Online learning platforms have been around for quite a while, but with the pandemic in the past two years, it seems there has been an explosion of online learning resources. As a parent or teacher, it can be a challenge to know how to sort the good from the bad.
While some of the programs have a lot to offer, others fall short and are even a waste of money. We’ll review some of the top online learning platforms for kids to help you see which are the best options in terms of e-learning for kids or students.
Types of Online Learning Platforms for Kids
There are several different types of online learning platforms for kids. Some teach a specific skill, like coding, while others help students with several subjects. Some provide kids with new information and some are focused on review.
You can find some programs that have scheduled meetings where kids get to interact with a teacher and other kids. Other programs let kids work at their own pace. You’ll find plenty of gamified platforms, while others have a more intrinsic reward, like learning to play the guitar.
Online learning is here to stay. It'll be interesting to see where these platforms go in the coming years.
What to Look for in an Online Learning Platform for Kids
Not all online learning platforms are created equal. Before your kids spend time and you spend money, it’s best to ensure you’re choosing a good one. One of the first things you should look for is who is behind the platform. What are their qualifications in regards to the subject matter? For example, if it’s a reading website, are the creators licensed to teach reading?
Next, pay attention to the actual content. Make sure that it’s both engaging and educational. Some platforms are more like video games with little educational content. Also, pay attention to the nature of the platform. Be sure that the platform offers something your kids wouldn’t be better off getting in the real world.
Most Popular Online Learning Platforms
Below are a few of the most popular online learning platforms for kids. We’ll give you an honest review of what these teaching platforms for kids get right and where they could use some improvement.
CodeSpark academy is a platform designed to teach kids between the ages of five and ten how to code. It uses simple blocks to teach kids the basics of coding – kids don’t even have to be able to read to get started. Kids play in a magical land with creatures called the Foos. They play games and solve puzzles, all while learning to code.
The platform is led by Joe Shochet, a former Disney Imagineer, so it has a good team behind it. However, some users worry that kids aren’t getting as much from the game as it seems. Some kids focus more on the gaming aspect and less on learning actual coding skills.
Amphy is a platform that contains online classes about a wide variety of subjects, from fitness to chess to business and finance. And they also offer online kids classes. You’ll find math classes, foreign language classes like Spanish and Serbian, cooking and coding classes, and much more.
If you click on one of the courses offered, you’ll be able to see the name of the teacher, the length of each class, the details of what will be taught, and the price. If you book a class for more than one child, they usually offer a reduced price.
This platform offers not only classes related to traditional school subjects such as math or foreign languages but also courses that will expose the child to fun activities like drawing or making puppets.
ABCMouse is a course designed to teach early learning basics for kids in preschool up to second grade. Kids complete activities and progress through levels as they learn letters, numbers, science, phonics, and more. There are lots of different activities including games, videos, books, songs, coloring, etc.
ABCMouse has some great features, including reports that let you keep track of your kid’s progress. The game offers tickets that kids can use to upgrade items in a virtual store. While this can be highly motivating for kids, many educators find that the kids become more concerned with the prizes than with the actual learning. As kids get older, they can continue with the brand’s other site, Adventure Academy.
Khan Academy is an online learning platform run by a nonprofit organization. It’s free to use and offers math and language arts courses for K-12 students, including the app Khan Kids, which has a wealth of activities for kids ages three to seven. There are also many middle and high school level courses, including test prep.
The site provides short videos that break down concepts so that students can understand them. There are also practice exercises. While many teachers and students use Khan Academy for their primary coursework, more use it as a way to supplement lessons that they don’t understand. Khan Academy isn’t gamified at all, so some students may find it less motivating than some other platforms. However, it’s great at providing kids with a lot of knowledge.
IXL is for kids from Pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. It lists itself as a comprehensive curriculum, but it’s more of a supporting curriculum. It’s a great platform for students to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. When they get something wrong, the site guides them through the skill.
IXL has math, arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. We like that it lets kids take a diagnostic test so that you can see their weaknesses. When working on practicing problems, the work gets progressively harder but slows down if a student is struggling. The program is great for kids who need a little extra help in a subject.
Online learning is here to stay. It’ll be interesting to see where these platforms go in the coming years. The best ones will continue to innovate, and hopefully make the learning process even more interactive, engaging, and enriching for our kids.