In the last couple of years, most schools migrated to the internet. From elementary schools to Ph.D. studies, classes of all sorts now take place online. With this trend, we can also see a rise in the niche of online courses and masterclasses.
But, online education wasn’t as great in the long run as a lot of us expected. The whole concept comes with a set of challenges that may seem minuscule at first but can grow to become big problems.
Let’s talk about the most common challenges of online learning and see how we can resolve or even prevent them.
1. Technical Issues and Cybersecurity
Setting up Zoom or Teams is already a hassle. Online learning does require a level of tech literacy, but it’s not as difficult as much as it is boring.
Keeping your accounts safe becomes increasingly difficult further down the e-learning hole. As you’re studying, you will stumble upon all sorts of files and links to download. This translates to a higher risk of catching malware and getting scammed.
Here’s what you can do to prevent common tech issues:
- Always update your OS and the apps you’re using for online learning
- If you dig around the internet a lot, a 3rd party antivirus or firewall is a must
- Get a password manager so you can use complex and unique passwords for all your accounts
- Double-check the links you’re clicking. Triple-check the links coming from big companies (like Facebook, Google, or Microsoft).
Since you don’t have to appear in class physically, it can be hard to find the motivation to start your day of studies. Working, studying, eating, and sleeping in the same place can do a lot of harm, motivation-wise. That’s why it’s important to stay ahead and avoid falling into that comfort zone. Here are a few tips on how to start:
- Keep a schedule and log your classes.
- Take regular breaks (away from the screen. Yes, even from your phone).
- If you have the option, tackle the hardest classes first.
Now, you don’t have to make yourself attend every single class. On the days you’re feeling down or out of focus, it’s ok to miss a class or two. Lastly, one great way to keep yourself motivated is to have a clean workspace. This brings us to…
3. Distractions All-Around
Our brains are wired to look for engaging content. Once you get to that boring part of the class, there are very few things that can stop you from wandering away.
Procrastination is a tricky game. If you often find yourself playing it, there are some things that can help. Start by dedicating a space to learning. If you have a laptop, find a nice space and try to keep your online learning activities there. For desktop users, this can be done by creating a separate guest client on your OS or browser. This will keep you away from all the other distracting stuff on your computer.
It’s also important to keep your learning space clean and cozy. Light some candles, adjust the room light and temperature, and have a water bottle handy. This goes without saying, but keep your phone in DND (do not disturb) mode.
4. Lack of Actual Rest
Even if you enjoyed every minute of your online lessons, you were still staring at a screen, sometimes hours on end.
Staring at a screen alone causes all sorts of issues. On top of that, sitting in a chair in a focused state of mind can lead to mental exhaustion pretty quickly. You should plan rest periods away from screens. Take a walk or meditate.
A meditation and mindfulness app like Buddhify, Headspace or YoursApp is a great starting point if you’re feeling lost. One thing is certain – you need actual rest and recovery, no matter what you do.
5. Not Enough Dialogue
Online learning comes with a small social downside – there is little to no interaction. Oftentimes, lessons come in the form of pre-recorded lectures. On top of that, there is little opportunity to communicate with the lecturer, and let’s be honest – no one likes email “conversations”.
However, you have options. Interactive online learning courses are evolving rapidly. People learn better when they interact, whether it’s to ask questions or to add to the conversation. Hopefully, we will see more of this in the future of online education.
Online learning has been around for a while now, but it was only recently that it became so widespread. Remote education comes with pros and cons. The best way to enjoy the benefits is to minimize the downfalls by actively working on the challenges online learning brings.
Take care of your workspace, secure your cyberspace, take breaks to stretch and meditate, and try your best not to get distracted!