Coronavirus is forcing schools, teachers and students to adapt to a very different education system – and to do it quickly. A few days ago we talked about the advantages of e-learning, but if you have children at home you will have already noticed that if it is not well defined online education can become a real headhache for both students and parents. For this reason, today we are talking about the main challenges of distance education and how to overcome them.
First of all, as parents we want to be sure that our sons and daughters follow the right path in their learning process. Distance education raises doubts for us as we have the feeling that students are much more isolated and have to be much more independent than in face-to-face classes, something that in some cases can hinder the student’s progress. In this sense, it is important to work from two starting-points: it is essential to set specific goals for the student and it is necessary for the teacher to follow up on the path towards these goals, that is to say, to be someone to whom students are accountable for their progress.
In the case of Codelearn’s online extracurricular activity, we manage to successfully overcome these two great challenges of distance education thanks to our methodology and gamification techniques. Firstly, we follow a detailed curriculum plan that is already intended to be carried out online, which is a great advantage, but the way in which this curriculum is structured is also very important: each student needs to complete exercises on the online platform to be able to advance in the story our characters live and unlock the next chapters.
Thus, Codelearn students have specific challenges in the form of exercises that, on the other hand, not only allow them to unlock the following adventures but also help them score points as a reward for each solved exercise. These points can be exchanged at the platform’s shop for objects and avatars, so we would be adding a second type of objective here, such as obtaining a certain prize – a prize that will cost more or less points and will ask for specific requirements the student must meet if he wants to buy it (having reached a specific level, achieving a streak of several days in a row doing exercises, etc.).
And who accompanies them throughout this journey? Their mentor, who offers them support throughout their learning process and follows up the progress of each student. Someone who helps us overcoming another challenge of online education: reducing the dropout rate of online courses, which is usually high for reasons such as the lack of follow-up, the feeling of loneliness while facing doubts or the lack of motivation, which can be avoided through challenges and gamification.
Other challenges of online education can be self-discipline and time management by the student, the need to create projects that must be worked in teams to increase the level of socialization and avoid the feeling of isolation, as well as the training of teachers, who must not only know the tools and platforms used but also adapt to an education system in which learning is totally student-centered and must forget about traditional master classes.
In conclusion, when we are looking for online resources for children or activities to do at home, whether it is a programming after-school program or online English courses, the most important thing is to make sure that the education methodology is designed to be indeed an extracurricular online activity and, therefore, it is prepared to face the most common challenges of online education. Only in this way can it be guaranteed that our sons and daughters enjoy distance learning and keep up the motivation to learn in a way that is adapted to their ages, concerns and needs.