5 things you need to know about studying online

written by: Steffen Ebersbacher, 18.02.2021

Although studying online comes with many challenges, some pupils and students seem to be more successful with the new “distance learning” than they have been with the regular educational system.
What can we learn from students? A lot, actually, and it is very interesting too.

Here are 5 things you should know about studying online and its implications.

1. Why is taking online classes good for some, but not for others?

Teachers around the world are reporting that some of their students – for example shy- , hyperactive – and highly creative children – perform better in online studies than they did by being physically present in the classroom. It´s great to see some finally finding what works best for them, regarding education.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that this is the norm. Many students struggle to adapt to online learning: digital access and connectivity remains to be the most common problem. The stay at home requirements have intensified existing problems in family dynamics. In general, teachers and students struggle with how they can evaluate contributions to the class in a digital way.

In any case, the unplanned abstinence from the physical classroom can unveil hidden reasons that make some children struggle while others still succeed. In the responses from educators, we find repetitive topics – like social situations and inflexible plans – that are not the same for all children. At the very least, it has encouraged some teachers to consider permanent changes to their teaching even as they return to traditional teaching.

2. The benefits of independence

On average, school starts at 8:00 a.m. While the timetables vary from state to state, many students have to put up with successive classes. But during the pandemic, the timetable suddenly became more fluid, online start times and even the duration of teaching units can vary widely. Travelling to school and back home is no longer necessary, which means that students have more time and choice when and how to do their schoolwork.

During a regular school day, many students are out and about and will have to change classrooms several times. The breaks are often too short to relax and after school, many children take part in study groups or sports or even have to go to work. On average, students spend at least seven and a half hours a week doing homework, often in the evening or even at night. – All of this can be optimized due to online classes.

3. Differences in performance

After study groups and sports stopped taking place due to the lockdown, teachers state that they can also see a difference in the performance of some students. Some students thrive. In the teachers`s  opinion, this is partly because many things, such as sports and social activities, are now very limited, giving them more time than ever to work on school materials.

4. The impact on children`s health

Research has found that jam-packed schedules can be a huge challenge for a child: Students who get overly involved, especially when they feel obliged to attend certain classes or activities, are more likely to experience anxiety.

Other teachers believe that the increased performance is dependent to the changing academic expectations during the pandemic. Given the structure of home learning, many school systems have encouraged teachers to be more lenient with coursework and their grading.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center in the United States, teenagers consider the pressure to perform well in school as the worst kind of pressure they have to face. 61 percent of teens say they feel pressured to reach a certain academic level.

Teachers have also been advised to prepare students for standardized tests over the past decade. This pressure affects students, who report illnesses twice as often during the school year as compared to when they are not in school.

Students who have been the victim of physical or verbal bullying in school are likely to feel relieved to be able to stay in a safe place – at home. According to studies in 2017, at least 20 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 said they have been bullied in school. It is proven that students who are bullied have lower academic performance than students who have no problems with bullying.

For other students, socialization at school may not be negative, just distracting but it can also be very intimidating. Almost a third of teens say that they experience pressure in school to “look good” or “be sociable”, which can affect their participation and attentiveness in class. By taking online classes, students can concentrate more on the content of the lesson and listen without social fear.

5. We finally get enough sleep

Finally, some teachers note that the difference they have seen in the performance of some students may simply be related to sleeping. Most students do not have to wake up too early anymore. Many teachers reported that they are also able to get more sleep and are therefore more relaxed.

Online studies are a good option with some advantages for many children, but also students. Others are rather dissatisfied with it, as they miss the social interaction, the structure and the change of scenery.
Our tip: Try to find advantages from both online studies and the classroom and try to incorporate them into your learning routine. Maybe the current situation and all new learning ideas can bring advantages for your further studies.

Guest entry by:

Steffen EbersbacherSteffen Ebersbacher is a professional editor and an experienced content manager at Preply

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