How Online Learning Failed

Posted by Hannah Thompson on June 28, 2022


how online learning failed

In March 2020, students and teachers were suddenly forced to stay at home as schools were shuttered because of Covid-19. As a result, students worldwide became online learners almost overnight, and teachers who had never utilized Zoom or Google Meet before were suddenly thrust into a digital classroom.


During the 2020-2021 school year, most students in the United States alternated between virtual, hybrid, and in-person schooling. As a result, multiple schedule changes occurred, students were allocated new teachers in the middle of the year, and they struggled with shaky internet connections and Zoom fatigue.


When in-person courses resumed in the fall of 2021, students returned to the classroom disengaged and unmotivated. After a year or more of remote classes, students established bad habits that made it difficult for them to learn in person.


Online Learning Changed How Students Behave 


One of the essential parts of education and learning is the teacher-student bond. It was harder, if not impossible, to form those student-teacher relationships with online learning. Because of this, students were less motivated to learn and complete their work. Due to the lack of motivation, students were also more apt to cheat or skip classes when they had never cheated or cut before.


Coupled with this lack of motivation was the leniency and flexibility of teachers and professors with due dates, attendance requirements, and more. While this leniency was intended to help students, it actually hindered student performance as in-person classes resumed. Ironically, less stringent requirements contributed to the problem by making it too simple for students to skip classes and disengage entirely. 


College professors report uninterested students, low attendance, late or missing assignments, little discussion, and failed exams.


In short, students developed bad habits during online learning that have hurt their ability to learn successfully in person.


Online Learning Resulted In Lower Test Scores 


A pandemic that altered American culture and disrupted almost a year of schooling also hindered math and reading progress for millions of students in the United States.


The first statewide examination following the coronavirus outbreak produced a somber picture of how school closures and virtual learning may have impacted New Jersey students. For example, students in elementary school appear to have more "unfinished learning" than students in secondary school. And it seems that students are having more difficulty with math than with language arts.


In math, 49.3 percent of fourth-graders scored in the lowest category, while 41.5 percent scored in the lowest category in reading. Across all grades, at least 25% of students scored in the lowest category, Level 1, in both subjects.


How Can We Fix It? 


Your child's foundational math or Language Arts skills can also be thought of as bricks in a brick wall. Each layer of the brick wall is a grade level, with each brick representing a foundational skill learned during that year. With online learning, many of these bricks are missing. When you try to add another layer of bricks on top of a shaky foundation, the wall will eventually crumble.


Now for the good news- there is help to get your child back on track. 

Thankfully, more specific help in small groups can help your child gain those missing bricks, so their foundation will be strong for future learning. 


Talk to us about your needs, and we can schedule an assessment to see what foundational skills or concepts your child is missing. 

We look forward to getting your child back on track and giving them more confidence in school!

Topics: Education, academics, Classroom, Child Rearing, Teaching Children, Child Education, Child Development, Math Skills, Digital Learning, online learning, virtual learning, distance learning, covid slide, Learning Loss, Learning Challenges

What To Do Next…

1 Get your free 60-minute Child Assessment and learn:

  • If your child is learning at the appropriate age level.
  • Your child’s strengths and where they need additional help.
  • If your child has an affinity for a particular subject, they may excel in.
  • Our professional recommendations and learning strategy for your child.
  • And much more…

2 Have more questions? Call us at 732-651-2700 to discuss your Child's specific needs.