What is self-organized learning?

The American Online School focuses on self-organized learning as an educational concept in which learners are largely responsible for their own learning process. It involves learners taking control of their education by determining and organizing their own learning goals, methods and times. Self-organized learning can be applied to a variety of educational settings and ages, from elementary school to higher education and beyond.

Here are some important characteristics and principles of self-organized learning:

Ownership: learners are responsible for their own education and must set and pursue their own learning goals. They decide what they want to learn and by when.

Self-determination: learners have the freedom to choose how they want to learn. They can choose which resources to use, which learning methods to use, and at what pace to progress.

Self-reflection: Self-organized learning encourages learners to monitor and evaluate their own progress. They reflect on what they have learned and how they can improve their learning.

Variety of resources: learners can use a variety of other resources to broaden and deepen their knowledge, including books, exchanges with experts, study abroad, and hands-on experiences in everyday life.

Intrinsic motivation: Self-organized learning relies on learners’ intrinsic motivation. They should have a strong interest in their chosen topic and a desire to deepen their knowledge in that area.

Flexibility: Self-organized learning allows learners to adapt their learning process to their individual needs and schedules.

Collaboration: although self-organized learning is often independent, it does not preclude collaboration with others. Learners can support each other by sharing ideas and organizing themselves into learning groups.

Accepting mistakes: Self-organized learning encourages learners to learn from mistakes. They should not be discouraged, but should view their mistakes as opportunities to improve.

Self-organized learning can be effective in promoting intrinsic learning and independent problem-solving skills. It allows learners to gain more autonomy over their educational path and develop the skills to become lifelong learners. However, it is important to note that not every learner is equally skilled at self-organization, and some may need support and guidance to develop these skills. The American Online School supports learners towards their educational goal.

Happy kids – happy parents

Recently, we at the Swiss Online School conducted a survey among parents. The way of learning is exactly the same as at American Online School, so we don’t want to withhold the results because they represent objective opinions of parents.


Reasons for enrolling in the Swiss Online School

The reasons vary, but frequently mentioned are the opportunities to rediscover or maintain the joy of learning. Many children no longer feel comfortable in public schools due to sensory overload, pressure, or long hours of attendance. The Swiss Online School provides parents with guidance and support for homeschooling, and the structure is appreciated. Further reasons include students studying abroad and chronic illnesses that make regular school attendance impossible or challenging.

Working time and self-motivation

60% of respondents spend a daily average of between 3 and 4 hours doing Swiss Online School coursework. 86% feel that this is a sufficient amount of time, and 83% of respondents believe that despite the flexibility of the Swiss Online School, children have a structured daily routine. 88% observe that their child has thrived since joining the Swiss Online School, and that their self-motivation has increased significantly (80%).

Evaluation of instruction

88% of respondents state that their child works on tasks with concentration or rather concentrated. None of them selected the option “not at all” [concentrated]. 12% chose the option “rather not”[concentrated].  87% confirm that their child understands the tasks given to them (the survey also included parents of 1st to 3rd graders). A staggering 93% know what task they need to complete, and 78% of the children can solve them independently. 22% selected “rather not” [independently]. No one chose the option “not at all” [independently]. 93% of children enjoy homeschooling. The feedback from the teachers helps the children progress (89%) and is motivating (98%!). Areas for improvement include the regularity and speed of feedback and support. With 72% and 73% agreement, respectively, there is still room for improvement. We have already taken action by implementing the daily online classroom, which provides an opportunity for students to directly ask questions to the teacher through a daily Teams meeting. Additionally, we will reorganize our approach to providing timely corrections and feedback.


The flexibility, independent learning, and organization of the material and learning units are particularly appreciated. The evaluations from the instructors are written in a very personal and encouraging manner, which motivates the children to make improvements (although it does make us a bit slow :-)). One aspect that is sometimes seen as both, positive and negative, is that often the next task can only be started once the previous one is completed, and frequently, worksheets need to be filled out by hand (especially in primary school).

