Manchester, UK

COVID 19 has changed the way we live in a number of unprecedented ways. Social distancing means that students all around the world have had to learn to adapt to remote learning. Remote learning is definitely different to classroom learning. There are distinctive differences to learning at home and this means that there are a number of challenges too. This article outlines the challenges related to remote learning and some possible strategies to overcome them.

  1. Remote learning is more difficult for younger children

According to research by Ofsted, some teachers have found teaching younger children remotely in key stage one has been “particularly difficult”. This is because teaching younger children tends to rely on hands-on activities and some of the resources that are vital for these activities parents do not have at home.

The government is concerned about the impact this is having on younger children’s learning and communication development. Children’s development relies on interaction and activities with other children and this lack of interaction is a huge concern for nurseries and primary schools.

How to overcome the challenge of remote learning being more difficult for younger children:

Children need to socialise and learn with other children; this means that teachers can make use of applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams and create small groups of students in online breakout rooms for subjects like art and drama. Teachers can even create groups with online games so that children can continue to socialise with other children.

  1. Some students are finding it difficult to adapt to remote learning 

While many students have embraced remote learning, some students have found it difficult to adapt to it.

How to overcome the challenge of students not being able to adapt to remote learning:

Teachers can overcome this issue by being realistic with their expectations of students and being flexible like providing students with regular breaks which means that there will be higher levels of student engagement.

  1. There is a lack of access to computer devices for school children

Schools are extremely worried about the digital divide and how this is having an impact on children’s learning outcomes. It can be argued that remote learning is widening the achievement gap between students who come from richer and poorer families.

However, even students who do have access to a device can still encounter problems with remote learning like poor internet connection, having to share the device with siblings and the availability or unavailability of parental guidance.

How to overcome the challenge of a lack of access to computer devices for school children:

Businesses and charities can help with this challenge. For example, The London Grid for Learning (LGfL) has a scheme called Bridge the Divide, they have been providing two million cheap Chromebooks and WinBooks to school students.

  1. Some students may lack focus when studying at home

Students’ ability to focus when studying at home has been a challenge that has been highlighted by parents, this is because there are more distractions for students at home like the television and games consoles.

How to overcome the challenge of students lacking focus while studying at home:

Teachers should make sure to provide their students with regular breaks as this boosts their morale and concentration. This also means concentrating on less content in short periods of time as it makes it easier to teach students complex topics.

  1. Remote learning has more of an impact on students with disabilities and learning difficulties

Schools have been concerned that there will be greater learning gaps for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. They also worry about the negative impacts of these students’ mental health from remote learning because of not being able to socialise with other students.

How to overcome the challenge of the impact remote learning is having for students with disabilities and learning difficulties:

Schools must provide remote education that is inclusive for students with disabilities and special needs.

Some final thoughts.

Overall, remote learning raises its fair share of challenges, and it can be especially problematic for younger students and students with disabilities and learning difficulties. The key to delivering excellent remote learning for students is planning and preparation.