A lot of college and graduate students are struggling and finding it difficult to cope with online schooling during the pandemic. Not only is it hard for them to focus, but it is hard to learn when you are only staring at a smaller part of the screen for lectures.
The teacher and student dynamics that are apparent in a face to face learning are important in gauging the learning style, physical condition, presence of mind, and complete comprehension of the students. There are very things that are quite difficult to do in online learning.
According to the Learning Pyramid or the Cone of Experience, created by American educator Edward Dale in 1946 only 5% of information is retained through lectures. Although the numbers aren’t really based on quantitative study but almost an approximation, the truth that what the study is trying to represent isn’t far off from the reality in learning.
Learning activities before any test of knowledge is used to pass on information to the learner. In this pyramid, the least retention rate is for one-way teaching or lectures. The next one is reading which has a 10% retention rate. However, it should not be discounted that reading is beneficial to the quick-wittedness and faster comprehension and organization of information.
The next one is watching audiovisuals, this consists of PowerPoint presentations, YouTube tutorials, and pre-recorded lectures. There is an added 10% to the retention rate from reading as it also makes two of our senses, hearing and seeing. This is still a one-way method of learning though. In my personal experience, the shorter and more simplistic the choice of words and methodology in delivering the information via audiovisual the more effective it is.
Demonstration of a step-by-step method has a retention rate of 30%. This is most useful for teaching a skill, like mathematics, languages, home economics, arts, and physical education. This is because not only is the teacher telling the learner what to do, it also prompts them to follow along and try it themselves.
First-hand experience is a good teacher. They would be able to do trial and error. If they make a mistake they would need to learn to repeat and truly comprehend the instruction that was given to them. In this way, they could correct themselves and finally do it right.
Another way learning can be reinforced is by debate or peer-to-peer discussions that may or may not be led by the educator. The students can discuss among themselves what they have learned thus far and quiz each other on the important points to remember from the lecture. This has a retention rate of 50%.
Another example of this is graded recitation. That, or the participatory discussion during the lecture itself. Peer-to-peer evaluation is also available in online schooling, however, it is worth noting that the evaluations may not be objective at all. The students may grade someone they are friends with higher or praise someone they have an affinity with. Also, there may be times that students would be afraid of retaliation should they evaluate their peers objectively.
In terms of skills-based subjects, practice literally makes it perfect. Practicing what one has learned has a 75% retention rate. That math homework isn’t just to put an extra burden on a learner, it is used to make sure there is complete comprehension and to reinforce the lesson taught. However, educators also need to be responsible for making sure that all the tasks given to students outside the time they spend on online schooling are within healthy boundaries.
The last one might be a familiar thing to many, it is to teach others what you have learned. This has a 90% retention rate along with using what you have learned immediately. As teaching others is also a form of repetition, this might be the reason why it is the most effective way to learn things. That said, that study group and tutoring peers who are having a hard time on a subject are great ways to retain what one has learned.
It has its perks, but it’s also wise to manage one's time effectively. It is necessary to be able to focus and think during times that the understanding lessons will be tested. One should be able to rest well, eat well, l and take care of one’s body and mind outside the time spent in the online school.
During online schooling and work from home, the amount of fragmented time in between classes and work is a great time to do something intentionally. For parents, it can be used to check the progress of the children with their lessons or help them with whatever lesson they are having some difficulty with. For students, it can be used to do homework, do practice sets, or do some advanced reading.
It is also good to think about how to structure your day with work, responsibilities, and other activities for yout well-being. A list may need to be created or a reminder alarm added to one’s smartphone to keep accurate time and maximize the day. While online schooling and work from home are all about doing work in front of the screen, your eyes also need to rest and time in social media should be controlled.
Brain fog can be prevented by taking breaks and disconnecting to allow real-life to take over. When one uses a smartphone, the brain releases dopamine which is the hormone produced when your body feels like it is rewarded. In turn, we get addicted to it but the downside is poor mental health and work/school performance.
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