The Effects of E-Learning

The Effects of E-Learning

Tess White, Contributor to Scratch Paper

In the new age of Zoom calls and Google Meets, students are adapting to the new normal of academics. As a whole, we have said goodbye to desks, classrooms, and hands on learning, and welcomed the new virtual age while looking at our Chromebooks for several hours a day. We have turned our bedrooms into classrooms and commute a mere 5 feet from our beds to our desks at 8:20 am sharp. Although we have never met our teachers or peers, we get to look at them from the neck up in a tiny box three times a week for 70 minutes. Since this new way of learning has never been done before, we are still unaware how it is affecting students. Are we getting less of an education? Is it affecting our mental or physical health? These are the questions we must face in order to understand the effects of e-learning.

To ensure that I had a wide range of knowledge about how students are affected by online learning, I have asked a series of questions to three different students at three separate high schools and universities. Starting off, I asked a fellow senior at Grayslake Central High School, Olivia Wollney, about her experience with e-learning; they are currently fully remote until further notice. She expressed that she enjoys remote learning and the freedom that it allows. She also explained that she is able to do her work at a speed that is most convenient to her. While interviewing Olivia, one thing stood out to me. I asked, “Which made you feel overall happier and more motivated, in person or online learning?” to which she responded, “I was definitely more motivated with in person learning because we were able to see our teachers and I would be more willing to reach out for help.” When we were in school, it was much easier to ask a teacher for help by simply raising your hand. Now, the fear of unmuting your mic to ask a question in front of the whole class can be very daunting and leaves students to retreat from asking the questions they need to in order to be successful in the class.

Next, I asked a college student about their experience. Logan Jannick is currently in a mix of in person and online learning. Logan explained that he enjoys online classes for the simple reason of not having to walk all around campus. One thing that we talked about the most was college students not getting their money’s worth. We are all aware of the price tag of a four
year university, so should they really be paying the full price to attend a Zoom meeting? Nevertheless, I wanted to know more about how it affected him mentally or physically. Logan expressed his feelings towards that
aspect of online learning: “it definitely gets old sitting in a dorm room all day, I think not having the social aspect of in person classes makes it harder to stay focused.” Being in a classroom surrounded by your peers really
escalates motivation and encourages students to explore topics and be more engaged in the material. Another interesting aspect I explored was how his university is handling the pandemic. Currently, they are administering random COVID-19 tests, and the students are required to wear masks when they are outside of their dorm. Logan expressed that it is a challenge to be social and make friends with the strict rules at his school. The consequences surrounding the mask rule are strongly enforced in his building, He has already gotten written up for not wearing a face
covering (oops).

Last but not least, I asked a student at Libertyville High School, Sophia Thombsin, about her thoughts on remote learning. Out of all the students I spoke with, she seemed to enjoy it the most. I asked her “do you feel that E-learning is affecting you in a positive or negative way?” Sophia exclaimed “Positive! I get more sleep, I’m happier, I have less anxiety going to school, and overall I feel like this is a better fit for me.” This was refreshing to hear and a new angle to consider. She also explained that being at home gives her more time to do her work without having to commute to the building everyday, Sophia explained that she is happy the administration decided not to return to in person classes till 2021. While I have heard all of the negative effects, it was interesting to hear some positive impacts of remote learning. Being at home definitely gives us the opportunity to rest more and create our own routine for our new school year. Overall, I think there are both positive and negative aspects of remote learning. While it allows us more freedom in our everyday lives and gives us the opportunity to work at our own pace, it also holds us back from our full potential of getting educated. This is all a learning experience for both students and teachers. While none of us can choose to go back to school, I believe it’s important to keep in mind that everybody is trying their hardest to adapt to the new conditions. We are all in this together, and the only goal is to keep everyone safe regardless of a student’s personal preference. Whether you love or hate e-learning, I know we can all agree that its the only way to keep everyone safe and healthy.