The conveniency of online driver’s education has been pulling students away from traditional in-room teaching. With expanding internet resources, any student has the chance to finish their driver’s ed online in the comfort of their home. However, a lack of statistics has lead to the questioning of the effectiveness of online driver’s education compared to traditional driver’s education in classrooms.
According to Branham alumni Aidan Kirwan’s book, “Branham: A Passionate History”, a driver’s ed program was offered district-wide during the beginning of Branham‘s opening. Former instructor, Roger Smith, would pull students out of classes into a specially designed room that simulated a behind-the-wheel experience. The instructor also took students around the parking lot and off campus to be evaluated on their driving skills. In the re-opening of Branham in 1999, Ronald Smare was the driver’s education instructor who taught the academic portion, while students had to hire an outside company for the Behind-the-wheel portion.
Students who do the driver’s ed training must be self-motivated and have the option to learn at their own pace with online driver’s education. These courses usually include interactive quizzes, tests, and checkpoints to mark progression. Upon completion, a Certificate of Completion is mailed to the person’s home as proof that they completed a driver’s ed course, which is required to take the DMV permit test.
Of course, there are pros and cons to both traditional driver’s ed and online driver’s ed. However, the effectiveness of a online driver’s education course also depends on how well the course is made. If it contains lengthy screens of text with easy tests, it is not going to be helpful. If it has interactive animations with personalized feedback and assignments, it is likely going to be an effective learning experience. Therefore, it is up to the student to choose a practical course and make efficient use of the material.
Senior Neil Mckibben sharing his opinion on online driver’s ed, said, “I feel like online classes are the best way to teach driver’s education because of the concepts are fairly basic, most of it was pure memorization.” Another senior, Dylan Lam, agreed that there wasn’t a lot of material for the online course and said, “I could work at my own pace and I could stop or continue whenever I wanted.”
Educator Ronald Smare highlighted that online classes don’t address emotional and social responsibility aspects of driver’s education in a meaningful way although they may address the academic side. It also doesn’t allow for active discussion, debates, or student to teacher interaction. In other words, the effectiveness of an online course is debatable but what matters in the end is whether it fits the student’s learning style.