The Parent’s Role as a Learning Coach in Online Education

Online school parents at Pearson Online Academy don’t merely expect daily involvement in their children’s education; they embrace it. From collaborating with teachers on goals to helping their children stay focused, our parents are full partners in the learning process. Hear what parents have to say.

Understanding the Role of the Virtual Learning Coach

Acting as Learning Coaches, parents manage the home classroom—motivating and monitoring students as they complete assignments and progress through the curriculum. The role evolves as students mature and Learning Coaches and our teachers adjust their involvement, considering the student’s grade level, individual needs, and level of independence. In the elementary years, the Learning Coach plays a substantial day-to-day role facilitating instruction. In the middle school and high school years, the Learning Coach becomes more of a mentor and guide as the student becomes increasingly responsible for his/her studies.

While the role of Learning Coaches is less time-intensive for parents of part-time Pearson Online Academy students, these parents are also critical in providing age- and ability-appropriate supervision.

Parent Responsibilities of an Online Student

For students enrolled in our full-time program, we strongly recommend that a parent or another responsible adult be available at home to serve as a Learning Coach, providing an age- and ability-appropriate level of assistance and supervision to the student. Pearson Online Academy also asks parents to sign an agreement outlining their responsibilities as Learning Coaches and describing suggested steps for creating an optimal learning environment at home.

View a sample parent agreement

For students enrolled part-time in individual courses, we advise online school parents and learning coaches to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the course or to consult with an Admissions Advisor to determine the amount of parent participation required to ensure student success.

Online Elementary School—Starting Out Together

In grades K–5, students require a lot of support from caring adults at home and in the online classroom.

Learning Coaches can expect to:

  • Devote about five hours per day to overseeing their students’ schoolwork
  • Set the daily schedule with varied activities and breaks
  • Assist with lessons and communicate frequently with the teacher
  • Help monitor student progress and comprehension

Online Middle School—Nurturing Independence and Accountability

As students become more independent and responsible in grades 6–8, Learning Coaches “step back” a bit, and subject-specific teachers “step in” to provide expert online instruction and offline support in math, language arts, science, social studies, and an array of electives.

Learning Coaches support this transition to more independent learning as they:

  • Oversee schoolwork for two to three hours per day
  • Assist with some lessons
  • Monitor student comprehension and grades
  • Refer students to teachers as needed
  • Communicate regularly with teachers

Online High School—Students Take the Lead

In grades 9–12, online students start to really take charge of their education—setting goals, working independently, and exploring their future options.

Learning Coaches encourage their students’ growing independence as they:

  • Commit one to two hours per day to overseeing schoolwork
  • Verify that lessons and assignments are completed
  • Communicate with teachers, referring students to teachers for help when needed
  • Attend regular teacher conferences

Supporting the Online Learning Coach

Our online orientation program helps the Learning Coach understand his or her responsibilities. It also introduces all the resources and support systems made available to help the Learning Coach and student succeed. Pearson Online Academy offers Learning Coach Central, an online resource, that's available to Learning Coaches 24/7. The Learning Coach can also call a toll-free number to speak with a technical support representative. This support is available for troubleshooting.

You’ll also find support available from your student’s teacher, school staff, and other families.