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Is Online Learning More Effective for People with Autism?

One of the fastest growing uses of technology is for online education. Students enrolled in online university degree programs has increased in recent years, but more interesting is the increase in students with autism who are foregoing campus life to study in virtual classrooms. While this all sounds great, the trend towards online learning raises the question of just how effective online education is compared to traditional education? According to a recent study conducted by SRI International for the US Department of Education, online learners performed slightly better than students in traditional face-to-face classrooms. One key finding in the report indicated that students doing course work online ranked higher on average. Though this significant difference doesn’t mean the end of traditional classrooms, it will help put an end to the myth that online learning is inferior to traditional learning. It will also help foster greater interest in developing technology geared specifically to education.

Advantages of Online Learning

Flexibility Learning online you can choose your own learning environment that works best for your needs. The learning environment may be your bedroom, your kitchen table, or your family room. Whichever space you choose, you can decide on a space that works best for you.

Commuting Now that you learning online, you don’t have to commute to class. This means a LOT less time spent on the bus or other forms of public transportation.You no longer have to worry about being late to class because of traffic! More Engaging A study was conducted at California State University in San Bernadino. They found that two different sets of students, one group who studied online, and the other who went to class—who received the same instruction from the same professor fared equally well in terms of performance. However, the study revealed that online students were less intimidated about participating, and that there was a higher-quality of interaction between students and the professor. Immediate Feedback It appears that online learners may have more contact with their instructors than classroom learners. Online students are generally asked to complete more frequent assessments so that instructors can monitor their competence. Because of this, learning gaps can be identified and addressed faster, rather than allowing a struggling student to slip through the cracks until exam time. Preparation for Technology Driven Workforce Getting comfortable with technology is an advantage to online education. As technology advances, individuals with autism are having to keep up with technology that will impact their daily lives. Regardless of what industry you decide to work in, becoming proficient in technology for video conferencing is a skill set that you're going to need in the future.

Technology is the future for Individuals with Autism

Online learning provides an opportunity for technology to be integrated directly into the curriculum. This assists students with being supported in new and engaging methods of visual instruction. Curriculum can be offered in a variety of formats tailored to the individual’s needs and match student learning styles.

Technology is changing our world. It is critical that individuals on the autistic spectrum become proficient in technology that is used worldwide. It is also important that these skills be assessed at least quarterly to ensure that there are no gaps in learning. As technology is ever-changing, it will be imperative that people on the spectrum are able to stay current on the latest technology.