This is the age of science and technology. Landmark advancements in technology have transformed the world around us and ushered in revolutionary changes across all sectors. And, the education sector is one that’s experienced drastic changes.
Thanks to online learning, teaching paradigms and knowledge dispensation avenues are evolving rapidly.
Educational institutions are implementing numerous educational technologies, and online educational platforms & websites have become an excellent avenue for students to continue undisrupted education and acquire & upgrade their skills.
Online learning is touted as the future of modern education, and it may very well be so. However, like almost everything else under the sun, it comes with its share of challenges.
The Biggest Benefits & Most Prominent Challenges Of Online Learning
Let us first look at some of the significant benefits of online learning.
- Flexible and Personalized Learning: Online educational websites offer self-paced courses with lots of flexibility for learners. Most online courses such as those provided by MOOCs are self-paced, allowing individuals to learn according to their capabilities.
- A diverse array of topics and courses: A considerable advantage of educational websites is that they offer an easily accessible platform for learning a wide variety of skills from skilled tutors & professionals across major academic institutions and companies.
- Real-Time Analyses and Instant Feedback: Several educational websites and platforms offer instant performance analyses and evaluative feedback. Users get to assess their performance on the go and decide upon their follow-up actions.
- Structured courses and easy learning curve: One of the most significant advantages of MOOCs and educational websites are tailor-made courses designed and structured for individuals with different capabilities.
- Online learning communities: Another advantageous feature of educational websites is online user communities. These communities offer a lot of help and guidance to newcomers, novices and the inexperienced.
- Motivated Learning:Self-motivation is key to success, and it is even more necessary while learning from online platforms.
The Common Challenges
- Adaptability Struggle
The struggle to adapt to computer-based education from traditional classroom learning is indisputable. Poor computer literacy, demotivation, disengagement and struggling to adapt quickly are significant problems that pervade educational systems all over.
Many students take time to get accustomed to Course Management Systems (CMS) and the methods & manners of computer-based education. Avoid unnecessary tests if you’re not prepare, also you can choose pay someone to take my test in person just to boost your confidence.
While passive listening and simple note-taking can suffice in a traditional classroom, online discussions demand direct engagement and springing into action. Students accustomed to a conventional learning environment find it tough to adapt.
- Computer Literacy & The Socio-Economic Divide
Today’s young generation is pretty tech-savvy. But that pattern begins to change as socio-economic conditions become a considerable factor. Simply put, online learning is not affordable for everyone.
The situation is far worse in developing and under-developed countries and among minorities in many developed nations. According to The Guardian, one in four students in the UK could not avail of online education during Covid-19.
Problems with computer literacy can arise when online learning systems are not that user-friendly or when there’s a lack of proper support from tutors & teachers.
- Time Management, Self-Motivation & Discipline
Time management is challenging but crucial for online learners. Whether it’s a self-paced or an instructor-led program, online learning requires a lot of time and intensive work.
Therefore, time management is vital if one intends to complete a course on time, learn something fast or make the best use of their time & resources.
There’s no one to guide or remind a learner about their responsibilities when it comes to online learning. They need to remind themselves, discipline themselves and push themselves further & harder.
Self-motivation is KEY for Online Learners. The lack of proper motivation and discipline leads to dropouts and retention.
Many learners fall behind and give up due to low motivation and poor discipline. As a result, the attrition rates for online learning are significantly higher in online education than its traditional counterpart.
To overcome all such challenges and experience the benefits of online learning to the fullest, students need to take charge of their learning and realize the actual value of the opportunities at hand.
Nine Practical Tips For Becoming A Better Online Learner
If followed diligently, the nine tips below can help any & all students excel at online learning.
- Be Hungry For Success
Successful individuals do not wait for the perfect motivation or inspiration. Instead, they will themselves forward and work hard towards success.
Nurture such a habit and embed it in your personality if you find online learning distracting and counter-intuitive. Block out all distractions and focus on learning & acquiring skills.
Push yourself to attain whatever it is stuff you need to succeed. Look for resources, and do not give up until you have overcome the things that impede your learning.
Be hungry for success, and let that hunger make you resilient in the face of all adversities, limitations and distractions.
- Manage Your Time Well
As pointed out earlier, proper time management is highly crucial for any online learner.
Make every minute count. Successful students do not let even a moment go to waste. That does not mean that you have to study all the time,
but when you are engaged in any online learning activity, set a strict routine and follow it diligently. Divide the whole day into proper sections and allocate each for completing a particular task.
Be honest, disciplined, and dedicated to the daily routine that you have set for yourself.
- Be Thirsty For Knowledge
The more you know, the better you will become.
If a topic intrigues you, then make up your mind to learn all there is to know about it. First, scour the Web for information. Then, scope out other sources of information related to that topic from reliable sources.
Go through digital libraries, online academic discussion forums, official research journals & articles, blogs from reputed websites and from everywhere else possible.
Remember, knowledge is power and more precious than all the wealth of the world combined.
- Get Rid Of Distractions and Overcome Ones That Persist
If you genuinely want to make the best use of your online learning endeavors, you MUST defeat the distractions that obstruct your learning process.
Take note of anything that distracts or disrupts your concentration; that may include online videos, computer games, social networking, etc. Be sure of your priorities and ensure that you achieve them without fail in the best way possible. Only then can you become better than what you are.
Set a routine and follow it strictly. And have someone to act as your lookout partner if distraction gets a better hold of you.
- Avoid Multitasking
No matter who says what, multitasking is not an effective or efficient way of working. Multitasking doesn’t work either in conventional learning scenarios or in the case of online learning.
Multitasking is nothing more than doing multiple tasks at one time, and just like computer processors, it drains your brain and other mental faculties. Online learning, be it via MOOCs or any other digital resource, requires focus and consistent effort.
Distractions are many, and switching between tasks can disrupt your focus and prevent the brain from adequately absorbing information.
Focus on a single task and get more done in less time.
- Work in Short Blocks of Time
Work in blocks of 45 to 60 minutes and take short intermittent breaks of 4 to 10 minutes in between.
Online learning demands a flexible routine, and you must make sure to accommodate any change and unforeseen circumstances. But, all in all, make sure that you are diligent enough to follow the fanatically routine.
- Stay Organized
A de-cluttered space is a must for de-cluttering a mind.
To get the maximum out of your online learning endeavors, you need to work in an organized fashion. Set daily reminders for all urgent and less-urgent work.
Employ online educational apps such as digital calendars, planners, or self-management apps to keep better track and a physical or digital diary to note essential information.
Create a study environment that’s free from all distractions.
- Never Procrastinate
Procrastination is the bane of education and any concerted endeavor. As an online learner, if you fall prey to it, strive hard to get rid of it and else you will never succeed.
Gather up the enthusiasm and motivation to complete all priority tasks within the designated time limit.
- Be Consistent & Persevere
One of the most critical things required to be a successful online learner is to strive no matter what. Be resilient, consistent, and persevere till the end. Look for various & reliable online resources to acquire complete and best possible information.
Concepts will seem tricky to grasp, some ideas & techniques will have a steep learning curve and finding correct information may become nigh impossible. So do not relent, no matter what.
Remember, success is not easy to achieve, and achieving absolute success is that much harder. But, one who overtakes all odds and achieves their goals is genuinely successful, and nothing is more satisfying than achieving such a feat.
And that rounds up this article. Hope the tips above help native and international students excel in their online learning endeavors.
All the best!