Students Learning Less?
As the president of Virtual Training Associates (VTA), I am, of course intensely interested in what is occurring in the virtual training world no matter where it occurs. With this post, I am bothered to say that developments in the Denver Public School System (DPS) are echoing patterns in other parts of the country. Some of it directly relates to virtual training.
In the DPS, the claim is that students “are learning less online.”
According to research reported by the Keating Research, an educational research firm, (January 4-10, 2021):
- Two-thirds of parents feel that their student is learning less online. The feeling that children are learning less is prevalent among all parents across Denver, encompassing all school board districts
- Nearly 1-in-6 (17%) of Denver parents say they have moved their child out of DPS remote learning either through home schooling, transferring to a private school, or enrolling in another district
- Parents are most likely to feel that their child misses or has a hard time understanding lessons or that their child doesn’t interact or engage online
While there are other findings specific to the school districts themselves, the DPS findings in general were quite disturbing. To believe that students are learning less online, and that about 17 percent of students are being moved, is disturbing. Based on the research, a parent group, Transform Education Now (TEN), along with two others is calling for immediate action, to improve the virtual experience. These include:
- Measure and communicate student progress to parents, who have an urgent desire to understand whether their child is prepared to move to the next grade level.
- Work with school teams, students and families to develop creative solutions to mitigate learning loss, such as funding expanded learning opportunities, high intensity tutoring and social emotional support and student wellness programming.
3. Work with school teams, students and families to develop a common understanding of what it means to deliver a high-quality education in equitable ways
Important Points Raised for Corporations
To dismiss any commonalities in virtually training students versus corporate executives is disingenuous. Even as the pandemic slowly eases, and there are indications that virtual training will remain somewhat in place, there is widespread agreement that virtual training is, at best, a spotty proposition.
As I reviewed the various action points proposed by the parent groups, I could not help but note its applicability to everything we do at VTA. Not surprising to me at all, are the similarities in the desire for a better educational experience. While VTA focuses on issues such as corporate ethics, sports ethics and programs to target sexual harassment, there are common issues at play here.
I will re-purpose the comments made by parent group to corporate executives and employees.
- Measure and communicate student progress. At VTA we are intensely aware of students “getting” the material. Especially in dealing with ethical issues e.g., fraud, bribery, sexual harassment, for “students,” be they “C-level,” executives or the administrative staff to not get the lessons being taught is potentially catastrophic. It is why we monitor student progress and encourage feedback.
- Develop creative solutions. Our programs are customized to issues, industries, associations and timeframe. We use state-of-the-art production facilities to maintain a creative edge. The development of creative solutions is an important mission for us in a changing world.
- A common understanding of what it means to deliver a high-quality education in equitable ways. I can honestly say that at VTA, we are our toughest critics. We know what it means to deliver high-quality education, because we know the stakes are high.
Frankly, parents and CEOs should be dissatisfied with virtual training when the training fails to meet expectations. In the corporate workplace, employees who have not been trained to the highest standard fail everyone, including the trainer.
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