Distance learning, also called “distance education” or “online learning” is a form of study where students and instructors are separated by physical distance.
Most interactions between instructors and students are facilitated by digital platforms such as the Internet.
Distance learning is not a new concept or innovation, as it dates back many decades. Sir Isaac Pitman, taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction, delivered the first distance education course in the modern sense in the 1840s.
Distance learning became more prevalent as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic in 2019. According to TechSmith, 6.6 million students enrolled in distance learning in 2017, and in 2020, the number skyrocketed to over 400 million students due to the global pandemic.
While distance learning provides flexibility and accessibility, it can have a variety of effects on students, instructors, educators, and educational systems.
Mental Effects of Distance Learning
One of the most significant consequences is increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is because students cannot interact with their peers and teachers in the same way as they would in a traditional school setting.
In addition to the increased feelings of isolation and loneliness, distance learning also had a negative impact on students’ academic performance. This was partly due to the increased distractions that come with learning from home. Students are surrounded by distractions in their home environment, which makes it more difficult to focus and understand the material they are learning.
While distance learning has negative effects, there are also some positive effects. One positive effect is that students are able to develop their self-motivation and self-discipline skills.
Distance learning requires students to be more self-sufficient and to take more responsibility for their own learning. This is a valuable skill that will benefit students throughout their lives.
Another positive effect of distance learning is that it exposes students to new forms of technology and allows them to become more tech-savvy. Students learn to use new platforms and software, which gives them an advantage.
Additionally, many students are able to develop their online communication skills, which is an important skill set, as the world’s digitalization drive increases. Although there are positive and negative effects of distance learning, it is important to note the long-term effects of the pandemic on students’ mental health. Research has shown that the pandemic has had a significant impact on students’ mental health, including increased rates of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
In conclusion, educational institutions should ensure awareness of the difficulties of distance learning and prioritise students’ mental health by offering support systems such as the provision of medical resources, online counselling services, and community-building activities.
RESEARCHED BY: Iloh Chioma Sandra