Student Challenges in the New Normal Education: Challenges and Alternatives

Reference & EducationEducation

  • Author Anis Adriena Jane Binti Hishamuddin
  • Published August 1, 2021
  • Word count 967

Since the COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted people's normal lives around the world, the online environment has stepped in to help. The world appears to an end because of the novel coronavirus. Several businesses will have to shut down, projects have been postponed, and schools have been forced to close. On the other hand, students will indeed continue their education mostly through online learning, either conducted synchronously or asynchronously. The procedure is currently the ideal solution since keeping the universities open might poses a health risk to students.

As a home-learning student, it was challenging to adapt to online school because they had not been taught earlier through practices or simulations. Many students stated that the home-learning program was considerably more stressful than normal classrooms. Normal classes may have been challenging, however, having buddies makes everything more bearable and less burdensome. Online classes eliminate the advantages of having people to interact with and being stuck alone with assignments. There are a few challenges that students encounter, as well as suggestions for how to overcome them for successful education.

First, the greatest obstacle to online learning is indicative of poor and unstable internet connections, as those commonly used at home have limited capacity or have reached their quota. Many students probably do not have a strong internet connection or cannot afford the internet plan required for online learning. Therefore, they are having difficulties going live for virtual learning and other platforms that require an internet connection.

Hence, a certain alternative should be pursued to address these issues, such as expanding or upgrading existing community Internet centers so the students, particularly in rural areas, can access them for free. This could ensure that the learning process is not delayed for students who do not have access to or a stable Internet connection, and those who do not have gadgets. In addition, educators can provide remote learning accessible by using offline features. They can enable offline access for G Suite apps such as Drive, and so on. Interestingly, students may download an outstanding Google Docs offline extension for the Chrome web browser, which allows students and teachers to view content on various productivity apps such as Sheets, Google Docs, and others without requiring them to connect to the internet.

Next, online learning can be challenging due to numerous distractions. Social media and family are the most common causes of distraction for college students. Since the house acts as the classroom for online learning, these distractions might be difficult to avoid. The urge to respond to the notification from social media and SMS might pull their attention. Even during lectures, family members might interrupt them by seeking something. It can be difficult to say no to family, but it is necessary to set limits and ensure that everybody understands which interruptions are allowed and which should be postponed until your study session ends.

Controlling digital distractions can be incredibly difficult when students need to complete their assignments using a phone or laptop. Setting off notifications is an effective way to limit distractions so they will not be bothered to wander from their responsibilities. Other alternatives for dealing with distractions as an online student include being more organized, create a timetable, planning out assignments and projects for each term, and avoid procrastination. They also must communicate with their family to split household tasks and ensure they have a break to refresh.

Moreover, the workload during online distance learning is heavier compared to normal classes. Students are currently under a tremendous amount of stress because of online lectures, quizzes, assignments, and other coursework. The issue is some educators tend to assign more homework to substitute the inability to meet in person, they may be unaware of the amount of work given to students. The continuous assessment along with online courses has prompted students to spend most of their time staring at a laptop screen. Too much screen time has long been recognized to be unhealthy, and this epidemic has begun to harm them both emotionally and physically. When they are forced to sit in front of the laptop all day, they are more likely to develop depressive moods and restlessness. Students could become stressed due to the unmanageable workload, and they may believe they are trapped in a never-ending routine of class.

Thus, it is helpful for educators to understand that workload is defined not only by the number of pages students should answer, but also by how cognitively complex the assignment is. The extra pressure of the outbreak may cause students to have a higher cognitive load such as their reading performance being slower, being more easily distracted, and having difficulty managing their time. It is something for educators to take into consideration while assigning tasks and setting deadlines.

However, to become successful in the future, students must work on themselves. So, they must be able to identify when to have a break. People will sometimes push themselves to complete work when they have nothing else to contribute. They will end up wasting their time striving to read a book they would not even understand. So, they need to stop once they feel exhausted. After a hard day of studying, they should take a break and rest. They should be able to get back on track and feel much better at the end.

In conclusion, these are only some of the difficulties that students may encounter while participating in online education. Online learning is not the best option for every student, but now it is the only realistic solution. Moreover, students are concerned about their academic futures because of the sudden switch of education style. It is reassuring to see how hard people are trying to make everything succeed. We are all in this together, and we are all fighting the same battle.

Student in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia.

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