Remote learning or distance learning became more popular than ever before in the advent of last year’s outbreak of coronavirus disease popularly known as COVID-19. There was a global lock down in which people were asked to stay indoors in their homes and this affected the educational sector. Most schools practiced distance learning in order to engage their students during the lengthy lockdown period.
But of course there are advantages and disadvantages to distance learning from looking for ways to attract the interest of your students to planning and managing learning time. There was also an increase in the number of students that were willing to buy research papers during the period due to lack of engaging educational activity.
There are lots of challenges associated with virtual classrooms and it requires students to overcome these challenges through the adoption of new strategies. When the norm of the day was the traditional in-person classroom way of learning, the transition from physical to virtual learning process is one that has had it, toil in student with some experiencing then for the first time. As such this transition requires different approaches to the teaching and learning side.
So this article is aimed at answering questions like, what are the biggest challenges of online learning. What are the distance learning pitfalls that both the students and teacher need to be aware of? How has distance learning benefited and changed online education and finally the situation to overcome these problems let us identify these problems and possible solutions to them.
- Lack of Effective Communication: The virtual space should also be treated like its reality, just as a teacher prepares for his/her class. It is also important to prepare for each and every online session but preparation won’t do much if you cannot communicate effectively. Communication on an online setting requires a set of learned skills and these are some of the practice to ensure you have an effective communication
- Speak directly to your Students: When teaching or having an online session with your students, ensure you look into your camera and your students get you full attention.
- Microphones should only be unmuted when speaking: Your microphone must always stay muted except when you are speaking to avoid distraction from background noise while others speak. You should also instruct you students, to follow the same rule.
- Always keep things professional: Whether the communication process is through a video call or live chats. Online conversation should be kept professional, friendly and related to the subject matter at hand.
- Lack of Needed motivation: Motivation is important for your students to promote their engagement most students may give less importance to online classes especially when they are not forced to attend as everyone is staying at home. The job even gets tougher on how to spur up your student to always attend their online educational session, here are some ideas on how to overcome this challenge:
- Encourage Question and Discussion: There are different approaches to online teaching but if you want to keep your students motivated encourage them to speak and ask questions. Bringing up discussions makes students feel more involved in the classes.
- Make sure your lessons are varied: Lesson variation is important to avoid students from eventually getting tired of it. This can be achieved by switching with certain activities added in between lessons. Games can be introduced to keep things interesting and fun.
- Technical Problems: For distance learning that is online involving different people in different places, we can’t overlook technical issues that may occur during such. Problem of accessibility due to poor or bad network, software bugs are likely to occur.
How to prepare for and Avoid Technical Problems: Proper preparation can help in minimizing technical problems and make sure that your students are intimated with their logins and have tested them. Also they should ensure that they make use of a good network provider.
- Scheduling Problem: Scheduling online class sessions can be a problem, considering factors like best time to fix a class that would be generally convenient for most people and you the teacher.
How to overcome scheduling problems: Software like a learning management system (LMS) can help you manage and schedule all your training activities. It helps you organize and can also automate invitations.
- Newbies/learners being left behind: Even when teaching in a classroom not everyone understands or has the same level of comprehension, but it is easy to spot out and accommodate such students, but in a virtual classroom it is difficult to do so as learners may stay silent then leave the training with frustration and disappointment.
- Create a virtual learning community: A learning community where students interact and have discussion among them can help as learners can ask questions when they do not understand and also discuss about the previous online session they have had.