Students More Positive about Online Learning
- By Dian Schaffhauser
students felt more positive about online learning in the fall than
they did in the spring, according to a new report from YouthTruth.
For example, in the fall 61% of students said they learned "a
lot almost every day," up from 39% in the spring. That's
nearly the same as pre-COVID results, when 59% of students
concurred. There was a five-point variation in responses, depending
on the format of learning. While 64% of students attending
classes in person agreed that they learned a lot almost every day, 61% of students in virtual classes and 59% of students in
hybrid programs said the same.
even though less than a third of students (30%) said they felt
like they were part of a school community in the spring, that rose to
nearly half (49%) by the fall. Pre-COVID it was just 43%.
survey project queried 63,000 secondary students in fall 2020 and
compared the results to 20,000 students from spring 2020 as well as
"pre-COVID" data from 447,447 students collected between
2009 and 2019.
a majority of virtual students said they spent the "right amount
of time" online in live instruction with their teachers (62%), a minority said the same about interacting with classmates
(48%) or friends (41%).
while nearly half of virtual students said one advantage of distance
learning was the ability to take breaks when they were needed
(mentioned by 48% of respondents), just a third (35%)
said someone "usually" noticed when they weren't paying
attention and only four in 10 (41%) called their virtual
two biggest learning obstacles cited by students were "feeling
depressed, stressed or anxious," mentioned by 46% and
facing "distractions at home and family responsibilities"
(44%). Depression and stress were more prevalent among female
students than male students (57% versus 33%).
the area of seniors' post-secondary plans, while a nearly comparable
share of students still intends to attend a four-year college (51% in the fall compared to 52% pre-COVID), fewer students
have decided against attending a two-year college (16% versus
22%), and more are saying they're unsure what will come after
high school (13% versus eight%).
is critical that student experience be a driving force in
conversations about the future of public schools," said
YouthTruth Executive Director Jen Wilka, in a statement. "Schools
are striving to support students' academic success and emotional
well-being during this uniquely challenging time. Student voice must
inform how we move forward to meet the needs of all students."
is the second of three reports developed to offer findings on how
students are experiencing the pandemic. The reports are openly
the YouthTruth website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.