How to Succeed in a Distance Learning Setting
Authored by Ayesha Rajan, Research Analyst at Vikriti Management Consulting
As the Covid-19 Pandemic continues, some schools across the country have begun to try reopening with little success. Many schools have had to quarantine staff or students or even shut down completely within just days of reopening. This suggests that as more schools begin to reopen, they will likely end up being primarily online. Keeping that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to provide some tips and pointers to success in distance learning. Distance learning has been met with a lot of mixed opinions; some people find that distance learning hinders their ability to fully focus and digest material. A primary is that they feel learning from home is not as conducive to productivity as a classroom or library. On the other hand, some people are thriving with learning online and feel the flexibility it provides is actually more helpful to learning. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, here are some things to keep in mind about distance learning.
There are several kinds of distance learning options that schools will likely utilize; one is the use of video conferencing tools such as Zoom, other tools include shared documents, pre-recorded videos, movies and documentaries, digital books, audio books, printed packets, games/puzzles and more. Clearly, there are a lot of options but some are more effective than others. For example, a survey recording responses from district teachers found that in correlation to higher test scores, live video conferencing was the most effective distance learning tool across all school subjects. Following live video conferencing, things changed depending on the subject; for the sciences at home experiments were the best learning tool, for language arts it was shared documents and for math classes, pre-recorded lectures came after Zoom lectures.
On the students end, learning online can be tough but here are a few tips to make it easier:
- Study your syllabus well
- Find or create an area in which you can focus without distractions
- Set goals and follow through by creating a study plan
- Take breaks to go for walks or to stretch
- Participate in your online environment as much as possible
School teacher Stein Lee-Schreiber said that when the Covid-19 Pandemic began in the spring semester, “we had a situation where we just had to make it through,” However he now says the attitude has shifted and the new goal for teachers is “much more about how you can do remote learning in a better way and in a way that can actually engage students.” The Covid-19 Pandemic has forced the field of education to make a lot of changes. While initially the goal was to just find something that worked, educators are now looking for tools to teach students effectively and efficiently. These tools primarily consist of using Zoom to encourage interactive learning but several other tools can help support Zoom as a primary way of learning. As schools begin their new curriculum, we will continue to revisit this topic in hopes of learning more about what tools are most helpful to students while learning through a pandemic.