Table of Contents
Covid-19 disrupted the learning system by causing the closure of educational systems worldwide. This issue necessitated the adoption of alternative methods, such as online learning to alleviate the situation. Many learning institutions previously used digital platforms to supplement teaching; however, the system was not prepared for totally relying on online learning. Furthermore, multiple hindrances pose a challenge to smooth learning. These obstacles in the educational process suppress the advantages that assist students in augmenting learning sessions. It is, therefore, essential to maximizing the potential of online learning to fill in the gap when regular face-to-face learning cannot occur. Examining the concept of online learning highlights several challenges that learners and educators experience and strategies on how to overcome these challenges.
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Challenges in Online Learning
Students’ motivation toward online education is one of the challenges of online learning. Motivation refers to a learner’s desire to learn in an educative environment; the learner’s motivation is created from the interaction between the learners and educators (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 2017). Ramli et al. (2020) point out that the conventional learning process entails physical communication and interaction of the learners in classrooms. With the pandemic outbreak, educators encounter the challenge of motivating learners to stay attentive and participate during online classes. Moreover, educators will also face the challenge of supervising and interacting with students as they are not meeting face-to-face.
Secondly, the lack of relevant technical skills affects the effectiveness of online learning. Learners and educators must be familiar with learning platforms to use them effectively. Badiozaman et al. (2020) report that many teaching platforms, such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, were introduced in response to Covid-19; these platforms have multiple strengths for delivering lessons effectively. The effectiveness of digital learning relies on skills that students and educators possess. Without the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience, it is challenging for students and educators to meet learning objectives.
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Lastly, lack of proper time management and distractions hinders online learning. Notably, online learning allows participants to be in a different setting than the usual classroom setup, reducing accountability. This opportunity gives room for countless distractions especially considering the unrestricted use of technological devices such as mobile phones and laptops. As a result, learners may get carried away with distractions focusing on entertainment, undermining the objectives of online learning. Additionally, even though digital learning offers time flexibility, unlike conventional physical classrooms, students encounter challenges managing time due to the repetitive sessions required to comprehend concepts (Das, 2022). Therefore, proper time management and avoiding distractions are vital to effectively achieving online learning outcomes.
Adapting suitable online platforms enhance critical as educators and learners are scattered geographically. Notably, educators and learners should seek to understand how to operate and utilize online educative platforms. Moreover, online learning can integrate both asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to enhance two-way communication (Tartavulea et al., 2020). Synchronous tools include video conferencing, online chat rooms, and audio channels, while examples of asynchronous communication tools include emails, board discussions, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Incorporating the use of apps, videos, and television clips, among other practical multimedia sources, can also help improve the online learning experience. Although online education has numerous benefits, such as ease of access, greater flexibility, lower costs, and portability, student and educator must familiarize themselves with the digital platforms to attain learning outcomes.
Likewise, students should be aware that focusing on other things affects learning timings and should hence avoid distractions. Therefore, it is necessary to allocate time for breaks and concentrate on learning according to plan. Integrating a to-do list is a recommendable way to plan an activity list to improve learning outcomes. Multitasking should be avoided entirely as it undermines a teacher’s or student’s productivity and effectiveness. Additionally, it is essential to inform and seek help from friends, parents, and families; friends and family act as a support system to help the learner not to miss out on learning.
Educators should provide feedback to enhance student motivation, as motivation is undeniably crucial in online learning (Chung et al. 2020). Not to mention, institutions should deliver interactive lessons to learners and make it mandatory for them to be present for the discussions and learning sessions by logging in daily. Similarly, learners should consistently participate in learning activities and complete assignments. Finally, teachers should provide direct and clear feedback to motivate learners and their learning abilities.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has evidently transformed the education arena worldwide. As a result, the educational system is facing various challenges. Fortunately, the pandemic has encouraged online learning as a boon to the education system. However, online learning faces multiple challenges, including lacking motivation, poor time management, distractions, and lack of technical skills to operate digital platforms. Nevertheless, adopting suitable digital platforms, familiarization with digital tools and platforms, use of feedback, and proper time management through avoiding distractions, using to-do lists, seeking help, and avoiding multitasking can enhance the effectiveness of online platforms.