October 24, 2020

Online Teaching and Learning – Problems and Solutions

Online Teaching and Learning – Problems and Solutions

V.Tamilselvi

Assistant Professor

Department of Business Administration

Parvathy’s Arts and Science College Dinigul

Introduction

Online learning is education that takes place over the Internet. It is often referred to as “e- learning” among other terms. However, online learning is just one type of “distance learning” – the umbrella term for any learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom.

Online learning is catalyzing a pedagogical shift in how we teach and learn. There is a shift away from top-down lecturing and passive students to a more interactive, collaborative approach in which students and instructor co-create the learning process. The Instructor’s role is changing from the “sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side.”

 Main advantages of online learning 

 Convenience

 24/7 access from any online computer; accommodates busy schedules; no commuting, no searching for parking.

 Enhanced Learning

  Increased depth of understanding and retention of course content; more meaningful discussions; emphasis on writing skills, technology skills, and life skills like time management, independence, and self-discipline.

 Leveling of the Playing Field

 Students can take more time to think and reflect before communicating; shy students tend to thrive online; anonymity of the online environment.

 Interaction

 Increased student-to-teacher and student-to-student interaction and discussion;a more student-centered learning environment; less passive listening and more activelearning; a greater sense of connectedness, synergy.

Innovative Teaching

 Student-centered approaches; increased variety and creativity of learning activities; address different learning styles; changes and improvements can translate to on-ground courses as well

 Improved Administration

Time to examine student work more thoroughly;  ability to document and record online interactions; ability to manage grading online.

Savings

 Accommodate more students; increased student satisfaction = higher retention and fewer repeats.

 Maximize Physical Resources

 Lessen demand on limited campus infrastructure; decrease congestion on campus and parking lots.

 Outreach

 Give students options; reach new student markets; appeal to current students  thus increasing enrollments.

Online Learning Challenges Faced by Students

1. Adaptability 

Students find it difficult to adapt to an online learning environment immediately after traditional classroom learning. Due to the sudden change, they are not able to adapt to the commuter based learning. Students who have been always studying in the traditional classroom mindset are not able to focus on online platforms. It is important for them to accept the new learning environment with an open mind. 

. 2.Technical Issues

Many students are not well equipped with a high internet connection that is required for online learning. Due to this, they face problems in going live for virtual learning and other platforms that require internet connection. They face technical issues as they are not much aware of technology and computer applications. A slow and high internet connection can play an important role in how quickly you can attend the class and do not miss any live sessions. There is a possibility of poor connectivity if you find difficulty in downloading some information related to the subject, blurred videos, etc. 

You just need to find a high-speed internet connection at your home. And know where you can get technical support for your connection and other technical issues related to software and tools for effective learning. 

3. Computer Knowledge 

Lack of computer education is a major concern in today’s world. There are many students who still cannot operate basic computers with MS word and PowerPoint. And whenever some technical issues emerge, they find it difficult to solve the problem in such a scenario. They face difficulties with live classes, usage of appropriate icons, MS office, communication-related apps and websites, browsing study materials, etc. Sometimes they do not know technology proficiency like login, live classes, creating and submitting work, communicating with teachers and friends. 

4.Time Management 

In many cases students find difficulty in managing their time with online learning. Online learning is completely new for them and requires intensive work. They need a scheduled planner to manage their time in an effective manner. Online learning provides flexible time unlike traditional classrooms. But some face difficulties in adjusting to the time required for online learning. 

5. Self Motivation 

Students start losing hope once they find difficulty in online learning. It requires motivation to complete tasks and engage students with their learning. Lack of motivation is a common challenge for all students. 

6 . Distraction

Learning from home is an amazing experience. You might expect things around you to be like a school campus. But at home things are different for example, you might want a massive classroom, parks, playgrounds, canteens, friends, teachers around you to guide and learn. But with online learning, you have to manage everything in one room with parents around you. You can be easily distracted by small things at home. 

7 . Learning Styles

Most of the students have learned in the physical classroom. Online learning can make you adapt to different styles of learning. There are some students who can adapt to these styles quickly but what about the students who need time? In such cases, they lack concentration, inability to understand the live classes, difficulty in creating projects and assignments using technology.

8.Communication

Students lack effective communication skills during online learning. Teachers give assignments for improving reading and writing skills but there is a possibility that they might not be able to write so convincingly that educators understand the concept behind their assignments.

 There are some students who feel shy to communicate with their teachers and friends due to the new model of learning. It might happen due to lack of interest, poor technological skills with apps and video calls or unable to express themselves via live chats, emails or text messages.

9.Virtual Engagement

Online classes help teachers to provide reading material, assignments, communication via email, live chats or messages and delivering content by live sessions, presentations, recorded videos or lectures for the students.