Child’s development

Many survey takers provide detailed accounts of how their child has developed further, becoming more balanced, happier, motivated, and relaxed, and rediscovering the joy of learning. The self-esteem of many students has been boosted, often due to the appreciative and motivating feedback from the teachers. In some cases, the health condition of a few children has improved. In addition to academic skills, digital competencies are also fostered, and parents highly appreciate their children acquiring knowledge and skills that can be applied in everyday life.

A few quotes to conclude:

“We were looking for an educational system that is child-friendly, brings progress for every child, and allows the joy of learning to flourish again!!! And this is definitely the case here!!! Our child confirms this every day! We can only recommend it!”

“The freedom to schedule when I work on which subject is brilliant. The grading system for each performance is very fair; it is evaluated based on the entire work.”

“The courses are well-structured, and the content follows Lehrplan21 (the curriculum framework in Switzerland). The platform is well-designed and stable.”

“The overview of completed and pending tasks.”

“The content/idea of the tasks – motivating teacher feedback.”

“The structure and topics are well-chosen and explained in a child-friendly manner.”

“The instructional material in all subjects is very engaging and interesting, encouraging critical thinking and application. The feedback on completed tasks is very positive and motivating.”

“The structure of the learning units is well-designed. We appreciate the variety between educational videos, texts, and worksheets.”

Quotes on the child’s development:

“Our child has positively developed on all levels since joining the Swiss Online School. Our kid looks forward to the lessons and approaches the exciting tasks with great interest and enthusiasm. Once, after reading the task, my kid said said, ‘Ha! This way, it’s even more fun for children to practice, although I would have enjoyed it anyway! My previous teacher would have never thought of something like this!’ (It was about using a dictionary in German.)”

“Our daughter has blossomed and regained her self-confidence.”

“He has learned to read and follow instructions to complete tasks. He enjoys working on the computer, and the feedback is positive. He is doing very well at the Swiss Online School.”

“Our daughter has become much more independent in the past school year. She has shed a significant part of her minimalist thinking and working style, and she has developed a healthy ambition.”

“Very positive, more reflective, satisfied, independent, learns more for herself.”

“She has learned to organize herself and her materials. She has found her own rhythm.”



Teaching with digital tools for children with special needs

How can teaching with digital tools be more inclusive?
Martina works as a teacher in a special education school. Her students with autism or dyslexia need individualized instruction.
The school is now working with the Swiss Online School. The Swiss Online School is completely built with Moodle according to curriculum 21. This means that Martina can now organize her lessons in a more inclusive way as follows:
1. the Swiss Online School allows students to have choices in the learning process. The subjects are structured according to the topics of Curriculum 21 and so each student can choose which topic he or she would like to tackle first. Of course, there is also the option of simply going in order. But above all, everyone can work at the pace that suits them. Special tools in Moodle give the student the choice for the next step and ultimately lead to the same learning goal. Martina stays in the background as a learning coach and helps individually.
2. many tasks can be solved alone, in pairs or in groups, depending on the learning type of the student. Martina can thus use the cognitive potential of the class and the students* can learn in their peer group. Those who prefer to solve the task alone can do so as well.
3. each task and topic offers different types of resources. For each video there is a text. For each text there is an audio. With Moodle there is the possibility to present the same task on with different media. Here, too, the individual needs of a particular type of learner are taken into account. There is also the possibility to print texts, if this is desired and serves the learning success.
4. audio feedback on tasks or tasks help especially students with dyslexia.
5. individual feedback can be given to each student. Communication is asynchronous and students move at different speeds. So Martina can respond to each student individually.
Intermediate tests, such as quizzes, are frequently used by Martina to provide students with automated information about their learning. However, the interim tests are playful and there is no grade for them. Martina can, however, use the results to again address individual needs.
This is just a few of the many possibilities in the Swiss Online School classroom.

