Are you a parent or student worried about the adverse effects of online learning on mental health? Is it safe to continue with online education as opposed to traditional face-to-face learning? The debate continues.
It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of various sectors globally, with education not left out. In a bid to prioritize population health and safety at the time, switching to virtual learning became the order of the day, but have we reverted to our old teaching methods? In recent years, online education has become the most popular and essential in most parts of the world post-Covid. Could this be part of the forecasted ‘New Normal’?
Sometimes, one might get puzzled at how kids in years 10 to 13 now navigate through the GCSE and A-level exams without much physical guidance, like in the pre-Covid days. Students taking up science-based subjects (like chemistry and biology) and essay-based subjects (like history and politics) need more teaching, which virtual learning can provide, but at a great cost. If schools implement the hybrid system – a mix of in-person and virtual, what relative percentages are we looking at?
This article highlights the pros and cons of online learning, touching on its impact on students’ mental health. The existence of varied opinions on this subject requires a good understanding to develop methods of managing challenges and improving your virtual learning experience.
What are the Pros and Cons of Virtual learning?
Fact, as invaluable as online education may sound, it does not work for everyone. A few people have outlined the following drawbacks to one’s mental health as regards learning online:
· Increased stress and anxiety
· Social isolation and reduced interactions
· Fatigue (as called Zoom fatigue)
· Worsening of already existing medical conditions; and so on.
Let’s begin by stating the obvious.
One of the biggest advantages of online learning is likely the freedom to study whenever and wherever without traveling. One could study at their own pace, student or not.
In a survey done by Oxford College UK, respondents were asked what they liked most about online learning. 84% said online courses provided more flexibility than in-person learning. Also worthy of note here is the Study mind platform, which helps students prepare for a wide range of exams such as the GCSE, A-level, etc by providing 1-on-1 tutors for a personalized and efficient learning experience.
It can be tailored to different needs
Different people learn differently, and online learning does everything to ensure that all learning needs are met. For example, a student planning to transition from GCSEs through A-level exams into the university to study medicine would find taking the A-level biology and A-level chemistry a requirement; but these are no easy feat.
A student having difficulty understanding chemical bonding in A-level chemistry could find it easier to comprehend with A-level chemistry tutors at Study mind. The reviews always speak for themselves.
With virtual learning, location is no longer a barrier; neither is culture and nationality. All fears of sociocultural limitations are gone. One could decide to learn from anywhere in the world and be taught by a culture-specific tutor or in any language of choice.
Not only are online students able to begin a course immediately, but they can also see immediate results, whether self-paced or instructor-led. Do you want something fast and easy to start while preparing for your GCSEs and A-level? You should give Study mind a shot.
Bringing up the survey from Oxford college once again, students were asked where they found online learning easier than in-person learning. 36.9% of respondents stated they found completing an online course simpler than completing a regular classroom environment. 34% still preferred in-person classes, while 29.1% found both methods equally useful
There is some concern for shy kids or introverts. Getting them to speak in public proves a challenge, but they are likely to open up in a well-controlled study environment with just a tutor virtually. Interactive software offered by Study mind could help them answer questions anonymously to test their knowledge. In other instances of online learning, they could enter discussions without fear of embarrassment, which in the long run, builds their self-confidence.
Increased information retention
Compared to traditional face-to-face education, which has only 8-10% retention rates, e-learning has up to 60%, implying that students retain more of what they have learned. E-learning generally gives students more control over the learning process, allowing them to revisit what they have learned if necessary, promoting better information retention.
Reduced energy consumption
A study found that online learning reduced energy consumption by a whopping 90% compared to the traditional classroom setting in the UK. Astonishing! Energy is saved on large building lighting, temperature control, and student and teacher travel.
Other advantages may include:
· Downloadable study materials
· Lots of supervision
· Preparation for a remote future: In another 3-5 years, about 70% of the US workforce will work remotely for at least 5 working days per month.
· Development of independent skills
To conclude: Do the pros outweigh the cons of the Mental health impact?
Online learning offers a great lifeline to students to have a better educational journey as they grow, training themselves to be more disciplined, diverse, and in better control of what they want to study and how it should be studied.
It is here to stay. The challenges may not affect all. However, those who may have experienced one or two may not be rid of them that easily (if it is related to one’s mood), but they could do much better with the right tools and information, such as Study mind. You are not alone!
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