 In spite of all these activities, still some students do not find engaging compared to a traditional one. Students find it difficult to communicate in person who struggles with understanding concepts. Many times these students do not even approach teachers to clear their doubts. 

10. Feedback 

Every student needs feedback for their performance during the learning process so that they can improve their learning abilities. They are not only observed during the tests or exams but also for each assignment and project. Research reveals that the students hardly visit their assignments to check their suggestions and comments. The feedback model with respect to online will be difficult for them to understand and implement.  

Solutions for the on line Learning

  • Nowadays adaptive learning is using Artificial intelligence to adjust the content according to individual needs. It helps in providing personalised courses to identify their weaknesses and strengths for better learning outcomes.
  •  Need to find a high-speed internet connection at your home. And know where you can get technical support for your connection and other technical issues related to software and tools for effective learning. 
  • Students should be provided access to support devices that can help them solve technical problems via call, email or live chat. You should pay attention to your instructor during the process of solving the issues.
  • Time management is the most important factor in online learning. It needs time and effort for better learning outcomes. You should know the factors that can affect your timings during the learning process such as 
  • Avoid Distractions – Try to avoid distractions that can affect your learning. There are many platforms that can engage you for entertainment and communication. But make sure that you set time for breaks and focus on learning as scheduled to avoid missing live classes or sessions.

B)Create To-Do List – You can prepare a list of activities on an everyday basis. Try to break down large activities into smaller ones for better learning outcomes. Use this list to tackle each task. Make sure that you adhere to the list and establish the routine that can make time management practices easy. 

C)Seek Help – To manage time during online learning seek help from your parents, friends and families. So that you will not miss out on learning and at the same time work will be done. 

D)Avoid Multitasking – Do not try to take up multiple tasks at the same time. Complete one task at a time as it can make your work less effective and productive

  • Involve Yourself – You should show up for all the activities and learning during the sessions. Make sure that you log in every day, check for the status and appear in all the sessions and discussions. Connect with your friends and teachers for asking and sharing information. 
  • Schedule Time for Learning – You have to stick to a study plan for effective learning. Take a break and resume back to learning with the same interest and enthusiasm. 
  • Stay Positive – Make sure that you are positive towards online learning. Make use of the time in the best way and gain knowledge for better learning outcomes.
  • Inform the parents and friends about the time of online learning so that there will be no distractions from their side. Restrict the study area for others to come during live sessions and video calls. Make sure you relax in the breaks set in the time table. In this way, you will concentrate on learning and spend quality time with your friends and family. 
  • To get better learning outcomes, it is important to understand the learning styles. You can learn through interaction, visual presentations, audio classes or written notes. Follow your own learning style that helps in enhancing your learning experience. 
  • Become aware of the importance of communication for better learning. Online learning enhances your learning experience. It provides a platform for communication and interaction with others. In this way, you are able to learn from them and improve their knowledge and skills. If you have any issues in communication, then seek help from teachers and friends. Ask them tools that can help you improve your communication skills. You read, write and interact for better communication.
  • Communicate with your teachers in private to clear doubts either through virtual learning platforms or calls. Your teachers might be able to help you out more clearly. And they can help you with some of the easy reading materials that are simple to understand. You can also take extra time with your teachers and friends after the online classes for a better understanding of the subject. 
  • You can approach your teachers for feedback related to your performance. Teachers can give your personalized guidance for improvement and identify your weaknesses and strengths. You can improve your learning pattern based on the feedback. Unless you receive feedback from teachers, there are chances of less improvement in your learning.

Online Learning Challenges Faced by Teachers

As education is going on online, many educators are being asked to teach their students from home. We know that all the teachers are not aware of online learning and their process as most of them are into traditional classroom teaching. It sometimes makes it difficult for them to change their way of teaching. Proper online training should be given to teachers before teaching students. With all the benefits of online learning still there are few challenges faced by teachers.

There is a saying for every problem, there is a solution. So let us not only see the challenges but also find solutions to overcome them. Here are 10 challenges for teachers faced during the online learning process along with ways to overcome them 

1. Engaging students 

As students are moving towards online learning from traditional classrooms, it becomes difficult for teachers to adjust to a new learning platform. Teaching online may not influence and engage students for longer periods of time. They can easily get distracted and lose concentration during live sessions. 

solution

You need to understand that online learning has a lot of advantages with respect to tools and interesting platforms to engage students in learning. Try to include those tools and multiple types of learning approaches such as podcasts, videos ( teaching channel, own videos, live classes), discussions, various forms of text through articles and blogs, different assessment methods (tests, quizzes, assignments and projects) learning activities and collaboration for better learning outcomes. 

