There’s a bright and a dark side to almost everything in life – online education included. While some students find their distance learning experience more positive than not, others struggle with its multiple shortfalls daily. And the latter group is the larger one so far.
A lot of surveys have been conducted since the pandemic began in order to find out how students coped with online learning. The results indicated the most common shortfalls, which turned out to be:
increased stress and anxiety;
feelings of isolation and loneliness;
time-management issues and procrastination;
lack of feedback.
In this article, we’re going to share some ideas on how to cope with these negative effects and stay on track. Read on to find out.
Increased Stress and Anxiety
Everybody is going through hard times during the pandemic. There’s uncertainty everywhere, and everyone is anxious to look into the future.
In addition to the negative effects caused by the pandemic itself, there’s more to worry about, like climate crisis and political instability. No wonder that mental health issues had become more acute than ever on this backdrop.
Students, who are generally more prone to mental health issues, are among those who were hit the hardest, statistics show. So, if you’re experiencing more stress and anxiety due to remote studies – you’re not alone. The big question, however, is how to deal with them.
The answer in general is to loosen the grip and not be too hard on yourself. For instance, you can always hire an essay writer or a tutor online and get all the help you need. No, it won’t make you an unworthy student – so, simply find a reliable essay writing service and delegate what you can’t handle yourself.
Sometimes, however, stress and anxiety go out of one’s control anyway. If you feel you can’t cope alone, ask for help from a professional or a friend – don’t let negative feelings consume you.
Working on your spirituality may also help alleviate some of that stress and anxiety. If your faith helps you manage negative thoughts and emotions, spend a few minutes of your day reading the Bible and saying a prayer. The Bible can be challenging material to read, but there are now Bible versions that are easy to understand and enjoyable to read. You can get one of those to help you start a routine for growing your faith and spirituality. When the going gets tough, take solace in the scriptures and prayers to calm your mind and emotions.
For many, the greatest source of stress is not the process of distance learning itself but the feeling of isolation that comes with it. Students from all over the world report feeling overwhelmingly lonely being confined to their rooms, deprived of daily contact with friends and instructors.
Now, as the quarantine restrictions are being gradually lifted in many countries, the situation is slowly getting better. However, students in countries like the UK are still struggling from lack of contact with their peers.
One way to cope is to share your thoughts and feelings online in a personal blog which can be beneficial in more ways than one. In addition to the therapeutic effect of getting it all out in written form, there’s a great opportunity to attract followers and become an influencer, not to mention the much-needed writing practice every student needs.
However, becoming a blogger is not easy. So, if your aim goes beyond expressing your emotions, you have to post quality content. Make sure to use proven editing and proofreading techniques to polish your posts. But if you’re planning to invest your time in writing and earn some money, you can pay for professional services to do this extra work.
In addition to that, you can always find ways to meet your friends after Zoom classes, take a walk in a park and have a cozy offline chat.
Time-Management Issues and Procrastination
Many students have time-management issues, but the school schedule traditionally helped them cope. With distance learning, these issues were laid bare. Suddenly, it became obvious just how hard it is to plan time wisely, and many students still hadn’t figured out the right way to do it.
Fortunately, technology can help here: there are plenty of time-management and planner apps available like myHomework, Trello, iStudiez, etc. You can even use a standard calendar app on your smartphone or even a paper notebook – the main point is that you need to plan your schedule. Daily. With no excuses.
As procrastination goes, it can also be managed with the help of various apps. There are Focus-To-Do, Forest, Offtime, Pomodoro timers, and a multitude of others that help increase concentration and boost productivity. In addition to that, you can try yoga practices and other techniques to help you learn to stay focused.
But of course, the best and most obvious way is to exercise your willpower because sometimes, poor time management and procrastination are a result of mere laziness and a lack of grip.
Lack of Feedback
One more serious flaw of online education that almost all students cite is a lack of feedback from their teachers. In one survey, 42% of students indicated that “staying motivated was a major problem for them completing coursework online”. Not getting enough student-teacher interaction has a lot to do with that.
However, there’s not much that can be done about this particular shortfall. Mainly, you can hire an online private tutor if you can afford it. Teachers are people, too, and they suffer from the negative effects of the pandemic just as much.
So, if you can’t get any outside help from tutors or your relatives, you can try contacting your instructors more often via email or Zoom chatbox, and they might try to help. But remember to have some empathy and not be too demanding because we’re all in this together, after all.
In this article, we’ve looked into some of the most common shortfalls of online education and shared ideas on how to grapple with them. However, there are more that we didn’t touch upon here. Students also face problems of having fewer resources available, the so-called “digital divide”, or poorer quality of online education compared to on-campus experience.
If you’re experiencing one of these effects, remember that most of them can still be dealt with, one way or another. So, the general advice here would be to stop concentrating on the problems and start thinking about solutions instead. There are always some – you just need to find them!