6 Ways Colleges Can Help Students Who are Struggling with Online Learning

student struggling with online learning

Online learning looks like it’s here to stay. Some students thrive in the remote classroom. Still, many students struggle with online learning. Schools will benefit if they take the time to figure out ways to help these students. Below are six ways to help students who are struggling with online learning. 

Know why students struggle with online learning

There are many reasons why online students struggle. Some learners find it difficult to stay engaged and motivated in virtual classrooms. Other students may not know what success looks like in online classrooms. Often, poor study skills sink struggling students. They lack the superhuman time management skills needed in a fast-paced online class. Besides that, other students may lack the grit to complete the course on their own. Many students do not contact their instructors for help when they hit an obstacle. These students often abort the course. Colleges can give faculty the tools to pinpoint where and when these students struggle. Likewise, faculty can find struggling students and give them the solutions needed to get back on the path to improve their online learning.  

Teach time management to help struggling students

Most importantly, colleges can build time management skills into the curriculum. Instructors can model what success looks like to students in an online course. Faculty can create and share a course calendar. Staff can model for students a recommended sample schedule with due dates to successfully complete the course. Therefore, instructors can guide students on how to quiet distractions from their smartphones and home life. Still, instructors must use tried and true prioritization methods to keep students focused. 

Help students stay focused and respond to their concerns 

Moreover, instructors can give students frequent feedback. Teachers let students know when they did well and show them what they need to do better. Thorough professors explain what steps are needed to improve. Everyone benefits when feedback is constructive. Besides that, faculty can be taught how to deliver clear, actionable feedback to diverse students. Schools should provide resources for faculty like awareness training. Thus, staff can use these sources to ensure students are learning.

Create engagement for online learning

To that end, colleges must set up an online learning community. Administrators will have to mirror the community in real life. Instructors will need to find creative ways to bring students together in their cohort groups. Therefore, chats, discussion boards, and forums need to be safe places for students to take part in the discussion of the course content. Asynchronous conversations will help keep students on different schedules stay engaged. Likewise, colleges that provide students with 24-hour access to the content make it easy for working students or those with chaotic home lives.  

Show empathy with regular outreach for struggling students 

Pandemic pressures have taken their toll on many students. Administrators have ramped up mental health and wellness programs both on and off-campus. Still, many college students struggle due to anxiety and depression. Administrators can survey students to find out what outside pressures are affecting their academic performance. For example, are they working twenty hours or more each week? Do they have children? Are they caring for aging parents? These stressors will help administrators guide faculty. Most importantly, staff can contact students who are struggling with online learning and assist them. In the same vein, staff can celebrate student success.

Recognize online learning student success 

Celebrate student success! Instructors need to work with the student to define what success looks like on an individual level. What is easy for one student may be quite hard for another. Therefore, celebrate the students who overcame obstacles to complete the course! Colleges may have to educate staff on how to reward the behaviors that they want to see for their students. Likewise, administrators need to be on the lookout for systemic issues that penalize struggling students.

In sum, many students struggle in the online classroom. Colleges can help struggling students by tweaking the skill sets of both instructors and students. Faculty must be shown how to find and reach out to struggling students. Instructors must model and educate students on how to be successful with online learning. Colleges must support their instructors by providing them with the tools to engage students in a community and recognize them when they succeed.




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