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How Online Schools Are Facilitating Mastery Learning

Boy using VR glasses holding molecular model

The biggest challenge that a conventional education system poses is the antiquated factory-based school model. It is incompetent in making the experience of passing knowledge immersive for the different students in a classroom. Everyone is unique and has different needs and potential that can only be met through a personalized approach. Mastery learning embraces a different approach of focus, ensuring that a child masters a specific area of the subject before moving on to the next or advanced level. This approach is being widely espoused by online schools for all the right reasons. 

The Problem?

The problem with the traditional approach is that if we force every learner to carry on to the next level without completely grasping the fundamental principles of any subject, their foundation of knowledge is profusely compromised. While, it may not lead to large problems straight away, but the further they delve into that subject the more apparent the gaps tend to become.

However, personalized learning is ostensibly considered a luxury in education. Several factors such as vast student-to-teacher ratio are prominent across the globe and every culture has also witnessed issues with gaining and retaining teachers in this difficult economic climate only make the concept of personalized learning seem like a far-fetched dream. However, online schools are espousing a new approach of focusing on the building blocks of personalized learning instead of focusing on the whole spectrum of ideal. They are embracing an approach that suggests that every student is on their own track. 

While the idea of mastery learning was discarded over and over again due to it being logistically difficult and impractical, the digital age seems to be blowing a new life into this idea. Students can view an explanation for any concept at their own pace and time with several videos available as many times as they want, saving them the embarrassment of getting their doubts cleared in front of other people. They get access to these videos made by different teachers on the same topic to ensure that even if a student is unable to comprehend the teaching style of a particular teacher, they can understand it through another teacher’s perspective. Similarly, if a student needs to practice and may require feedback, one can use several available adaptive exercises. These formative practice quizzes or exercises keep the learners actively engaged as they test and engineer their mental models en route to demonstrating mastery of the material, truly making education fun

Can they be made effective? 

Kid presenting his science home project - the planets of our solar system in Online - learning education.

A student presenting his science home project – the planets of our solar system in Online – learning education.

The effectiveness of these formative practice assessments profusely depends on how accurately they provide immediate and actionable feedback to the learners. Irrefutably, this is where online school excels, they allow you to truly understand where one may be lacking, stimulating individualized feedback in the tutoring sessions. Thus, effectively doing away with the “mug-up- pass – forget” technique. Juxtaposing the same, in the traditional education system, Students force information into their short-term memory with the sole purpose to pass a test, and then completely forget the information soon after. Online schools’ philosophy towards education understands that this is certainly not learning. Teaching to mastery ensures that students really learn and remember the material, helping them discover, fathom, decipher and grasp the material at their own pace.

Online schools are now focusing on teaching students how to learn, the customized technique that may help them comprehend knowledge. Once a learner understands how to learn, the world is open to them. They can gain the knowledge needed to meet their personal goals. Online schools are emphasizing that learning doesn’t halt when a student graduates. Learning throughout life helps people ameliorate throughout their lives and excel at their jobs. In this ever-evolving, technology-driven world, keeping up with the latest developments is integral for job security and advancement. Espousing new skills and gaining new knowledge keeps the brain healthy, as well. Hence, truly nurturing the learners. 

Unfettered to that, online schools leverage the integrated artificial intelligence that emphasizes helping teachers observe flaws and patterns in the learning material or help them identify the students that may be struggling and falling behind. Hence, the teacher’s role significantly shifts from only imparting knowledge to guiding and facilitating each student through several exercises that each learner is completing, rendering them the much-required freedom to engage with every learner. Online school teachers are increasingly embracing this combination of personalized learning and cooperative learning that’s self-paced and educators ensure that learners learn through interaction and engagement. This style of the educational system also allows students to participate in group discussions and broaden their learning by teaching and helping each other. Online schools are revolutionizing the learning process and giving hope to all the individuals who wish to truly learn. Online schools have created an educational system that fits in with every learner’s schedules and needs irrespective of age, psych, or circumstances which may have proved to be an obstacle in them adapting to the traditional way of education.

Hence online schools are not just facilitating mastery learning but are also doing away with the stereotype of “weak students” saving the learners from the contempt and a feeling of despondency that accompanies it. They are truly shaping the leaders of tomorrow and helping them redefine “failure” in their eyes. The online schools are irrefutably emanating a very important lesson that not being able to understand a concept is not a sign of their incompetency but a need for a different model of education. By shifting this feeling of failure to one of empowerment, with strong and guided steps on improving, they are teaching learners that failure is innate in life and how one requires it to accentuate how one can proceed. It is not a term that defines one for eternity, it’s simply a natural part of life that helps us identify the areas we need to emphasize upon.


Mastery learning has been wonderfully adapted by online schools by leveraging the digital spectrum and the prospects of education seem even better.  The future advances in artificial intelligence will certainly support teachers even more and help transform personalized learning into the “new normal”.

Online schooling surely comes with its challenges but when you take care of the minor hurdles it can be an extremely rewarding experience. If you have any questions about online schooling feel free to reach out to us on info@21kschool.com or message us on our social media platforms and we will be happy to help.

To find out if online schooling is right for you click here.