Disadvantages of distance learning and how to tackle them

Nowadays, a lot of courses at KI and in other universities are taught through distance learning. Online learning offers many simplicities. However, it also has disadvantages and sometimes those disadvantages could make you failed. Don’t let it happen! Know some disadvantages of distance learning and how to tackle them.

1. Lack of input from the teacher

It might be easier to have some input from the teacher in the “traditional” learning. But actually, it is also possible to have the good quality of input from the teacher through distance learning. You might need to be more proactive, but it is really possible (at least based on my experience at KI).

Some lectures in my statistic course were performed online, and they went well. The course leader was very welcome and responsive in answering questions and giving feedback.

Few tips on getting input from the teacher when you are studying from distance:

  • At the beginning of the course, ask the teacher about which way he/ she would prefer to be contacted (through email / a particular platform/ etc).
  • Do not hesitate to ask! You have right to ask, and your teacher is most likely willing to assist you.
  • Try to be specific with your question so that you can get specific explanation as well (a silly example: Instead of asking “can you explain again about grape?”, it is better to ask “based on your presentation yesterday, can I say that every fruit with marble ball-shaped and green color is grape?“)

2. You might learn nothing

Some people think, distance learning is as if they are on vacation but they are also studying. This vacation mood might make them learning nothing.

An advantage of distance learning is self-paced environment. But in order to not get lost, you have to be able to manage and discipline yourself. In my personal experience in studying online, I disciplined myself by making daily goals (I wrote them down at calendar), establishing a daily schedule for studying, and taking notes from every session of the course. Read about how to stay focused when you are studying online.

Another tip is that you have to know your learning style. If you are a visual learner, you might want to highlight the course materials with various colors or draw some graphs based on the lectures. If you are a auditory learner, you can relisten the lectures when you are preparing your meal. If you are a kinestetic learner, you can take notes or map your ideas in your book. My fellow DA, Inika, suggested some study techniques that can optimize your learning process.

3.  Lack of interaction with other students

This can be really annoying, particularly if you are an extrovert person or if you need constant motivation from other people. Having study partner could be a way to overcome this disadvantage. Another way is by communicating with other students through discussion forum or discussion board in the course (If there is no forum or discussion board, you can give suggestion to the course leader to make one).

Having peer group is important, at least to keep each other stay motivated. You don’t always need to discuss the course material. In my experience, even only by realizing that my friend and I were struggling in the same topic, we could motivate each other.

In the research group where I did my degree project, we have digital fika when everyone is working from home in order to keep in touch. Digital fika is basically having fika at our own place and get connected virtually at the same time. Give it a try!

4. Easy to get bored

You only meet your computer everyday when you are in distance learning. No wonder, boredom come easily. If it happened to you, I have some suggestions:

  • Change your study environment. You don’t need to always study at your room. Sometimes I enjoyed studying at my backyard when the sun shined brightly. You can also study at the library or at your favourite place. Read some suggestions of nice study places outside KI campus.
  • Give yourself a reward if you achieve your daily goal.
  • Remember your purpose and goals in joining the distance course!
  • Take a break for several days and comeback with a fresh mind.

What was your experience in surviving distance learning? Share it by leaving your comment here.

Have any comment, question, or suggestion? Contact me at email (resthie.putri@stud.ki.se) or LinkedIn (Resthie Rachmanta Putri).


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