We are currently experiencing the fourth industrial revolution: that of high technology and the frenetic digital era. However, challenges posed by distance learning remain challenges that must be addressed. The impact no longer affects teachers only, but also students. Many teachers face obstacles and problems that they have never experienced before. Athough students in this century are born with digital technology in their hands, and many competent educators are trained to use online platforms, the difficulty of “distance” still poses many challenges.
Many institutions are now turning to distance learning as an alternative method, a supplement to their core course, or as a back-up curriculum in times of crisis. While distance learning tools have never been better, there are still significant challenges in adopting distance learning techniques and technologies.Fortunately, with the right pedagogy and digital tools like a virtual classroom, it is now possible to overcome the challenges of distance learning.
What are the challenges of distance learning?
The impact of physical distancing with students
In-person and online education have disparities in outcomes. Teachers may have difficulty explaining course content to their students, especially if assignments and assessments are long and complex. Physical distance makes estimating the student’s level of understanding of the course content more complicated. Since there is no immediate response to the course, it is difficult for teachers to know whether it is too difficult or too easy for their students.
Feedback from instructors that the classroom provides do not occur in online classes. With delayed feedback, communication via technology can appear to be a barrier to assessing student learning. Some other challenges are spelt out below
Adequate assessment of student work
Since communication is asynchronous, expectations for student performance may differ between the student and the instructor. It is most likely that online assignment grading is based on a subjective judgment of effort and artistry. Although these assessments are similar in face-to-face classes, the difficulty arises from the fact that it is necessary to clearly specify the expectations and criteria for each task. Additionally, online assessments are most likely done as an open book and, in the absence of a proctor, are potentially prone to cheating. While students may celebrate the absence of homework, the lack of exams is not as happy.
Preventing academic results from falling behind during distance learning should be one of the priorities, especially for trainers in agreement with the parents and students concerned. The number one goal for institutions is to ensure that students are evaluated the same way in online classes as in face-to-face classes.
Time management and workload
Although the convenience of working from home seems like a joyful idea, the idea can deter teachers due to an increased workload preparing for online classes. In addition to documentation and various announcements, teachers must also host online discussion forums to promote participation and collaboration. Most of the time, moderation includes a large amount of reading as well as writing comments for each student. In addition, sometimes students ask questions at all hours, not allowing the teacher to give enough time to each student and task.
Solutions to face the challenges of distance learning
Nevertheless, online courses are the practical and effective means of providing educational content without physical constraints, especially in a crisis context. In addition to the main benefits of flexibility and personalized learning, being online also means having access to a variety of educational media and tools, as well as educational content. Education should not rely on a single, one-size-fits-all approach , and technology should help reduce the workload for all teachers. Here are some suggestions to help you develop your virtual classroom.
- Use synchronous technologies
Many of the challenges teachers face during remote learning come from asynchronous communication. The use of synchronous communication can reduce the effects of not having students face to face. Whether through web conferences or listening lessons, the problem of distance can be solved by the possibility of receiving live feedback. Instructors can schedule a Q&A time in advance, or schedule a live lesson where students can immediately respond to the content.
- Create rubrics that students can follow
Evaluation rubrics are a good tool for trainers to state their objectives and expectations for the given work. A rubric can be as simple as a grading checklist, where students check off whether their assignments contain all of the items on the list. Rubrics can also be created to describe levels of achievement and used as a guide for grading performance, with clear and explicit criteria for students.
- Peer review and delegation of small tasks
The workload for teachers during an online class can be too much to handle. Promoting collaboration and peer review allows the instructor time off to comment on and review student work. A course at Duke University ensured that all grading was done through peer review, which resulted in greater student achievement satisfaction and reduced faculty stress in grading students. student work. Furthermore, long and complex assignments can be divided into several tasks that students submit during several phases. On the one hand, this allows teachers to simplify the instructions and on the other hand, to be certain that all students have an assigned task. Additionally, working on smaller goals of larger work can be easier to manage.
Recognizing the impact of the digital revolution and the constantly changing education landscape, we can continue to equip ourselves with the tools necessary to adapt to today’s environment. With these solutions to the challenges posed by distance learning, a good understanding of it brings clarity on how better students and teachers can better harness the positive part it aims to provide.