When considering online learning, students, parents and educators should be aware of several characteristics that make successful online learners. While these qualities are certainly not required to do well in Independent Study High School courses, I have noticed that several of our students demonstrate these characteristics during their time with us, and applying these skills after graduating high school often leads to successful college and career experiences.

Throughout this series, we will discuss the following characteristics:

  1. Enthusiasm & curiosity for learning
  2. Organization
  3. Study skills
  4. Intellectual thinking
  5. Being well rounded

So, let’s kick off this series with enthusiasm and curiosity. I was recently inspired by one of our students, Makaylo, who is traveling the world to teach English to children.

"Ahh—claiming and embracing education! I have been re-inspired by these young children to treat my education like the great privilege it has always been."

I think Makaylo makes an excellent point about focusing on the privilege of our education, and we should see each opportunity to learn and be taught as a benefit to us. Learning as efficiently and effectively as possible requires enthusiasm, curiosity and effort from our students. They are more likely to be engaged in the content and execute assignments when they connect their passion with their course work.

To assist students, we have incorporated “Teacher Connect” activities within courses in WayCool, which provide open-ended questions and encourage students to expand on their interests. These questions also encourage interaction between students and teachers, which is very important but often overlooked in online education.

If students approach their learning with enthusiasm and curiosity, one of the results will be an attitude of content mastery rather than just “learning for the test.” The ability to connect concepts with facts enhances mastery and becomes a lifelong skill.

We look forward to discussing the characteristic of organization in the next several weeks, as well as providing suggestions and resources to help students be more successful.