8 Great Challenges of e-Learning
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools were forced to shift their pivot from a physical classroom to a virtual one. Attending online classrooms can be daunting at times for students, as it involves long hours of sitting in front of a screen.
In today’s time, when technology has become an extremely important part of our lives, it is a big deal for students to be attentively involved in classrooms on Zoom, Google Meet and other platforms. It takes a great deal of effort, self-regulation, and willpower to not get distracted, as the chances are really high to lose your focus when you are working on these distracting devices.
If you too feel that you absent-mindedly attend online classes- a panacea in this era of corona virus or your mind gets diverted easily and you end up in a world of your own, eventually followed by a guilt trip, read on to find out why this happens and how to overcome it!
Some common challenges of e-learning
Lack of self-motivation
In order to successfully learn, it is required that a learner must put consistent efforts and work hard. E-learning should never be an excuse but it demands you to commit and participate in the process.
This can be achieved only if you are motivated enough to achieve your study goals. Due to the absence of a physical classroom, students find it difficult to vibe with virtual learning.
This leads to a struggle in maintaining the necessary enthusiasm and motivation to learn. Another obstacle in remaining motivated towards the set study goals is procrastination. Although it is an innate human trait as breathing, it often results in stress as students start to panic when too many tasks are left for the last minute.
Building strong self-motivation is a key to success in online education. Meaningful virtual learning will take place only if you put the effort into it. You need to develop the mindset that ‘it is only you who is in charge of your education’. Build a timetable and stick to it. Set small goals for every day and reward yourself after achieving them.
Don’t over exhaust yourself, take out some time to interact with your friends and family, play a game or indulge yourself in some recreational activity. At the end of each week, monitor your progress. Participate in the classroom as much as possible.
Clear your doubts with your teacher or peers or any other adult who can help you out to understand the content better. These tricks will keep you motivated throughout and make you an intrinsically motivated learner.
One of the primal challenges of online education is the lack of effective communication between teachers and students. Students often complain about one way communication and information bombardment which can be pretty lethargic for anyone.
If an online lecture is not effectively crafted and presented, maintaining two-way communications, an active learner can easily become passive. If doubts are not cleared, this leads to pushing away of study goals of a learner making him/her feel de-motivated.
Unfortunately, most schools were not prepared for switching their classes online and the burden has been put on both students and teachers to adapt to this change.
Sometimes, it’s hard for the teachers as well to engage students all the time, especially in cases where the number of participating students is high. In order to tackle this issue, You can always use tools like text messages, audio recordings in order to bring forward your academic problems to your teacher through a private conversation.
But try to relay as clear and concise messages as possible, as teachers have a great deal of work to do in planning for online lectures and wouldn’t like to attend very long, unclear or unnecessary messages.
Students are more prone to distractions in online classes which affect their academic performance to a large extent. Virtual learning has given students the freedom to attend class by slipping in their pajamas, lying in bed, eating, or drinking something while keeping audio on mute and video disabled to attend.
All this, within the comfort of home. Most students don’t take these classes seriously but are taking part in it for the sake of attendance.
This shallow attitude towards online classes directs to other issues. Students are often tempted by peers to multitask. Instead of attentively listening to lectures, a learner might fall prey to peers’ encouragement of listening to music, streaming games and videos, chat on social media sites like Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, and surf the internet.
It is observed that even students who have high abilities of self-control are not able to resist sometimes and indulge in these negative online classroom behaviours.
Social media sites like Facebook and Whatsapp have great potential to be used in a learners’ favour. Groups or chats can be started in order to exchange notes, seek help from classmates to solve questions, and much more. But in order to make the best use of it, it is required that students seriously and strictly keep such chatrooms for academic purposes only.
This demands self-control, which is not as easy as some try to divert others by sending fun messages. Also, avoid multitasking as it takes a big fraction of your time, making you less productive overall.
Physical stress and exhaustion
Constant pressure on the eyes and back due to long hours of sitting in front of a screen is both an outcome and challenge of online learning. Students also complain of neck and shoulder fatigue which happens due to tension created in the muscles.
Long hours of sitting, looking at the screen and no physical activity can lead to loss of stamina. Blurriness in vision is a primary consequence but children’s hands, fingers are also affected.
Persistent headaches and numbness of eyes due to the usage of headphones for long hours is another issue. Some health experts also advise using bigger screens like that of a laptop, as watching videos and attending online classes on mobile phones puts a strain on eyes and neck muscles due to smaller screen size and fonts.
There are some long term effects associated as well. Development of short attention span, irritability, obesity, muscle stiffness is some serious concerns that need to be addressed within time.
Maintaining a healthy screen time is one of the most important challenges of online learning faced by both educators and students. Health experts recommend that at least 30 minutes of simple exercises should be performed daily to remain physically active. Students can incorporate exercise in their timetable as well, making it an integral part of their life.
