Facilitated distance and online learning goes back decades, however, since 2020, the need for an effective digital curriculum has moved from the periphery of education to the forefront. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, digital curriculum often served as a supplemental educational tool in programs like credit recovery and independent study. Suddenly, its use shifted to the mainstream classrooms across the world as online instruction became the staple format of remote learning.
Now that some schools are making the move back to in-person classes, it’s important to take lessons we learned from widespread virtual learning and apply them to the mainstream classroom. In this post, we’ll discuss the key elements of using a digital curriculum as a core instructional resource and the advantages that it presents to both students and educators.
Benefits to Students
Digital curriculum platforms like Courseware, Edmentum’s standards-aligned curriculum program, allow students to receive instruction independently and at their own pace. Having the flexibility to learn about new concepts online can be empowering to students, as they can determine where, how, and when they learn best. An online curriculum also enables students to exempt out of content they’ve already demonstrated mastery in via pretests. This allows for a personalized learning experience where students can focus on their knowledge gaps without having to retake content they already understand.
Self-Monitoring of Learning
With Courseware, as students work through lessons, they’ll encounter multiple formative assessment questions that check for understanding. Whether they answer an assessment question right or wrong, they always receive feedback on what the correct answer is and a brief explanation of why it’s correct. This instant feedback lets students gauge whether they’re on the right track. Once students complete lessons, they move on to mastery tests that the system automatically grades upon submission, letting students know whether they are ready to move forward to the next module or they need to revisit previous content.
One-size-fits-all learning does not apply to most learners. Some learners need visuals to understand concepts, others need to read comprehensive explanations, and others learn best by listening. Media-rich courses offer information in different ways so that various modes of learning can be addressed. Additionally, with an online curriculum, students will often have access to a variety of tools and features that help them interact with the content they’re learning. Do they need to highlight text? Pause and replay a video? Access a translating tool? Enable click-to-speak? Refer to a dictionary or glossary? All of these are built-in features in Courseware and are readily accessible for online learners to help them better engage with the content they’re learning.
Benefits to Educators
Time is a precious resource for busy educators. You’re planning lessons, grading, handling administrative tasks, interacting with students one-on-one—there’s so much to do and such little time. By using an online curriculum as a core instructional resource, many of the time-consuming tasks that used to take you hours are now streamlined. Rather than spend valuable time lesson planning, you can create custom courses with the standards-based content and resources already available in Courseware. And, because many of the assignments are system graded, you’ll be able to focus your time on grading the open-ended responses that require your expert feedback and increasing one-on-one interactions with your students.
Instructional Models to Explore
With a digital curriculum in place, you have the flexibility to explore a wide variety of blended learning models that can have a positive impact on student engagement and learning. Once you find a model that best fits you and your students, you could effectively have individual learners in your class focusing on exactly what they need to learn to better understand concepts at their own pace. Check out our blended learning how-to guide to get a better idea of how a variety of models work.
Instruction Driven with Actionable Data
Actionable data is an important commitment of Edmentum, which is why we make it a priority to offer educators using Courseware powerful reporting capabilities to easily pinpoint whether students are on, below, or above pace. With Courseware, you get real-time access to actionable data that you can immediately use for driving instruction, rather than having to set time aside to grade paper-based assignments before you can determine the next steps. This digital visibility into student progress enables you to always know which students get it and which students need additional support.