The traditional approach to schooling was challenged at the beginning of the pandemic, leaving many parents questioning whether the current setup is really the best way to educate their children. Mass shutdowns and a sudden switch to eLearning exposed a lot of inefficiencies in the schooling system. As institutions struggled to provide meaningful learning opportunities to their students from a distance, microschools began to take off and have steadily grown increasingly popular.
Microschools aim to break away from the standardized schooling model where the student body is regarded as a monolith and assigned a generalized curriculum. Microschools are more focused on smaller groups of students. Instead of teaching to the middle of the curve and hoping the outliers adjust accordingly, microschools aim to provide each student with individualized attention.
Let’s take a deeper look at microschools and how they are transforming K12 education.
What are Microschools?
Microschools are intimate learning spaces consisting of a limited number of students. The number of students can vary, however, most microshools limit groups to up to twenty-five students. The learners can come from various grade levels and are led by learning coaches or guides.
The idea is for students to determine their own pace and mode of learning, with a greater dependency on ed-tech than traditional classrooms. Microschools are free to encourage a specific learning culture, which can range from a formal academic curriculum to project-based learning, and everything in between. The coaches also reinforce learning via group exercises.
Microschools can be home-based, ad-hoc, or accredited by the state. It can be as informal as a living room gathering or based in a more formal setting. This flexibility of microschools is what attracts educators and parents alike.
Why are Microschools Getting So Popular?
What attracts most people to microschools is the concept of giving students the reins for their own learning. The curriculum in these groups is non-rigid and subject to flexibility. Since many groups have learners from various grade levels, this is not unexpected.
Teachers in microschools act as guides who introduce students to valuable resources and let them find answers themselves. If a student is not receptive to a certain learning path, they can experiment with different ways to learn until they find what they best respond to. In this way, the individual needs of the students are taken care of.
Allowing students to be a stakeholder in their own education not only empowers them but also motivates them to learn.
Blended and Flexible Learning
With rapidly changing times, the emphasis on eLearning has only grown stronger. Traditional schooling methods have been trying to catch up with this trend but with such large numbers of students to cater to, many have fallen short. These schools also struggle with revising their curriculum in a way that leverages technology. Microschools can efficiently address both.
Having fewer students and the freedom to be flexible, microschools can incorporate ed-tech with relative ease. Lessons can be created keeping blended learning options in mind. Students have the freedom to choose how they want to take their lessons and create their own blend of in-person and online learning that suits them.
Since most microschools start small, they are community driven. Parents, teachers, and students are all involved in the learning process. The more involved parents are in their children’s learning, the better they can understand their learning styles. This can help them create optimal learning environments at home and make distance learning much more effective.
Additionally, parents can choose the kind of microschool that their children would best connect to. Since microschools can vary greatly in terms of their learning styles, having the option to choose means that many parents end up preferring microschools over regular schooling.
Can Help Underserved Students
Many learners, due to a variety of reasons, are unable to keep up with regular schooling. The traditional schooling system can overlook many economically disadvantaged or differently-abled students. Schools also have poorly managed dropout recovery or adult learning programs.
All of these students can find much more meaningful learning opportunities in a setting that is created specifically for their benefit. Microshools offer a variety of funding options as well as other kinds of accommodations to cater to these learners.
Quick to Get Up and Running
With very little cost to set up, and minimal administrative staff required, microschools are logistically much easier to set up. All they need to focus on is coming up with the right kind of curriculum and learning culture, and the rest can be taken care of easily. Since the barrier to entry for creating a microschool is fairly low, the number of such learning groups can increase rapidly, making them more accessible than ever.
While the advent of mircoschools is still in its infancy, the concept is picking up with great speed. Many states in the US are witnessing this shift. In fact, Arizona has a fast-growing microschool enterprise, Prenda, serving about 550 students already.
Creating a personalized, intimate learning experience via a microschool comes with many challenges. Managing your content, coaches, and learners at the same time is no easy feat. A good place to start would be by choosing a Learning Management System that can help keep you organized. Fortunately, Edly has the best-in-class K12 LMS that can help you create the learning experience you envision.
To learn more about the Edly platform and see which features would be best for your microschool, feel free to get in touch with us and request a free demo!