Learning breaks

Our brain is always in one of two modes: either blooming or pruning. Blossoming means that synapses between nerve cells are formed and activated. Pruning means that these synapses are consolidated or clipped, in keeping with the oft-heard motto: “Use it or lose it.” Now, crucial for our purposes is that the pruning phase is critical if learning is to occur, because that is when learning progress is “pushed” into the brain. But for this to happen, a pause must first be taken – as long as impressions are still hitting the brain, it is automatically in blooming mode. The very big break that we regularly switch on is called sleep. It is therefore quite understandable that after a good portion of sleep we not only have the feeling of being rested, but that very often we also notice that “overnight” insights have been added. We should give our children this feeling of learning much more often during the school day. But because we don’t want them to sleep 3-4 times during the day, you can put them into a sleep-like mode: that of automated activities. When children do something for 5-15 minutes where they don’t have to think about anything (sketching, listening to music, simple movements), their brains fall into the mode of pruning – and thus begin to process those learning contents that previously provisionally entered the brain in the course of pruning. The result: the child learns! Even though, on the surface, it’s “just” taking a break.

Source: HfH Course Neuropsychology

Advantages of online teaching for children with autism, ADHD, ADD and Asperger syndrome

Online tutoring offers a variety of benefits for children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s Syndrome. Here are some of the key points to consider:

Individualized learning environment: online instruction allows the learning environment to be customized to meet the specific needs of each child. Children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome often benefit from structure and predictability. Through online instruction, lesson plans can be customized to meet individual needs and create a calm, familiar learning environment.

Reduced Sensory Overload: Children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s Syndrome can be sensitive to sensory stimuli, such as loud noises, bright lights, or crowded classrooms. Online instruction offers the opportunity to reduce these stimuli and tailor the learning environment to individual needs. Children can learn in a quiet environment without being distracted by sensory overload.

Flexibility and Adaptability: Online classes allow for flexible scheduling and adaptation to each child’s individual needs. Children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s Syndrome can benefit from a structured schedule that helps them organize their daily activities and reduce stress. Through online classes, the schedule can be adjusted to fit individual sleep patterns, therapy sessions, or other important appointments.

Improved social interaction: online classes provide a less overwhelming environment for children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s Syndrome to practice social interactions. They can communicate with their classmates and teachers in a safe space, which helps improve their social skills and build their confidence. Online classes also provide the opportunity to use communication tools such as chat or instant messaging to facilitate interaction.

Access to specialized resources: through online instruction, children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome have access to a wide range of specialized resources. Teachers and subject matter experts can share resources and tools online that are specifically designed for children with special needs. This can include therapy programs, visual aids, interactive learning games, and other materials that support and enhance the learning process.

It is important to note that online instruction is not the best option for every child. Some children may benefit more from face-to-face interaction and supportive on-site tutoring. Still, the benefits of online instruction offer a valuable alternative for children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome. Here are other benefits:

Reduced pressure to perform: Online instruction can reduce the pressure that can be associated with learning in a group setting. Children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome can sometimes be plagued by anxiety and stress, especially when comparing themselves to their peers. Online classes give them the opportunity to learn in a more relaxed environment without having to compete with others.

Individual learning pace: each child has their own learning pace and needs. Online classes allow students to learn at their own pace and focus on the content that is most important to them. Teachers can customize lessons and provide extra time for specific topics or assignments to ensure each child gets the most out of their learning experience.

Parent Involvement: With online instruction, parents have the opportunity to be more involved in their child’s learning. They can serve as a supportive resource when needed, and can attend classes at home. This allows for closer collaboration between parents, teachers, and therapists to ensure the child receives the support they need.

Continuity in therapy and support: children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome often benefit from regular therapy and supportive interventions. Online instruction can allow these therapy sessions and supports to be seamlessly integrated into the classroom schedule. This ensures that the child continues to have access to needed services without the need for additional travel or interruptions.

Enhanced learning opportunities: Online classes open up a variety of learning resources and opportunities for students. They can access online libraries, interactive learning materials, multimedia content, and virtual field trips. This allows students to deepen their interest in specific topics and expand their learning outcomes.

It is important to note that online instruction is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction and social integration. Children with autism, ADHD, ADD, and Asperger’s syndrome should also have the opportunity to connect with others in person and develop their social skills. A balanced combination of online instruction and face-to-face interactions can ensure the best outcomes for these children.