Impact of Online Education on Families: Understanding the Transition to Remote Learning
Impact of Remote Learning on Children’s Education
- 65% of parents are concerned about their children possibly falling behind academically due to school disruptions and online learning.
- 63% of parents are concerned about their children having too much screen time.
- 60% of parents are concerned about their children being able to maintain social connections.
- 59% of parents are concerned about their children’s emotional well-being.
- Digital inequity. The children who have struggled the most lack access to consistent high-speed internet service and a one-to-one device for online learning. Successful online learning isn’t possible without these technologies, and millions of students simply don’t have them.
- Lack of structure. Many students perform best in a structured environment with a set routine. These students may be more distracted at home. They may skip assignments or class meetings, an action that can negatively impact online education. Many parents are working while their children engage in online learning. These families especially may struggle to offer the same level of structure at home that children get at school.
- Decreased engagement. Many students struggle with the lack of face-to-face interaction with their teachers and peers during online learning. Teachers may not be able to tell which students are on task and which students need more support. Disengaged students may not participate in class discussions online, and if a whole class is disengaged, that makes for one quiet, unproductive class meeting.
- More flexible schedules. Many children struggle with an on-campus school day’s rigid schedule, which can negatively impact their grades and retention. These students may thrive on the flexibility that remote learning provides.
- More self-paced instruction. Some students may benefit from breaking assignments into manageable chunks and taking a break when needed, advantages not always available in an on-campus environment. During online learning, students find it easier to work at their own pace.
- Fewer distractions. Students who are easily distracted or anxious may find it easier to concentrate and focus on schoolwork at home. Shy students may struggle to answer questions or participate in class but find it easier to participate online.
- Improved self-regulation skills. Students are working more independently by tracking their schedules, remembering what time meetings are, setting time during the day to work on assignments, and tracking due dates.
- More sleep. Students are also benefiting from more sleep. One simple impact of online education is that children are better rested, which improves learning outcomes.
Impact of Online Education on Children’s Development
- Disengaged. Families are finding that many students are skipping classes or playing games instead of doing classwork. For many students, interacting with peers was the best part of school. Without that social connection, those students may struggle to remain engaged at all. Students may also have difficulty reading and communicating emotional cues via online video platforms.
- Isolated. Families worry that students are socially isolated during online learning. While many parents have worked to reduce the amount of time their children spend in front of a screen, those children may now spend several hours each day on a computer for school with little human interaction. The lack of one-on-one interaction can especially hinder younger students from developing social skills.
- Unmotivated. Peer relationships can foster a sense of motivation. When students work on group projects or presentations, or even just interact in class discussions, it can be motivating. When forced to work in isolation, they no longer have that motivation.
- Depression. The social isolation a child may feel during online education can lead to depression. Additionally, children who get a lot of confidence from school may be struggling without the individual feedback they usually receive from teachers.
- Pandemic concerns. Children may be worried about themselves or family members contracting COVID-19. They may have loved ones who are sick with the virus or may have lost a family member.
- Financial worries. Some parents have lost their jobs or income because of COVID-19, a loss that stresses everyone in the household, including children.
Impact of Virtual Schooling on Family Dynamics
- Parents may feel more connected to their children’s day-to-day education.
- Parents may better understand what their children are learning.
- Parents may have a stronger understanding of their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses.
- Parents may have a closer relationship with their children’s teachers.
Resources for Navigating the Impact of Online Education
- Common Sense, “Parent Tips and Tricks for Distance Learning”: Learn how to encourage and motivate children to succeed in online learning with these tips.
- Mom.com, “8 of the Best Virtual Learning Resources for Parents”: Discover parent-approved apps and websites to enhance online learning.
- New York Public Library, Remote Learning Resources: Kids & Teens: Delve into online education resources from the New York Public Library.
- Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Resources for Parents and Families for Remote Learning: Explore ways to support children’s social, emotional, and behavior skills with these resources.
- U.S. News & World Report, “10 Teaching Resources for Parents During COVID-19”: Find additional resources to help children learn at home.