How to overcome the 3 most distinctive challenges of online teaching?

Written by Srikanth

November 22, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the dynamics of teaching. From conventional classroom learning, schools have now adapted to online teaching. But it has its own challenges for the teachers.

This article will look into 3 distinct challenges of online learning and will try to provide simple action plans to overcome these challenges.

1. Personal connection with the students.

Challenges of online teaching.

In a conventional classroom setup, the teacher can speak to each student individually, and they could weigh in the student’s positives and negatives. This has always been the strength of classroom learning. A teacher has always been the person who can understand the student’s strengths and weaknesses.

With online learning, however, there is a gap between a teacher and the students. Hence teachers find it difficult to understand their students’ strengths and weaknesses.

In a conventional classroom, the teacher can study the reactions of the students and find out whether a particular student has understood the concepts. In online classes, without this personal connection, and being not able to teach face to face, teachers cannot keep track of the students’ progress, whether the student has understood the concept.

So the biggest challenge with online teaching is, there is no personal connection between the teacher and student.

Action Plan – How to overcome the challenge.

Using a communication forum, where teachers can communicate with a student individually, either during the teaching session or after the session. This will reduce the apparent gap between teachers and their students.

2. Lack of materials and resources.

Challenges of online teaching

The next challenge faced by the teachers in online learning is the lack of teaching materials and resources. Sometimes some concepts are better understood if they are taught experimentally. Some materials may not be available digitally.

When providing materials for online learning, the students may not use them, if they do not find it attractive. This would make the teacher’s job even more difficult.

Action Plan – How to overcome the challenge.

Making the learning materials more attractive with a lot of visual aids, and self-thought experiments, would help both the students and the teachers.

3. Lack of motivation among students.

Challenges of online teaching

Online learning relies on the students to be self-motivated.

Only with motivated students can a teacher deliver his or her best. A motivated student is like an energy drink for the teacher.

When there is a motivated student, there will be really healthy conversations in the classroom regarding the subject, which motivate the teachers themselves as this makes the classrooms more interesting.

It motivates the students when they speak to their peers. Nothing can motivate a student more than those in class talks with their friends.

But the problem is when at home the students find it difficult to stay motivated as they do not get to speak amongst themselves regarding the subject.

Over a period of time, students lose interest and are not motivated enough. So this is a distinct challenge in online learning that has to be addressed.

Action Plan – How to overcome the challenge.

i. Teachers need a tag team effort from the parents to make the students stay motivated. Parents are the biggest positives for teachers in online learning. There is usually the talks in schools a teacher is the second parent. But now, in online learning, parents have to be the second teacher. Teachers need to work cordially with the parents and try to make the students stay motivated.

ii. Teachers must allow the students to have a discussion regarding the subject as a part of their online session.

iii. Using apps that allow the students to learn interactively will help them stay motivated.

Also look at the below table which was taken from a research paper written by Dr. Seema Sareen  and Dr. Anita Nangia. Research was done with around three thousand five hundred teachers, and the result of their conversation regarding the challenges faced by them was tabulated and observations were made.

A part of their paper is the below table which tabulates the percentages of teachers finding a challenge difficult, difficult to an extent, or easy.

Sl.NoChallenge% of Teachers not finding it difficult% of Teachers finding it difficult to an extent% of Teachers finding it difficult to a great extent
1Lack of appropriate materials and resources30.5661.667.76
2Technical problems17.364.6218.08
3Lack of in service training44.2345.839.94
4Lack of time63.8930.765.35
5Lack of confidence85.7512.112.14
6It is difficult to assemble all the students for the class2650.9623.04
7Lack of co-operation from the parents ‘35.5252.0312.45
8Lack of internet facilities for the students17.2761.4921.24
9It is difficult to follow up on the learning of students22.5456.4521.01

Please go through this paper, as it has fantastic information regarding the problems faced by the teachers.  The paper has made clear an important point, that the teachers are not finding it weary to use online teaching as they are confident that they could deliver the result.

But they are finding it difficult to cope up with the mentioned three challenges,  and hence these problems must be addressed.

But for a teacher to overcome all the odds, a stable and simple online learning platform is necessary, especially in the online or hybrid education.

What are the other challenges of online teaching?

“The Students of the future will demand the learning support that is appropriate for their situation or context. Nothing more, Nothing less. And they want it at the moment the need arises. Not sooner, Not later. Mobile will be a key technology to providing that learning support”

– Dr. Marcus Specht

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