Navigating online learning during COVID

Navigating online learning during COVID

This has been an extraordinarily tough year in education for young people and parents. Goal posts have been moved at very short notice, exams have been cancelled and students are being plunged into online learning of varying degrees and differing levels of support from schools. 

This has been especially worrying for parents who are already concerned with how children with executive function challenges and other learning differences will cope when the support structures they rely on are being changed. Teachers, parents and other educational professionals are now tasked with ensuring that high quality education is being provided in the home environment.

This month The CODE tuition and Connections in Mind will be hosting a webinar which will look into how you can ensure your child is getting the most out of online learning. In the meantime let’s have a look at some key things to remember in this time of certainty and how to overcome challenges that may arise.

Embrace the technology

Screen time is not seen in a favourable light but, when used correctly, technology can actually improve learning. In an increasingly online world this could be the perfect time to give your children a head start in becoming literate in online technology and communications.

We all know that sinking feeling of seeing paper screwed up in bags, lost sheets or huge piles of unorganised work in your child’s room. This is a great time to get children who are disorganised to use systems such as google docs, seneca learning, quizlet and google classroom. This will help strengthen their study skills by scaffolding organisation, and give them a realistic idea as to how they may manage their work online throughout higher education and into their careers.

Technology can also lead to a more creative and beneficial approach to learning, if the correct tools are used. The AWW whiteboard app, zoom and skillshare are all examples of how online learning can make the teaching process more student-centered, innovative and flexible.

Keep it healthy

As so many of you will be aware, there are concerns around how to keep our children healthy when they are spending so many hours at a screen. It is important to remember that screen time can be a lifeline during times of isolation but combining this with exercise, good diet and outdoor time have been shown to increase levels of serotonin.

Previous research has also shown that 40 additional minutes outdoors each day has shown that any negative effects on eyesight can be greatly reduced (Barry 2016). Breaks are essential for online learning and The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommend that children should be away from the screen for 10 minutes of every hour and screen time before bed should also be avoided. 

Get the support you need

Group online learning can lead to children losing momentum, which does put them at increased risk of disengaging from content whether that is due to poor concentration or lack of the correct technology. If this does happen there are many professionals you can call on to support your children.

These professionals are masters at online support, using the very latest technology to consolidate content in fun, engaging ways that ensure no momentum is lost. Research has widely shown us that learning is best done in small chunks leading to increased retention and higher exam performance. Online tuition can mimic this approach as it allows for shorter sessions than in person to ensure consistency and a space that your child feels comfortable to voice concerns. Coaches will also be essential for helping to build the essential executive function skills that underpin online learning including: planning, prioritisation, monitoring progress and self-discipline. Budget friendly ways to gain support include regularly attending webinars, reading blogs and joining small group courses.

Are there any advantages to online learning during COVID?

Although we know that classroom learning will be welcomed back there is food for thought that we can take from the last few years. A recent large scale study by the Research Institute of America has found that, if correctly applied, online learning can increase retention rate from 25%-60%. The benefits are thought to be down to increased ownership and involvement of the student as well as the use of correctly applied engaging technology. Covid 19 has been cited as a catalyst for necessary educational change (Zhao 2020) as we have been forced to take a step back and pause. Suggestions have been made specifically as to whether there should be a rethink of a heavily exam focused approach that often leaves those with learning differences and EF challenges at a disadvantage. Indeed, this may be a wonderful time to reimagine the delivery of education from the viewpoint of the children rather than the curriculum. 

What support is available? 

Free webinar: Is your child getting the most out of online learning?

Wednesday 24th February 2021, 8pm (GMT)

About this webinar: Paula Barrett, Director of The CODE education will be discussing how you can ensure that your child is getting the most out of online learning during the pandemic. We will talk about common concerns and how to overcome these, how tutors can fill in the gaps created by remote learning and the executive function skills needed to succeed in online learning.

Who is this webinar aimed at? Parents 

Cost: Complimentary – Book your place here.

” I liked the level of detail…it has inspired us to research executive functions more… I found all the content useful – personally for family and professionally for work.” 

Webinar attendee, 20th September, 2020

By Paula Barrett, The CODE

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