Who benefits from online learning?
During the pandemic most schools moved to on-line learning. This was seen as being the least worst option to help students keep up with their work.
Many students found it difficult to adapt to this new form of schooling and their grades suffered as a result. But some children thrived in this new environment. Their grades improved, sometimes dramatically.
Why was this? Why did some students do better learning on line than in the classroom?
Who were the students that benefited from on-line learning?
Here is what the research says……
Students who were being bullied or teased in class.
We know that this happens and that some students are victims of bullying and teasing on a regular basis. For these students the classroom is not a safe space. They become so distracted by this aggressive behaviour that they cannot focus on learning – they are always looking out for the next attack.
Learning online took away this fear and allowed them to concentrate on their work. One parents shared how her son’s grades went from C’s to A’s and that he was taking more responsibility for his work online, even to the extent of doing extra project work out of interest rather than coercion.
In every class there are some students with specific learning issues. They may suffer from mild attention deficit disorder, anxiety or a learning disability. They experience great pressure to be a regular part of the classroom despite their learning struggles.
Teachers cannot always accommodate every student’s needs. These ‘excluded ‘ students suffer as a result. They find it difficult to get the grades they are capable of getting.
Online learning puts them in the centre of the learning process. They can work at their own pace, review work that confuses them, stop being stressed about keeping up with their peers.
Yes, they may miss the social interaction that comes with being in a classroom, but the lessening of pressure to perform outweighs that.
Students who lack focus
Classrooms are busy places. There is always a lot going on, a lot to look at and listen to, distractions are everywhere. A child who has limited ability to focus on her work, or even a student who chooses not to set his mind to getting the work done can easily find distractions and reasons for not working.
Online learning takes away the distractions that occur in every classroom and allows students to concentrate on the work at hand. Oh, there may be other distractions such as video games and social media apps but those can be handled by being limited to set times.
Working on line may not eliminate all distractions but it can be a real help to a child (often a social child) who wants to get her work done.
Students who are subject to micro aggressions
Children can be cruel. The classroom can be a dangerous place for students of color. One parents noted that her child did not have to spend time and energy watching their behaviour, their tone of voice, how they sit and where they are standing. They did not have to try to adapt their way of being to the predominant culture of the classroom.
One parent reported that this came as a huge relief to her son. He described a feeling of freedom and an increase in self-confidence.
It is unfortunate but these micro aggressions happen in all classrooms and are not often observed by busy teachers. Online learning takes away the constant threat they pose for some students.
Students who are struggling with sexuality and gender issues
Part of growing up is coming to terms with who you are. For some students this means taking time to reflect on their growing sexuality and gender preferences. The stresses of in class teaching do not allow much time for a child to address these issues.
Online learning provides a safe space for students to explore their personality and sexuality.
Students who are stressed.
There is always some stress associated with learning. Students worry about their ability to do their work, whether they can handle a difficult assignment, whether they can get their work handed in on time. They compare themselves to other students in their class and often come up short.
Online learning can reduce these stressors for some students. It can give them the breathing room they need to relax into doing their work. It can take the pressure off trying to be like other students in class.
Online learning may also add stress to students who struggle to learn on their own, who are reluctant to take responsibility for getting their work done so it is something of a two edged sword.
Students who are Self Smart Learners
Students learn in different ways – check out the resources page on my site –www.leadingtolearning.com – for more information on this.
Online learning is an individual exercise. Children who are Self Smart will quickly and easily adjust to this type of learning. However, if your child is People Smart he or she will miss the interaction of other learners and, in fact, may be unable to learn at all!
But there are adaptations you can make to help your People Smart learner enjoy on line learning. Book a free call (www.leadingtolearning.com) if you want advice.
It might seem strange to add ‘parents’ to this list because online learning has given them more work and possibly more stress. But it has also given them a special insight into how their child learns.
Parents have become aware of their child’s learning struggles as well as learning triumphs. It has given parents, even those that were minimally involved in their child’s work, a better idea of what and how their child is learning.
And that is a good thing.
Parental engagement (not necessarily involvement) in a child’s education is a vital component of a child’s success.
Does your child belong to any of these categories?
If your answer is ‘yes’ you might want to ask about online courses that your child can take.
As schools are moving back to in class learning I hope we don’t forget the benefits that online learning can bring. Many businesses are pivoting to a mix of office and at home work to accommodate the needs of their work force. Perhaps schools can find a way to meet the needs of all students by having mix of in class and on line learning experiences.
I won’t hold my breath!