Why would successful, Christian, college-preparatory schools offer online learning to their constituents when the news for online learning in the last 10 years has had mixed reviews? The short answer is - for many of the same reasons that Oaks Christian school in Westlake Village, CA, has invested in blended and online learning for the last 5 years – and the long answer is – for a myriad of reasons, some of which are listed below.
- to improve course flexibility for students who need to leave school for a semester, are involved in high-level sports, have a specific learning disability addressed through additional time in an online course, have had an illness or are under concussion protocol, need to remediate, need to accelerate, have a course conflict, need additional credits or are semi-professional in music, the arts or athletics;
- to increase awareness of 21st century learning skills and disruptive innovation as outlined in Partnerships for 21st Century Learning and the seminal books Disrupting Class and Blended respectively;
- to better prepare college-preparatory high school students for college where according to the most recent NMC Horizon Report on Higher Education, the Pearson/SloanC Changing Course Report and the Educause Report on the State of ELearning in Higher Education, nearly every higher education institution has a major interest in elearning;
- to help top-tier schools strategically plan for the future through efficient course planning and design; richer, leveled and shared course offerings; shared professional development; outreach to local students in their geographic sphere of influence; summer school offerings; and shared future development of human capital and leadership thinking;
- and finally, to address what students and parents are requesting in terms of flexibility and autonomy in their educational careers.