Barriers to Remote Learning During COVID-19 Outbreak
Meeting the needs of today’s students requires instructors and administrators to rethink delivery strategies and instructional methods in remote learning. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning was experiencing steady growth due to the global shutdown of universities and the necessity for e-learning. Many universities are developing online education plans and bringing lecturers and students up to speed on e-learning technologies.
According to the survey by EducationData.org, 50% of university and college presidents feel that insufficient technology, especially the lack of digital infrastructure, is one of the biggest challenges to online learning, leading to declining student satisfaction. The lack of community engagement and socialization are amongst the other reasons for their ingrowing obstacles in remote learning environments.
Some significant barriers to remote learning during COVID-19 include:
Technical issues are bound to happen in an online-only environment, adding to the online learning frustration and interrupting home learning sessions. Equipment and hardware malfunctions can significantly affect the effectiveness of remote learning. When a technical problem occurs in an online session, everything can come to a standstill. Sometimes, hardware failure can be frustrating for professors – a bad connection or camera failure or software bugs can go wrong, hindering the overall learning process. Students who are used to traditional face-to-face instruction do not have tolerance for such ambiguity.
- Difficulty learning to use modern technology
- Security and confidentiality of data and information
- There is no real-time surveillance, widespread cases of fraud
Many students who enjoy face-to-face interaction with their professors and peers may not enjoy the isolation of remote learning due to the lack of in-person connection, the absence of a professor, and their inability to discuss problems with collegemates. The shortfall of social relationships negatively impacts developing a healthy brain, leaving students feeling isolated due to the professor’s lack of engagement, direction, guidance, and support. Some students may feel left out, which can impact their ability to learn and acquire knowledge.
- Lack of willingness and motivation to attend online classes
- Lack of communication between students and lecturers
- Feeling distressed during phases of solitude
When students feel they are not getting the proper guidance, they may feel demotivated to engage in the classroom session. There are more distractions at home than in-person classes in college. Moving to virtual, real-time classes instead of just online courses gives a greater sense of accountability. Students might easily get distracted because of social media, texting, television, and family, which can pull one’s attention away from the task at hand. They need to find a quiet, dedicated space and time to complete their coursework, staying on track to achieve their academic goals.
- Self-esteem and loneliness affecting student performance
- Low concentration due to digital distraction
- Poor time management, such as rushing to complete tasks
Digital devices have become an indispensable and inevitable part of our daily lives. There can be health hazards of unlimited screen time. This is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of online learning. Unsupervised computer work may cause vision problems for anyone, especially if they need to take online classes for several hours. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is one of the vision-related problems also called Digital Eye Strain (DES). This condition can cause visual stress from extended screen time.
- Weak emotional judgment affects the ability to register and process emotions
- Loss of cognitive ability and slower information processing
- Delayed learning in students and lower test scores
Remote learning might be more affordable than traditional education. Due to the lower overhead required to operate these online education programs, students get a high-quality education at a much lower cost. Many students still seeking a degree program often get surprised when they find out that tuition fees are still relatively high. Sometimes they need to rely on federal financial aid and other resources to help pay for an online degree.
Students don’t have various options to get the same institutional aid as traditional, campus-based universities.
- Altering state-based programs for academically talented students
- Incorporating employer-based aid to focus on specific skills development
- Creating new learning tax incentives to encourage employee educational initiatives
With the ongoing crisis, the transition to remote learning might be full of challenges. This has become a more critical part of higher education organizations. Agile systems and flexibility are the keywords for the future of online education. Trainers can gather feedback from students and reflect on what they want the university to be like.