If you ask today’s learners worldwide, families who choose online public school for their students in grades K–12 may just be on the right track to set their kids up for future success. Pearson, parent company of Connections Academy®, released results from its Global Learner Survey in September 2019 that confirm that personalized online learning is a trend that’s likely to grow, not only for educating children, but also among adults in the modern workforce.
The Pearson Global Learner Survey spanned 19 countries and over 11,000 people ages 16– 70. The survey’s key findings seem to support what Connections Academy graduates have been telling us: Taking responsibility for your own education is great preparation for college, career, and lifelong learning. Keep reading to learn more about the insights gained from the survey.
The Growth of Online Learning
Survey respondents believe that in the next decade, digital and virtual learning will be the new normal. Two-thirds of people (67 percent) believe that more primary and secondary school students will be going to school online in the next 10 years.
Already, Connections Academy online public schools have more than 70,000 students enrolled in grades K–12 this year and provide a much-needed option for kids who have needs beyond traditional public schools.
Data gathered from Connections Academy families supports the belief that concern over school safety is a factor in this growth. Among online public school parents surveyed for the 2019 Parent Satisfaction Survey, 36 percent enroll their children in Connections Academy for a “safe environment” and 23 percent enroll “to avoid bullying.”
Do-It-Yourself Lifelong Learning
The traditional timeline of education being completed by young adulthood has changed. Lifelong learning is now a reality—and a necessity. In the U.S., 59 percent say that the world is shifting to a model where people participate in education over a lifetime. In the modern workforce, adults must be ready to reinvent and reeducate themselves for a changing marketplace. Furthermore, students are taking control and relying less on traditional institutions and turning more toward a self-service approach that includes online learning and short courses.
Connections Academy graduates who are now young adults have told us that they feel they are better prepared for college and the workforce than their peers who graduated from traditional schools because they have been empowered to take more ownership for their own learning. The online school environment fosters this ownership.
In addition, this “anytime, anywhere learning” gives online K–12 students a more flexible schedule, enabling them to attend school while also following other life pursuits. In fact, want a “flexible schedule” is the number one reason parents enroll their children in Connections Academy virtual schools.
Confidence in Traditional Education Wavers
Confidence in traditional education systems is wavering, especially in the U.S., where 60 percent of Americans say education systems are failing the current generation. Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe college is getting more out of reach for the average student. Almost as many in the U.S. don’t believe colleges and universities are teaching the right skills for today’s jobs.
Full-time online schools for grades K–12 like Connections Academy address this concern by providing high school students with the ability to personalize their learning according to their career interests by layering electives such as marine science, computer modeling, or journalism into their schedules. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are another great option. CTE courses can help students explore and prepare for career fields such as criminal justice, information systems, management, and early childhood education. Online learning also gives students the opportunity to learn time management skills that are valuable in the workplace.
Education Is Not Just About a College Degree
Even younger generations value education as a stepping stone to success—but they also are considering other nontraditional options. The incoming workforce is open to alternate pathways such as certificates and vocational or trade training.
The majority of students who attend Connections Academy virtual schools still plan to attain a two- or four-year college degree; however, the number of students planning to go straight to work has increased.
Penny Reeves, who has overseen College and Career programming at Connections Academy virtual schools for the past seven years says, “More students are also opting for a gap year because they aren’t quite sure yet what they want to study, and want to find their ‘passion or interest’ before earning a degree. During the gap year, many work (increasing the number we see of students entering the workforce), with the intention of transitioning to college after working or traveling for one or two years.”
Penny reports that many students who want to attend college but who cannot afford the cost are opting to work to save money so they can then transition to college once they’ve saved for tuition. Concern for the expense of college is another area that virtual school may help address. Connections Academy offers a wide range of Advanced PlacementⓇ* courses that may help students earn college credits. Additionally, students in some areas may have the opportunity to dual enroll in high school and college, using their scheduling flexibility to balance both.
Preparing for a bright future—personally, academically, and career-wise—--is a great reason to select online public school for grades K–12. The graphic below shows many more reasons why families make the decision to switch to educating their children at home with Connections Academy.
To learn how you can customize your student’s education for future success and be more involved, visit the website for Connections Academy online public school. Or to learn about online private school, visit Pearson Online Academy ’s website.
To view the full findings of the Global Learner Survey, visit https://plc.pearson.com/en-US/insights/pearson-global-learner-survey.