2. Time Commitment

If the course content is thought in person then you might not really understand the time commitment. It is still difficult to convert those learning into effective online format. Teachers should be given some time for proper planning of the content and methods to deliver to the students. Teachers are not able to deliver the effective content in time. It said that teachers take more time in teaching online than face to face. If students exceed their deadline in submitting assignments or projects can lead to more work for you. 

Solution

Use a friendly tone for communicating with your students to establish rapport. You can set reminders for assignments and projects in your learning management system. Send it to your students one week prior to the submission deadline

3. Communication

The more detailed the syllabus, the easier to communicate to the students. Sometimes teachers are not given enough time for the preparation of content for their students. And also there are students who avoid communication with teachers during online learning.

 Online teaching is like communicating without body language, so students might misunderstand and can result in their poor performance. Sometimes students might ask for an extension for their work or give any excuse for the delay 

Solution

Give flexibility for the students when they ask for not making up to their deadlines. You must recognize the need of keeping in contact with the students and understand what kind of activities can accomplish your goal. Conduct discussions for specific content for the students with the opportunity to solve the problem and learning effectively.

 Also providing discussion on practical questions by the students that can reduce frustration, problem-solving skills and handling technical issues. You should provide a platform for the students in order to communicate and collaborate with other fellow classmates. 

4. Assessment 

Assessment is the most important part of online learning for students as well as teachers. And it causes stress to students at times. So whenever there are assignments or projects, teachers might face a lot of questions from the students. As there is less communication between students and teachers, expectation from the students’ performances also differs. Students are likely to experience less homework, less assignments or lack of examination at times. This can cause difficulties for teachers in assessments. 

Solution

You must understand the type of questions students might ask and prepare FAQs for the common questions. Make sure that you give proper assignments and conduct tests at regular intervals. This can help you to assess them based on their performance.

5. Feedback

Every student needs feedback for their performance for improvement. Teachers find it difficult to give feedback to all students individually. Sometimes few students get benefited from it and others don’t. As students are not given proper feedback leading to poor performance. Teachers do not find proper methods of providing feedback to all the students. 

Solution

You should understand how important it is to give feedback for the students for their growth and improvement. Make sure that you provide personalized guidance to all the students so that they can work on their learning abilities.

 6. Learning Management Systems

Teachers experience a hard time in expressing their content to students, especially assignments and assessments. There have been problems with understanding the level of difficulty in terms of course content among students. According to teachers, the incident opportunities that happen face to face communication fail in online learning.

Solution

You should have an understanding of the strong learning management system and web technologies that can help your pedagogy. Think and take advantage of the training and workshops attended during teacher training. Apply the methods for effective teaching and management systems. You can also approach other teachers who know about the management system in online learning.

 7 .Teaching Methods

We know that most of the teachers follow typical classroom-style teaching methods, as they use to teach with only blackboard and books. It becomes difficult for them to adopt new teaching methods that are completely virtual and technology-driven. 

Solution

Most important thing is to get comfortable in a virtual classroom. Find out different kinds of tools that make teaching and assessment simple and easy. You can develop many teaching methods that can improve their learning such as conducting different activities, model making, debates, group activities, virtual tours, group discussions, role play etc. 

8. Fear of Cheating

Sometimes teachers might feel concerned about the risk of cheating in online learning. They feel that students can cheat to get better results in the tests and assignments. 

Solution

There are many reliable ways to enhance the integrity of online learning. You should allow students to take exams according to their convenience. Do not force for assignments or any tests unless they are ready. 

 9. Technical Issues

Many teachers struggle with technical issues that are unavoidable and cause stress. They become helpless if something technical errors come in the middle of the live session or communicating with students.

Solution

You should contact technical support for solving problems that can cause hindrance in the learning process. Make sure you upgrade your computer with apps and software that can help in an effective learning process with a high-speed internet connection. 

10. Course Content

The course content was designed earlier with respect to traditional classrooms. But with the shift to online learning, it requires redesigning of course which can take a considerable amount of time and energy. It would have been successful when it started well in advance for better learning outcomes. Most of the cases, these courses work well in traditional classrooms but go flat in online learning. It happens when there are no content-related activities, assignments or projects that can be done online. 

Solution

You must understand the course content and how to fit it into your online course. Make sure you modify some changes in terms of activities and assignments for a better understanding of the concepts

Conclusion

In this quarantine on line is the only way to continue our Teaching and Learning. Instead of talking about the Problems we have focus on the Solutions to Improve our Condition..Measures have to be Taken by the Government and Educational Institutions to Simplify the Process and Improve the Comfort Level of the Students.

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