online learning

How to Overcome the Challenges of Online Learning

The pandemic has forced many changes upon us, including the shift to online learning from the traditional classroom setting. While the concept of online learning is not new, a lot of students are having trouble with the sudden change to an entirely different learning environment.

Classroom lectures have become Zoom meetings, written exams have become online tests, and traditional homework is done entirely online. Whether you’re taking certification courses or a four-year degree program, going to school online comes with its own set of challenges that many of us were not ready to deal with. Nevertheless, the shift to remote learning is a necessary step in combating the spread of COVID-19, and it’s not impossible to overcome the challenges that come with online learning.

Speaking of which, here are the common challenges of online learning and the best ways to conquer them:

Lack of technological proficiency

Even if you’ve been exposed to the Internet your entire life, it doesn’t automatically mean that you know the ins and outs of every program that you’ll be required to use in online learning. Going to school online requires the ability to log in to certain platforms, join video conference meetings (and use the controls for your mic and webcam), submit your work, take online tests, and communicate with your teachers and classmates. These technological requirements can be even harder to get used to if you’re not that technologically adept in the first place. Nonetheless, there are lots of ways you can overcome this challenge, for example:

  • Seek help from someone who knows the platform, program, or app you’re using
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications from your instructors
  • Watch tutorial videos on how to operate a program you’re unfamiliar with
  • Read instructions carefully to avoid making mistakes in submitting requirements, answering tests, labeling shared files, etc.


virtual learningOne of the most common challenges for online students is trying to study effectively when there are so many distractions at home. It’s not always easy to focus on your lecture when your smartphone buzzes with notifications or when your family members are always popping their heads in your room. But in most cases, distractions are avoidable. Here’s how you can keep the distractions to a minimum when taking online classes or doing homework:

  • Ask your family members to avoid distracting you while in class
  • Keep your smartphone, tablet, gaming device, and other unnecessary electronics out of reach while studying
  • Mute non-urgent notifications, especially from social media and messaging apps
  • Set up a working space in an area where there are as minimal distractions as possible
  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones to help you focus on lectures
  • Keep the door to your room closed during class
  • Close any unnecessary tabs on your browser

Technical problems

Technical problems are often unavoidable when it comes to online classes. Slow Internet is perhaps the biggest issue of all, as it can affect the quality of your education and the efficiency with which you do your work. Apart from that, there might be problems with your computer that can serve as roadblocks to your online classes, especially when you’re not well-versed in basic trouble-shooting.

When it comes to technical issues, here are the best ways to overcome them:

  • Invest in a high-quality Internet provider to ensure that you have a fast and reliable connection
  • Disconnect any unnecessary devices to avoid low bandwidth or spotty connection; ask other household members to do the same
  • Take screenshots whenever you receive error messages that impede your work; this can serve as proof when you have to ask for considerations from your teacher
  • If it’s safe to do so, visit a public library for high-speed Internet access
  • Avoid doing last-minute work so that if you run into technical problems, you have plenty of time left to fix them and continue with your work

Low motivation

When you’re used to face-to-face classes, online learning can be very demotivating, especially while facing a global crisis. Don’t let low motivation hinder you from staying on top of your schoolwork. To keep yourself motivated, here are some strategies that you can try:

  • Offer yourself rewards for finishing tasks on time
  • Talk to your parents, mentors, and friends when feeling demotivated
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it
  • Make a realistic study schedule and do your best to stick to it
  • Give yourself enough time to rest, but don’t overdo it

Online learning is the safest alternative to in-person classes in light of the current pandemic. However, many of us face the many challenges that come with this sudden shift in the learning environment. If you’re in the same boat, these strategies can help you overcome the challenges of online learning and help you stay productive despite the current situation.

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