The Pros and Cons of Remote Learning

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

In many parts of the country, remote learning isn’t going anywhere just yet. It’s easy to think of the last 10 months as mostly disastrous when it comes to school and helping children learn, but there have also been some positives. Here are some of the biggest pros and cons to learning remotely and lessons that both you and your child can take away from this unique time:

Pro: It builds independence. It’s been a challenge, but one thing is certain: learning from home is built for students who are independent self-starters. For some children, remote learning may have taught them to lean on themselves to figure things out and get things done. And whether students are fast or slow workers, remote learning can allow them to go at their own pace.

Con: Some students might struggle with so much forced independence. Those who lack good study skills might find that learning at home is fraught with distractions. It can be difficult for younger students too, who need more hand-holding than older students. Make sure your child maintains contact with teachers. Insist on adopting good routines that minimize procrastination.

Pro: Remote learning brings the focus back to the learning. For some students, the classroom is a scary place where they feel insecure and uncomfortable and are reluctant to speak up. Remote learning might fit well for those who are overwhelmed in a typical classroom setting. If this sounds like your student, the simpler learning setup might allow your child to focus on learning in a way he or she hasn’t ever been able to do before now.

Con: There is less opportunity for interaction and collaboration. Of course, a big con of remote learning is that students miss out on the chance to engage with one another and their teachers in person. Working with others is still important, so remind your child that while this is a time to become more self-sufficient as a learner, it’s also a good time to reach out to peers in new ways.

Pro: It’s easy to get ahead/extend the learning. Some students might find the go-at-your-own-pace nature of remote learning to be exciting and fun. For those who are creative, it’s easy to find ways to take what is being taught in school and springboard to come up with other new ways to learn. Your child’s teachers might even make suggestions during this time when there is less (or no) time together in school. So, if your child wants to learn more about a topic, he or she has the time to do so.

Con: It’s easy to fall behind. Going to school remotely requires discipline and the teaching isn’t nearly the same as it is in a regular in-person setting. Children who aren’t intrinsically motivated naturally might especially find it hard to learn, stay on top of the work and maintain motivation. This highlights the importance of maintaining a routine and schedule, and again, embracing solid study habits.

Remote learning isn’t perfect and time will tell what the long-term effects of this method of learning are. But there’s no question that there are opportunities for your child to grow as a student and learner. Think of it that way and encourage your child to do the same, and you might be pleasantly surprised to find your child embracing an optimistic attitude and a growth mindset he or she didn’t have before.

Need support? Contact Huntington. We’ll help your child make the most of this time, build those study skills and continue learning.