Online learning: Is it difficult or doable?

Online Learning

magine waking up to go to school. You get out of your bed, walk to your desk, and open your computer. You open up Zoom and join your classes. This is the reality of online learning.

Me in a Zoom class from my own bedroom.

Many people may ask how online learning is affecting how students learn in different classes. Students usually have mixed responses when answering this question. Many students enjoy online learning but the plurality of students dislike it.

Pros and Cons of Online Learning

Online learning has many pros and cons that can differ for every student.

According to Edweek.com, studies have proven that online learning isn’t as effective as in-person learning. In-person learning and being in contact with teachers and peers promotes social pressures and benefits which can improve a student’s motivation to engage and learn. Due to the fact that students are not in contact with teachers during online learning, many students have also said that learning remotely can be more stressful than learning in-person.

After interviewing an 11th-grade student at NSU University School, they said that it is much more difficult to “raise your hand” and ask a question via the online classroom compared to being physically in the classroom. When you are in person, you are able to interact with the teacher and ask questions. The interviewee believed that certain classes are more difficult than others during online learning. Let’s take AP classes for example. The interviewee stated that “It is very difficult to do AP classes online, especially if they are done asynchronously. Because AP classes are so difficult, it is important that everyone understands the material, and it is a lot more difficult to have a class like this online.

Another issue with online learning is social isolation. According to Theroswellstingtudents.com, students tend to feel isolated socially and distant from their friends. According to the interviewee, “At the end of the day, I prefer in-person learning primarily because I get to see my friends, interact with my friends at lunch, whereas when I’m at home I’m alone, I can’t interact with people and I eat lunch by myself…social interaction is a good way to keep friendships strong”

Students assigned to online learning rated their class to be more difficult than in-person learning. Students felt that it was more difficult to concentrate because students are more likely to be distracted while at home. For starters, a student's dog or favorite TV show isn’t likely to get in their way while they are at school.

However, online learning does have some benefits. Most importantly, this past year, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning has been implemented all around the world, in order to allow students to engage in school and keep learning while being safe. Some students even say that online learning allows them to have the flexibility to access and work through materials at their own pace. Students might feel more relaxed and learn better when they have more flexibility being able to work outside of the classroom.

But what if you have a doctor’s appointment or you aren’t feeling well? Being sick or injured doesn’t mean falling behind! Virtual learning allows students the flexibility of learning from home. The interviewee said “One thing that I like about online learning is how if you have an appointment or something you can Zoom and be up to date without missing your course work. Before online learning, if you had an appointment, you had to miss your class and get the notes afterward. I find it easier to get notes during online learning.”

My Opinion

Personally, as a student during the Covid-19 Pandemic, I do not enjoy learning through online learning. Even though online learning has its benefits including keeping students safe from Covid-19, allowing students to work at their own pace, and allowing students to join class from anywhere, there are still more cons than pros. As a student who was involved in online learning, I can say that asking questions about the material we are learning is very difficult. When we raise our hand on Zoom or chat the teacher, most of the time they don’t even see it. The lack of social interaction on online learning doesn’t help either. Students like me can’t ask friends for help like we usually are able to do in the in-person setting. It is also very hard to complete assignments on Zoom. Being at home when completing work on Zoom is so difficult due to the fact that there are many distractions that we wouldn’t necessarily have in the in-person setting.

Should Online Learning be Continued?

All in all, online learning is doable, but it also is difficult at times. At the end of the day, traditional in-person learning seems to be the best, but it’s nice to sometimes have an option to use online learning in certain circumstances.