Education today has dramatically shifted to home-based e-learning programs. Estimates show that there are 1.2 billion children who are out of the classroom. It has increased the demand for early learning online and distance education programs that are undertaken via digital platforms.
Consider several crucial factors before choosing the type of digital learning for your child. This is especially true for children below five years of age.
Factor #1–Devices They Have Access To
It may not be a good idea to let your three-year-old sit in front of your laptop and watch videos. You don’t want these younger children to have access to your keyboard. They may change settings by accident, which may disrupt the learning process.
Consider the type of devices that can be used by your preschoolers. Some early learning online programs allow you to use other devices such as tablets, iPad, phone, and even the TV. Of course, digital learning is not all about screen time.
There should be time for other activities and lessons that do not involve looking at a screen. The supported devices should aid in your child’s education. Not every child has access to laptops or mobile devices, so consider which ones are available to you.
Factor #2–Instructions and Lessons Tailored to Your Child’s Needs
Another important factor to consider when choosing early learning online programs is the type of instruction and lessons. They should be custom-tailored to the specific needs of your child. The lessons should be age-specific as well. You shouldn’t expect a three-year-old kid to have the same cognitive and learning ability as a five-year-old child.
The instructors should be able to assess the level of each child and accommodate their specific needs. The tech skills of each student should also be considered by instructors as well. Note that some lessons may be interactive where children may have to use a touch screen, mouse, or touchpad.
Factor #3–Digital Privacy
One of the challenges of early learning online is maintaining digital privacy. Educators should ensure that their platforms will allow learners and their parents to remain secure inside their digital environment.
Some experts believe that there will be an uptick in phishing activities since everyone is turning to digital channels for pretty much any kind of transaction. The security of student information and the information of their parents and guardians should be tightened.
Security measures should be implemented with regards to the app or website being used, email, and other instructional resources being used in early learning online. Check if they guarantee compliance with regulations such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Factor #4–Programs That Increase Human Connections
Digital technology should be used to strengthen relationships between children and their parents, not substitute for them. The program should also be able to foster bonds between educators and students, and if possible, a child’s relationship with other students in the same online learning program.
There is evidence that even toddlers can engage in video chat interactions in groups. Of course, there will be a huge need for parental support in these endeavors.
Digital technology should bridge these relationships and foster future face to face interactions when they can be made available in the future.
These are the biggest factors that you should consider when selecting a digital learning platform for early learning. Your child will need your support as they stay home and learn to interact with the world around them.