The Future of Learning: Exploring the Benefits of Distance Education

Hillcrest_Distance Education_VLC

In a post-pandemic world, many families are looking at making the switch from traditional schooling to a more flexible, distance education program. So, what are the benefits of learning online?

Hillcrest Christian College’s Virtual Learning Community (VLC) offers an independent, quality education, without ever having to step into a classroom. Here are ten benefits of starting your journey in the VLC:

10. No school pick-ups! While your friends are ferrying their children to and from school, stressed about school traffic and trying to beat the morning and afternoon rush, you can take it easy, knowing that the furthest you have to travel is from your bedroom to your living room.

9. No homework! A good distance education program will allow you to structure the school-week around your family’s busy schedule, meaning that homework becomes a thing of the past. Students in the VLC engage in live online lessons with their teachers and peers, can attend optional help desk (tutorial) sessions, and have independent tasks to complete at a time that suits them. Some students find it helpful to set aside a certain amount of time each day; some students like to work around dance or sport schedules; some like to work longer days at the start of the week and have a lighter load at the end of the week. The good news is, the choice is yours!

8. The hard work is done for you – Many families like the idea of home-schooling, but don’t know where to start when it comes to planning units of work. The benefit of distance education is that the curriculum is prepared by teaching staff, appropriate to your child’s skills and abilities. In the VLC, qualified and passionate teachers craft engaging units of work in a Design-Centred Learning approach, so students can see the relevance and connections to the world around them.

7. We take the reporting process off your hands – Most parents who are navigating home-schooling or distance education, don’t come from a teaching background themselves. This can make it challenging when it comes to the process of compulsory reporting on your child’s achievement. The great news is that in a distance education program, qualified teachers assess your child’s progress in all curriculum areas, and provide you with a formal report. In the VLC, we go a step further by having a progressive reporting structure, which means you can access your child’s feedback and grades as soon as their assessment has been completed. No waiting for the end of semester report; information about your child’s learning journey is always a click away.

6. You can see what your child is learning – Instead of having to ask the dreaded question, “What did you do at school today?”, you will already know! In the VLC, each parent has their own digital dashboard where you have access to your child’s timetable, school calendar, upcoming assessment tasks, school results, photos from school events, parent information, and more.

5. Raising responsible digital citizens – Students in the VLC use technology as a daily tool to access their learning. As well as building foundational literacy and numeracy skills, students also learn how to be digitally-literate, as they build an ever-expanding toolbox of online skills required to communicate, create and critique. Students find out what it means to leave a positive digital footprint, as they learn how to be good digital citizens.

4. A sense of belonging – Traditionally, distance education programs have not been synonymous with a sense of belonging and community. Many parents question whether taking their child out of an on-campus school will leave them socially isolated. The VLC takes the ‘distance’ out of distance education by providing an educational model that supports student wellbeing and promotes emotional intelligence, in a values-driven environment. We foster a sense of community and belonging through many facets of our program. Students interact with their peers in daily, online Life Groups (pastoral care sessions) which encourage young people to discuss current events, unpack personal and College values, learn life-skills and have fun together, outside of their academic classes. Students also have regular opportunities to come together in-person, through a series of enrichment days, social events and College-based activities. For those that live close to campus, they can be involved in weekly inter-school sport, musicals, after-school clubs, instrumental lessons, external competitions, and more. 

3. Time for the things that matter – In a traditional learning environment, the school day can get very hectic with all of the ‘extras’; transitions between classes, frequent disruptions due to student behaviour, house meetings, waiting for other students to catch up, or the feeling of falling behind. In the VLC, your home is the learning environment, and you can tailor the day around our live lessons, to suit what works best for your child and your family. Learning doesn’t generally take as long as it does on-campus, because all of the distractions are gone. With all of this extra time, students can focus on the things they love, their interests and their passions – after all, that’s often where true learning happens, even if it is outside of the typical school day!

2. Taking the stress out of the morning shift – For students with social anxiety, school mornings can be a stressful experience, for parents and children alike. With record numbers of students experiencing school refusal (in October 2022, the Australian Senate referred the national trend of school refusal and related matters to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report), some parents are at a loss as to how they can support their child’s wellbeing, while still providing continuity of education. The VLC works with families to support each student’s social-emotional needs, and families have full access to our College wellbeing staff, such as counsellors and chaplains.

1. ​A personalised program for every learner – Not all distance education programs are created equal! In the VLC, each student has their own Individual Learning Plan (ILP) where teachers, parents and students work together to identify strengths, aspirations, goals and challenges for each child. Education shouldn’t be a one-size fits all model, and so ILPs allow us to support your child and help bring out their very best.

The future of distance education is here. If you would like to explore the benefits of attending the Virtual Learning Community, please contact us at www.hillcrestvlc.school or on 07 5593 4226.

Author: Danni Foster-Brown

Head of Virtual Learning Community

Distance Education suited to your family and lifestyle

Hillcrest Christian College’s Virtual Learning Community (VLC) offers your family a truly flexible Distance Education learning experience, so your child can access an exceptional independent school education to suit your family’s lifestyle.

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