remote learning format, many parents struggled to help their young children adapt to online learning. Our President and Chief Innovation Officer, Dr. Page Chen, wrote about her experience in detail. My wife and I – our two daughters were in Kindergarten and Early Childhood Education (ECE), respectively – also struggled. At the time, a common refrain (perhaps a product of survival mode mentality) was “let’s just get through the end of the year. The kids will be back at school in the fall.” We were right…sort of.

Like many schools across the country, our daughters’ school has done heroic work in balancing the health of the school community with the educational needs of children through a combination of remote and blended learning. The staff has gone to great lengths to ensure that the online experience, in particular, is as clear, engaging, and impactful as possible for our kids. They have also done a great job of helping parents to understand our role in helping our kids to succeed. For all of this, they have our sincere gratitude.

It’s working, too: my eldest daughter, now in first grade, is successfully completing a larger online workload in less time and with far fewer tears. But perhaps even more compelling has been watching my four-year-old daughter, still in ECE, become a successful online learner herself. What initially motivated her to commandeer the laptop was to be like her big sister. What keeps her coming back and progressing is the pairing of her innate curiosity and a learning environment that sets her up for success – and that’s a winning formula at any age.

In a year that has us all looking for silver linings, one of mine has been the opportunity to engage with the sound learning principles that define our work at Remote Learner at their most basic level – one appropriate for a young child. When my daughter is asked to make a binary choice, the learning environment is utilizing the strategy of reduction. When she is rewarded with a pet hamster for her digital “room”, the learning environment is utilizing gamification.

Be it in higher ed or corporate training, it’s easy for sophisticated learning requirements or pressures associated with external factors to muddy the waters around what well-designed learning looks like. The simple truth, however, is that these foundational principles work: a well-designed learning management system will grow impact, whether your learners are four or sixty-four. Watching my daughter delight in her learning has reinvigorated this belief in me.

The exponential adoption of online learning in 2020 has at times felt like a runaway train and the goal is just to make it onboard before it passes you by. As we approach the end of the year, it seems clear to me that this rapid expansion of online learning is no fad. Regardless of your industry, this trend is going to be with us for a while. If you believe this, too, I would encourage you to make the time to pause, reflect, and examine your learning environment in the “back to basics” state of mind that I benefited from. You might be surprised by the clarity there is to be found.

If you’re interested in getting back to basics and could use a hand in making it happen, please book a demo with the Remote Learner team today.