The student experience with online learning can greatly vary and depend on several factors, such as their individual learning styles, the quality of the instructional design, and their personal experiences. Research studies have shown that teens may have mixed feelings about online learning, as it can be more flexible and convenient, but may also lack the social interaction and in-person instruction of traditional classes. Furthermore, students who have previously struggled in school may find that the lack of structure in online learning can be detrimental to their academic progress without good instructional design. Additionally, students’ motivation for learning is another crucial factor that can be impacted by online learning.
National data suggests that student engagement is lower in online learning than traditional in-person classes, with reports showing that students tend to struggle with motivation and attention, as well as with the management of the self-directed and independent nature of online classes. Additionally, the shift to online learning has also taken a toll on teachers, as it has resulted in increased workload, isolation, and lack of personal interactions. This can lead to burnout, which can have an impact on the quality of instruction and teachers’ ability to connect with students, which can further decrease student engagement. When it comes to student motivation, online learning can present some challenges such as a lack of immediate feedback, lack of personal interactions, and difficulty in creating a sense of belonging. All of these can negatively impact student motivation and engagement. However, good instructional design can help to mitigate these challenges by creating engaging and interactive online learning experiences, fostering social interactions, and providing clear and consistent expectations, direction, and support to students.
It’s important to note that online learning has become a necessity during the pandemic and the availability of other options are limited. However, the quality of instructional design, as well as the attention and effort put into fostering student motivation, can greatly impact the student’s experience and the effectiveness of the learning process. To address this challenge, it’s also important to consider strategies to support teachers and address the root causes of teacher burnout to ensure the best possible learning experience for students. With good instructional design, and efforts to promote student motivation, online learning can provide a valuable and effective alternative for students during the pandemic and beyond, despite the data showing lower engagement and motivation.