For Some, Virtual Learning Poses Many Challenges


Grayce Nelson

Virtual learning has become a fundamental part of daily life since the outbreak of COVID-19. Many schools have adopted this style of learning to prevent the spread of the virus as well as make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. There are other positives to virtual learning. North Little Rock High School teacher Cassie Rogers believes that virtual learning is helpful to students that are inconvenienced for that day, whether a student is sick, his or her ride fell through, or is late for class. A student does not miss any information for that day, because everything is on Google Classroom. However, this new way of learning still poses many challenges.

Many students and teachers have internet connection issues throughout the Google Meets, an application that is commonly used with virtual learning. The Google Meet tends to kick people out or lag behind. Sometimes you cannot see or hear the teacher talking, which causes the student to fall behind or miss out on important information or entire lessons. It is not the students or the teachers’ fault, but it is something that they have to learn to deal with. Because of such issues, the teachers may not be able to fully teach their lesson — many may have to adjust their lesson and always be prepared for something to go wrong.

Students may also struggle with logging in on time due to these internet connection issues. Class also has the possibility to start later than usual due to waiting on students to join; this can cause lessons to be shorter.

Assignments on the computer can be difficult at times, which calls for some adapting on the part of many students. Students who went from writing on physical worksheets to typing on a virtual document will have to get more comfortable with using technology. Demonstrating certain lessons and activities over the computer can be very frustrating for the teacher and student to understand. “Sometimes the work is harder; it would be easier on a worksheet,” says Jaden Parker, a virtual student at NLRHS. “The teachers always ask us to print papers out.”

Virtual students are not in the classroom physically, so their primary source of communication with teachers is through email. Students cannot just stop by their teachers’ classrooms anymore. Most students have never used their school email willingly until now. Teachers receive a lot of emails, with the number increasing since virtual classes have started. Students have to be patient with the teacher, because they may not respond to the students fast. This new situation calls for students to be more responsible, as far as checking their emails frequently and being considerate of their teachers. Cassie Rogers agrees that there are challenges to virtual learning. Rogers states, ¨Since the children are at their homes, they´re very comfortable. One problem is that students do not like to have their camera on, they lay in their bed, and students do not take notes as frequently as face to face students do.¨ She states that it is hard to really know if a student is truly paying attention. Rogers believes to make virtual learning better, students’ parents should help their children understand why virtual learning rules are enforced.

Another setback for many virtual students is not being able to see their friends and peers. Most students only go to school because of their friends and now they can’t talk to them, which negatively impacts student motivation. On a typical school day, students wake up and get ready to go to school to spend a day with people they enjoy, despite a possible dislike of school itself. Now, most students are lying in bed.They are not excited nor are they looking forward to going anywhere physically. This makes students feel less inclined to get their work done. Lack of motivation is by far the biggest challenge that comes with virtual learning, because without motivation, students will not commit to their work.

Students can stay motivated by keeping a single goal in mind, graduation…”

— Brouke Reynolds

The Director of the Virtual Academy, Dr. Brouke Reynolds, says, “Students can stay motivated by keeping a single goal in mind, graduation…” She also suggested that, “Students can begin by creating a schedule for themselves. They still need to get up and get dressed as they would if attending school.” She adds, “Creating a work space that is separate from where they sleep, watch, TV, or eat is important. This will help eliminate distractions while doing school work”.

The North Little Rock School District is aware of all of these challenges, and proposed a plan to help teachers and students. The North Little Rock School District will be participating in Virtual Learning Fridays starting on the week of October 23, 2020. Fridays will be a day where teachers can have extra time to lesson plan, grade, and help any students in need. For the students logging in or going face-to-face is optional. This will be a day where students can ask for any extra help and work on any missing assignments. The goal of Virtual Learning Fridays is to provide students and teachers with additional help and support during this overwhelming time. Even with the implementation of Virtual Learning Fridays, students will need to overcome all of the challenges and learn self-discipline to ensure that they will have a successful school year.