You might remember we posted about the Top 5 Benefits of Online Learning last week? Well, there’s not always good news in the world and it’s important to examine both sides of the coin when discussing online learning. So, in the interests of fair play, let’s explore the Top 5 Disadvantages of Online Learning:
1. Limited interaction with teachers and peers: Online learning can be isolating and lack the personal interaction of traditional classroom settings. Students may have limited opportunities to ask questions and engage in discussions with teachers and peers. This is particularly true if you are engaged in autonomous learning – that is, working through an online course on your own. Yes, all of our courses at Voyager School are designed for autonomous learning but they don’t have to be – students can work through them with a parent or tutor and we also offer the same courses in small group online classes – starting mid-April, 2023.
2. Technical difficulties: Online learning requires a reliable internet connection, a computer, and appropriate software. Technical issues such as slow internet speed or malfunctioning hardware can impede the learning experience. Unfortunately, Australia ranks 74th in the world for internet speeds, according to journalist Nathan Jolly at Channelnews.com.au. Back in 2021 Australia ranked 59th (!) for fast internet so Australia’s global ranking has slipped even further.
3. Distractions and lack of structure: Online learning can be challenging for students who struggle with self-discipline and time management. The lack of a structured schedule and the distractions of being at home can make it difficult for some students to stay focused. This is especially true for students with ADHD where time management is a major challenge.
4. Limited access to resources: While online learning provides access to a wealth of digital resources, some students may not have the necessary equipment or technology to access them. This is also known as the technology gap – inequitable access to technology between rich and poor, developed and less-developed nations. Thankfully there are charities like the Smith Family that specialise in equipping disadvantaged students with better technology.
5. Assessment and feedback challenges: Online assessments can be challenging for teachers to design and for students to complete. Additionally, providing timely and effective feedback can be difficult in an online learning environment. At Voyager School our online assessments are quizzes which contain a mix of multi-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank questions, true or false questions and match-up questions. Because they are marked by the computer, feedback and results are immediate. However, setting assignment work, which must be marked by a teacher, adds an extra labour cost and is something that we’re working towards, as our school grows!