This year, millions of students and teachers were required to replace a traditional classroom setup with virtual learning. The growing demand for online learning has led to an increase in courses and webinars that are available on various platforms throughout the web.
As you can imagine, it takes a little time to adapt to this new learning environment. Despite the advantages of online learning, there’s a set of challenges that coincide with virtual classroom training. Here are a few common challenges and how to overcome them.
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Clearly, you need a good Internet connection when you’re learning online, but this can be a barrier in certain areas, even rural America. Many people across the globe are experiencing technical problems due to the high usage rate of eLearning systems, video platforms, and other similar tools. Overloaded software and unstable web connections have caused many students, teachers, and trainers to struggle with online learning.
How to Overcome This: When it comes to Internet connectivity issues, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But, in general, it’s best to upgrade your plan to a faster speed or change providers. There are free websites where you can check the speed of your connection before class starts. This also shows you if you’re really getting the connection speeds that you’re paying for.
Shortage of Devices
Not everyone has a personal computer, laptop, or tablet. Many students need to share a device with their parents or siblings, which may prevent them from attending certain lectures.
How to Overcome This: The school or organization should seek solutions to support students facing such difficulties. Ideally, students would have the option of borrowing a device for the duration of their class. It’s also recommended that teachers or trainers set flexible time frames for finishing assignments in case technical issues arise.
Lack of Digital Literacy
In this day and age, the need for digital literacy is clear. However, while most students feel comfortable using different types of online tools, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t need guidance as they learn to navigate new software. Technology is not always intuitive, so continuous practice and application are a must. For teachers and students from older generations, using online tools may, at first, feel alienating, which can lead to frustration.
How to Overcome This: One way to ease the transition to virtual learning is to provide more digital literacy resources. It is also crucial for platforms to supply guides and how-to tutorials so users can easily become familiarized with the software. Access to support services, including technical support by phone or live chat, is also crucial.
Related Content: Online Learning, How To Efficiently Manage the Transition
Accessibility for the Hearing Impaired
Deaf students, or those who have some degree of hearing loss, may find that their accessibility needs aren’t being met. This lack of consideration can leave students feeling marginalized in a virtual learning setup. The challenges of the hearing impaired students are many, including lack of closed captions, lack of subtitles, lack of electronic notes, and so on.
How to Overcome This: Students with extra needs should be provided with lesson scripts, video transcriptions (with the help of voice-to-text applications), and motion-picture-based materials that can help them stay engaged.
Students and teachers rarely pay attention to the amount and nature of personal data that digital tools collect from them. They’re too busy with lessons and assignments. It’s easy to neglect our privacy when we take advantage of free subscription plan features.
However, earlier this year, the popular software-based conference room solution “Zoom” made headlines when it was shown to store video conference recordings without a password. This is why we must learn to prioritize data security.
How to Overcome This: Students and schools should only use software products that don’t collect their data for anything other than educational purposes. It’s also our responsibility to be careful about the things we disclose on the Internet. To avoid the risk of compromising your data security, you should follow different cybersecurity practices. For instance, one should be attentive when opening emails from unknown senders, don’t click on suspicious links, avoid downloading unknown applications, and keep software updated.
When working or learning from home, one may find it challenging to manage their time as efficiently as possible. Online learning is just a different way of doing things, so it takes time for students and teachers to implement into their daily lives. On the flip side, virtual learning allows for a more flexible schedule, unlike traditional classes. Still, adjustments have to be made for a new schedule so you don’t risk falling behind in class.
How to Overcome This: Students should avoid any distractions that prevent them from paying attention in class. This includes putting the phone somewhere out of reach while attending online lessons. Students can also create daily lists to keep track of all the main activities for the day. Students that struggle with time management shouldn’t be afraid to seek help from the instructor, or even other students.
Traditional classes are able to engage students in some ways that virtual learning can’t, but the reverse is also true. Although teachers provide reading material, pre-recorded educational videos, live sessions, live chats, assignments, and other such content, many students still don’t find these activities as engaging as traditional ones.
How to Overcome This: Students should feel comfortable discussing their problems and concerns privately with their teachers. And more so when it comes to students who need further guidance and attention while acclimating to virtual lessons.
Lack of Practical Lessons
The best way to learn something is often through practice. Unfortunately, many online courses focus solely on the theoretical aspect of a subject and overlook the importance of applying it. Consequently, students may not find what they have been taught useful in their day-to-day lives. This can make it difficult to care about the material. How to Overcome This: Courses should be designed to be as useful and practical as possible. Teachers and trainers can also use simulators, a technology that has been available for decades now. Simulators can recreate real-life situations in controlled environments, allowing students to put their skills to practical use.
Substandard Course Quality
If the quality of a course is not up to par, students will become frustrated because they’ll need to find the information somewhere else and learn more on their own. These courses and materials don’t provide enough value to students.
How to Overcome This: Teachers and trainers need feedback from students. In particular, if the current learning materials are not valuable to the class, some improvements will obviously need to be made.
Cheating on Assignments
Many teachers believe that the online learning environment encourages students to cheat on their assignments. Although this is more possible than it would be in a traditional classroom setting, there are ways to prevent cheating from happening
How to Overcome This: If you’re a teacher or a trainer and you worry that your students may find ways to cheat on an exam, be sure to set clear rules. One option is to time tests so students won’t have extra time to look up answers. Some students may try to cheat simply because they’re falling behind in their online classes and need some help to get back on track.
Not Being Provided Feedback
Students need feedback so they know if they are doing well in class or not. The problem is, giving and receiving feedback online can sometimes be harder for both students and teachers. Some students forget to check their email or assignments for comments and suggestions.
How to Overcome This: If this is an issue, it can be helpful for instructors to occasionally remind their students to review emails, as well as assignment notes. This keeps the channels of communication open.
Lack of Motivation
Students need motivation to complete online tasks, remain engaged with the material, and retain information from the course. Staying in a motivated state of mind can be hard when students aren’t surrounded by their classmates or teachers in a traditional setting.
How to Overcome This: Having a hard time finding motivation is nothing uncommon. The simplest solution is to encourage learners to connect with other students in order to stay engaged. Group work is a great way to promote motivation, as is a little healthy competition. Reward can be used to help motivate young students.
Related Content: Virtual Instructor-Led Training: How to Boost Motivation
In a traditional learning environment, students can communicate face-to-face, share their experiences, hone their social skills, and have fun with their classmates. Online learning, on the other hand, may cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.
How to Overcome This: Humans need to interact with one another, and not just online. Now more than ever, it’s an instructor’s job to provide support to their students and help them stay connected. Tell your students that you are open to communication and find time to discuss their concerns.
Virtual classroom training is here to stay, and regardless of the challenges it poses, we should celebrate the many benefits it has to offer. Virtual learning is expected to continue to redefine how we share knowledge and skills.
For the best virtual training delivery solutions, ReadyTech is a name you can trust. Instructors and learners can benefit from innovative training features, 24/7 support, and flexible pricing. Want to learn more? Reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!