In 2020, the United States, along with other world nations, implemented a full “shut-down” of the country to combat the spread of COVID-19. Businesses shut down, employees were unable to make money and children, of all ages, were forced to adapt to online learning. Over the last year, a hard realization that must be considered, online learning is proving to be detrimental for both the students and parents. There are some advantages of online courses for some, but they are leading to overwhelming disadvantages for many others. The negative impact on young learners, especially children in elementary school, is a problem and “deal-breaker” for some parents. It is important that these disadvantages are taken seriously and addressed appropriately. After reviewing relevant information, it appears that students who take online classes experience serious detriments to their well-being, including feelings of isolation, inability to concentrate on academic tasks, and a greater likelihood to procrastinate on completing the lessons and work assigned.
During remote learning, students do not have the traditional educational and social engagement that in-person learning offers. This can make many children feel isolated, and this can lead to a number of different negative effects on different students. Without interaction and inclusive activities, the online learning environment is lacking. There is less student participation and teacher responsiveness (Weir, 2020). Students grow bored, less interested and this adds to the feelings of isolation. Online learning has been around for a long time, and for many students, it is good to fit, but that does not apply to everyone. Online learning became the only option and it is not well-suited to all students. There could be long-term consequences that many young students may face that must be taken seriously and considered. Many students may develop side effects of isolation, including life-long mental health issues like social anxiety and depression (Hart, 2021). This can impede learning and not benefit students. So, at first, we need to be aware of the problem and to know more about procrastination psychology.
In addition, many students who are new to online learning may experience many distractions during their day-to-day work. One major source of distraction is multitasking on the internet. Many may get side-tracked by social media, YouTube videos, and games. They are logged into class, but they are not engaged. Many students require a quiet learning environment in order to avoid distractions. However, students with younger siblings may be exposed to kids playing, loud noises, and constant interruptions. Students need a quiet place to learn, but they also need to be stimulated (Hong, Lee & Ye, 2021). Students often cease paying attention because they are forced to stare at a laptop for hours at a time. There are now concerns that online learning has been hugely ineffective because many students are not retaining what they learn. Being less focused leads to less reading and memorization of the material taught. In fact, one study showed, children only retain 50% to 70% of what they have learned (Weir, 2020). This means that online learning is causing a loss of knowledge and skills. Children are not benefitting from online learning and must be addressed proactively.
Lastly, students that are taking online classes have a daily battle with procrastination. Many students of all ages have always procrastinated when it comes to completing homework and studying for tests in traditional schools. However, in online learning that procrastination is greater. When they begin to procrastinate in online schooling, the student’s grades will suffer. This procrastination can and will have negative impacts on students and may place them behind their peers in knowledge and skills gained (Hong, Lee & Ye, 2021). Very often, students procrastinate because they may be confused or intimidated by the instructions and materials given. In a traditional school setting teachers are present and able to answer questions, but in online classes that exchange is not always available. As previously mentioned, online learners are subject to distractions. Many students procrastinate, especially when they spend their time working alone, and many opt to avoid their work by cleaning their room or playing video games. Online learning is resulting in lower grades, lower graduation rates, and higher dropout rates (Weir, 2020). This is not beneficial for any students.
Ultimately, if a student knows that they are about to begin an online course then it is necessary for parents and educators to consider the costs of the disadvantages present in online learning. These students are very likely to face feelings of isolation, inability to concentrate, and a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to school work and study. Parents must be prepared to address these and educators must be proactively improving the way online learning is implemented. Online students do not have to suffer through these issues, there are alternatives. There are now online groups that allow children to work together online. This will lessen the feelings of isolation, they are less likely to be distracted if engaged in interactive activities and are less likely to procrastinate during group projects. Again, there are some students, particularly older or self-sufficient learners that may benefit from virtual learning, who do not require supervision or regular teacher interactions. However, this is not speaking to the majority. No one could have expected a pandemic to strike, but that does not mean that the quality and effectiveness of education should not be sacrificed. There are clearly serious disadvantages to online learning for many students and that must be immediately addressed. If children are to continue to adapt to online learning, then school approaches and practices must change in order to address the negative issues that are currently associated with online schooling.