After every 40-50 minutes, simple stretching exercises can be performed along with a walk for 5 minutes at the home.
In order to reduce eye stress, splashing cold water on the face for a few minutes can also aid in reducing fatigue. This is an effective method we have been told by our parents since childhood. Apart from these hacks, keeping track of the sleep cycle is also essential as adequate downtime is needed for a productive uptime!
Even in today’s time, when technology has entered into every space of our lives, some students get difficulty in operating basic computer applications. They find difficulty in handling such technical issues. Learning to use live classes, communication-related applications, and websites for browsing study materials might take some time but it has a huge impact as they might miss out on their studies in the process.
This is a serious issue for students belonging to unprivileged sections of society as they might be having almost no computer or technical literacy. Some students might be new to these things and if they don’t get proper assistance in learning about technology, they might feel de-motivated to use it and find excuses to avoid online learning at all!
Solutions to many technical issues like connectivity or difficulty in using a particular application are now available online. Step by step diagnosis is also available on platforms like YouTube.
Many digital tool assistants also provide 24×7 support which is very helpful. Some people have also uploaded beginner’s level tutorials through blogs or videos to help you gain knowledge at home.
Distraction at home
It is your study environment that can either make or break your concentration. It is not always possible to optimize the environment according to you. Each student can tolerate a different amounts of distractions.
While there are some who have high levels of concentration and are not distracted by people entering in the room or loud noises of a TV playing in some other room of the house, there are some learners, who are easily distracted by the slightest noise.
The bedroom is certainly not one of the best places for learning as it is filled with a number of distractions. Whereas, fruitful learning requires laser focus which might become a farfetched dream for students who struggle with low immunity for such disturbances.
It is always nice to see things out of the window but can be super distracting. Try to set up your study space in front of a blank wall. It might appear as a little boring initially but will always help you keep focused in the classroom. Also, try to set up your study area in a room having the least number of distractions especially electronic distractions like a television, which can grab your attention very easily.
Try to keep your study table/area clean and de-clutter it, as it will keep you motivated and less disturbed. Most importantly, inform your family about your schedule and live sessions. Sights of someone moving in and out of the room or sounds of doorbells/mobiles ringing keep you from making focus in the live sessions.
Inform your family not to create disturbances while you are studying or attending live sessions, even if it means strictly conveying it to them. They will never feel bad about it but will cooperate in the process.
Discipline and Time Management
Learning online offers you the complete freedom to organize your routine and reap its benefits. But it becomes ineffective if you don’t have the requisite skills to plan your timetable and lack the disciple to adhere to it. Result? Your daily routine becomes so monotonous that even you get bored of it after some period of time. This is an issue many students are facing right now because of the above reasons.
Online learning demands consistent efforts and demands dedication. Bad time management and an undisciplined lifestyle could lead to failure academically. Online learning is a rather new concept for many and requires intensive work.
These are two important elements of online learning. You have only 24 hours and learning to use time wisely is a skill you need to master to reap its benefits lifelong. Create a time table and to keep it realistic, don’t forget to add a recreational break in between for non-school activities of your choice. But just creating a schedule isn’t enough but you need to strictly adhere to it as well.
This demands discipline and self-regulation. Learn to identify time wasters like excessive use of social media and multitasking, as these things consume a big fraction of time. Following these things may require persistent efforts from your side, but these small steps will help you achieve bigger goals in life.
Learning from home makes a student feel lonely at times. They sometimes miss the one-on-one physical interaction with their peers and teachers and the noises of the classroom, which becomes overwhelming at times and slowly wears away a child’s desire to learn.
The child is left to interact with a machine (computer or mobile) for prolonged hours which minimizes the chances of a child to socially interact with people around him/her.
This is one of the core reasons attributing to feelings of isolation. Many instructional strategies like group work, activity-based learning, and collaborative learning are absolutely missing from virtual classrooms making them appear very bland and lack interaction, if not planned carefully.
Very strong feelings of social isolation emerge in online classrooms and if any help is not provided, issues like anxiety, depression, or withdrawal may manifest after some time.
It cannot be denied that online education lacks a human connection when compared to a physical classroom. Although an online lecture might be having a much greater number of participants at the same time, it lacks the necessary interaction.
The feeling of seclusion is a given in this format of learning but interacting with people at home, educators and classmates can help you combat it effectively.
This frustration can be compounded if nobody is lending an ear to hear out the child’s issues. Parents /guardians and teachers should be kind and discuss the concern and try to be more approachable. This will encourage the child to come forward instead of sulking alone and feel dejected.
I Hope, these solutions will help you to stay focused on your online learning classes. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to mail us. we are just an email away.