We get it. Families are busy. After sports, homework, music lessons, and all of your teen's other extracurriculars, squeezing in driver education programs can be tough. That's why so many parents are turning to driver's ed online classes. They allow your teen to work on a schedule that is convenient to your family, and they are certified in many states nationwide.
But what are these classes like, and how do they work? We've prepared a short guide to help you understand the mechanics of online driving school for teens.
What Is Online Driver's Education?
Traditionally, driver education programs have been conducted in person, in a classroom. The instruction takes place for a specified number of hours that may vary depending on the state's requirements. Usually, in-person behind-the-wheel instruction time is included as part of the course.
Online driver's ed is a little different. Like the name implies, the classes are online. Students receive course materials through a web program. They read their lessons and complete activities on their own time, at their own pace. Often, the activities include games, quizzes, videos, animations, and other flashy, fun items to keep teenagers engaged.
"The online classes help students by letting them work from virtually anywhere," said Ben Murphy, Driver's Education Teacher at Chuckey-Doak High School in Afton, Tenn. "They also allow a 'work at your own pace' method."
There are no set hours, so teens can get their driving instruction done anytime. They can power through and finish it all in a few days or do an hour a day between homework and football practice. This is a great option for teenagers who don't want to participate in yet another class during the early morning hours or right after school when in-person classes are usually held.
Why Choose Drivers Ed Online?
OK, online driver's education sounds great, but is it right for your teenager? Let's look at the pros and cons.
"I think online classes are a good idea for schools and communities where there are no available driving classes as it prepares students for the permit exam," said Murphy. He also believes that an online course could work well for students who might need more time to re-read materials and drill themselves on the facts for the written exam. These students can repeat quizzes and other online activities as many times as necessary so that they can pass the test.
Online classes are also great for students who get easily distracted by their peers, need lots of breaks, or need to work at odd hours. Driver's ed online can also be more financially feasible for a lot of families. It is usually less expensive than in-person classroom instruction.
The downside is that students don't get as much opportunity for in-person interaction with a driving instructor. Some students thrive in a classroom atmosphere where they can ask questions and participate in class discussions. If this is the case for your child, you might want to consider an in-person driving school.
What About Behind-the-Wheel Instruction?
According to Murphy, online driving classes can help students prepare for the written exam, but there is no substitute for behind-the-wheel time. "As with a lot in life, online classes can't prepare the new driver for real-life experiences," he said.
That's why all online driver's ed students must also sign up for behind-the-wheel instruction. Most online driver education programs partner with local driving instructors to provide this hands-on experience.
Enroll Your Child in an Online Driving School for Teens
Still have questions about online driver's ed programs? Get in touch with the experts at DriversEd.com. We'd be happy to answer your questions.