Capturing the Benefits of Remote Learning
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, schools across the world switched from traditional in-person learning to remote learning. While remote delivery of courses was already prevalent pre-2020, the pandemic brought it into the mainstream.
Remote learning is here to stay, and more students than ever are asking for the option—especially adult learners who don’t have the time to sit in a classroom or travel to campus.
But is remote learning as effective? The short answer is yes—but only if you know how to do it right. In this blog, we’ll cover what remote learning is, some common pitfalls associated with remote learning, and how to maximize the benefits of remote learning for your own education.
What is Remote Learning?
Remote learning is any situation where the instructor and students are physically separated from one another. The “classroom” experience is typically facilitated through computer-based collaboration tools where information and ideas are exchanged via the Internet. A core component of remote learning is the learning management system, or LMS, which contains all the lesson material, assessments, and discussion areas for a particular class.
Class sessions can be held in real-time (synchronously), where instructors are all working through course materials together using platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and WebEx. In this model, the LMS commonly plays a supporting role, handling course reminders and course assessments.
Asynchronous learning models, where each student works through the material at their own pace, are also popular. The LMS plays a more central role in asynchronous courses, coordinating the delivery of nearly all course materials.
Common Pitfalls Associated with Remote Learning
As we saw during the pandemic, not all educational institutions were equally prepared to cope with the sudden switch to remote learning. To be successful with remote learning, both instructors and students need additional training. For instructors, this involves getting familiar with remote learning-based tools and best practices for facilitating remote learning courses. Students are typically more comfortable with using online tools but can struggle with being self-disciplined when working with less supervision.
Remote learning can also feel isolating to some students, especially in courses that are taught asynchronously. Without live human interaction, instructors and peers can feel distant. This dynamic can increase barriers to building relationships and make students feel like they are all alone when it comes to being successful. Instructors are also unable to read the facial expressions of students and get real-time feedback as to whether their students truly understand the material or are confused.
Lastly, instructors often worry about academic integrity when dealing with remote learners. A common drawback of remote learning is ensuring that students turn in original work. Students taking quizzes remotely can often use notes but usually face stricter time limits that limit their ability to look up answers. These stricter time limits can create added stress that can trigger anxiety in learners.
How to Capture the Benefits of Remote Learning
Despite the pitfalls discussed, studies show that there is little to no difference in the outcomes of remote learners when compared to traditional learners. When done correctly, remote learning has proved to be effective time and again. Indeed, many students find remote learning to be superior to traditional classrooms.
However, to realize the benefits of remote learning, you need to apply several strategies that will help you become successful as a remote learner. The most important tips are listed below:
- Develop a plan and work on it. The most successful remote learners know how to assess the work requirements and develop a plan of action. They are skilled at breaking larger projects into smaller pieces and sticking to self-imposed deadlines that ensure they aren’t racing to finish their work at the last minute.
- Work when you’re at your best. Remote learning provides students with unparalleled flexibility in how they manage their time and energy. For example, you can choose to work in any space where you feel the most productive and focused. You can even take your courses with you when you are traveling for business or for fun! You can work on your course materials at any time, so if you’re a morning person, you can get your work done then. If you prefer to work later into the night, you have that option too. What’s important is that you’re able to study and work at times when you’re the most productive.
- Encourage meet-ups and collaboration. Being a remote learner doesn’t mean that you can’t interact with your instructor or other classmates. Take advantage of office hours and take time to get to know your instructor so they know how you work. Reach out to other members of your classes and see if people are interested in study groups. In this fashion, you’ll be able to attain the “best of both worlds” between remote learning and traditional course settings.
- Practice good self-care. When working in remote learning settings, it is critical that you keep an eye on your own mental health since it will be difficult for others to notice if you’re in distress. Seek support when you need it and practice good lifestyle habits such as eating right, exercising, and taking breaks to keep your body and mind in good shape. Keep a journal to help keep your thoughts organized and work to always stay positive.
- Keep track of your progress. As you blaze new trails in pursuit of your educational goals, keep track of any discussion points, assignments, projects, etc. along the way so you can use them to assess your growth. And, who knows? Perhaps something you worked on for a class could be just what you need to jump-start another initiative later in life!
Harness the Benefits of Remote Learning at Walsh
In this blog, we covered some key aspects of remote learning. We looked at what remote learning is, common pitfalls associated with it, and how you capture the benefits of remote learning. Remote learning can be a very effective way to earn your degree, but not if it’s executed poorly. Walsh College has been offering quality degrees in a remote delivery format for over 20 years and has long been recognized for serving remote students well. Learn more about our flexible programs to boost your career and open up new possibilities for your future.