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What Are Learning Pods?

Learning pods, aka “pandemic pods,” seem to be here to stay. These flexible learning spaces allow students to gather in small groups in order to learn and socialize. If you are still asking yourself, “what are learning pods?” and what the benefits of belonging to a “pod” are, keep reading our guide!

How learning pods came to be

As we know, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, many children were unable to attend school in person due to the fear of spreading COVID-19. Today’s learning pods were created to help give children a sense of routine while participating in online school. During the pandemic, the system has helped to ease the strain on working parents during an unprecedented time. However, learning pods were in existence over a decade before the COVID-19 Pandemic. These early pods were created as an extension of homeschooling and online schools. 

What exactly is a learning pod? 

Basically, a learning pod is a small group of students who learn and socialize under the supervision of an adult(s). Typically, a learning pod is created when families in a neighborhood bring similar-aged students together. 

Some learning pods hire tutors or recruit parent volunteers to help students learn the school’s curriculum if the courses are online. In other situations, these tutors or parents actually teach the students like a homeschooling co-op. A co-op is a group of families and/or friends who meet for learning activities with other home-schooled students. 

Ultimately, no two learning pods are the same. Some parents use the technique to help their children learn online, while others utilize it as the sole means of learning.

Also see: What is a charter school?

What are the benefits of learning pods? 

Learning pods are beneficial for parents who work, but still want their children to have supervised instruction in a face-to-face learning environment. Learning pods provide the opportunity for parents to leave their children under adult supervision while they work. 

Many students struggle with online learning and have difficulty paying attention to their teachers over platforms such as Zoom. Children also need social interaction t experienced in an in-person classroom. Learning pods fill in these gaps in a student centered way. 

Learning pods create a safe and small learning environment where students are supervised to ensure that they stay on task. For homeschooled or online students,  students enjoy the company of their peers for much needed social interaction. This innovative educational model creates a safe environment for students to thrive and continue learning no matter what comes their way.

Don’t miss: What is a Montessori school?

Did learning pods exist before the COVID-19 Pandemic? 

As mentioned, learning pods are another type of learning model similar to pre-existing models such as homeschooling co-ops, microschools, and online schools. All of these smaller learning environments share similarities to the modern day learning pod. 

One of the only differences between learning pods and these other types of schools is the motive behind the creation of them. Learning pods of today were used to provide students with extra support during the COVID-19 Pandemic, help them navigate online school, and assist full-time working parents

Also see: What is a magnet school?

Frequently asked questions about learning pods

Are learning pods COVID-19 spreaders?  

Learning pods grew in number to help students interact in smaller groups in order to mitigate any COVID-19 affiliated risks. Therefore, the more students in a learning pod, the higher the chances of spreading germs. However, learning pods can be safe environments for students to learn and avoid the COVID risks associated with typical classrooms.  

Who can create or start a learning pod? 

Anyone who believes they are qualified can create their own learning pod. Many pods are forming online through different platforms such as Facebook or by word of mouth from families in various neighborhoods. 

How much do learning pods cost? 

Learning pods vary in price because they are all individually run. The cost depends on whether a tutor, licensed teacher, or other expert is involved. Often, parents volunteer their time and expertise, so the monetary cost is non-existent or minimal.