The Effects Of Online Learning


“Online Learning” by leanforward_photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Zakary Robinette

Last week, the Centreville Sentinel surveyed 233 CVHS students to learn about their experience thus far with the virtual learning curriculum implemented by FCPS for the 2020-2021 school year.

While 40.8% of the students surveyed reported feeling neutral about online learning, 34.3% reported feeling good to terrific. Half of students (50.2%) felt more stressed since the start of virtual learning.

Although 43.3% of students said they have been getting less sleep since online school started, another 31.3% reported that online learning has not affected their sleep patterns, which is encouraging. A significant majority (86.7%) said that they feel they can be moderately to very successful with the virtual format, showing that there is still quite a bit of optimism among students, and that their optimism for the future exceeds their current feelings toward the virtual curriculum.

Students have mixed feelings about online learning. As one student said:

“I think online learning affects the way students retain information. Classes that need to be done in person are a lot harder to do online. Auto tech, band/orchestra/theater, and science classes that need to do work in labs are heavily affected because you have to be working with your hands, and doing this through Blackboard collaborate is challenging. Personally, this doesn’t bother me because I’m not taking those classes but I used to be in orchestra so I would know how it feels. Some pros to online I think would be easier time management and being more comfortable in your own house.”

Another student added:

“I have pretty mixed feelings about online learning. On one hand, my sleep schedule has never been better, but on the other hand, there’s this perpetual feeling of never knowing what’s going on. Or at least never being sure. There was a lot of structure and much better communication before online school, and I can’t help but feel like I’m always on my own when it comes to new material. I like how the schedule doesn’t interfere that much with my personal life schedule, as I’m one of many students who have a lot to do around the house and then balancing a job on top of that. I’m just always anxious about due dates and schedules. It all gets extremely confusing. But, I’m very grateful that my teachers are patient and understanding when it comes to online learning.”

Most students and teachers feel upset about online learning because they are not able to interact with their peers or find their way around the school, but on many other points there was no clear consensus. Many students said the days feel so much longer than a normal school day, while others feel it’s shorter. A lot of students get headaches after having to look at a screen all day. They also said that they get distracted very easily while learning at home. Other students feel that it is better because they get to stay home all day. Many other students do not like online learning but are willing to do it to help get rid of the CoronaVirus.

While our survey did yield some interesting results and perspectives, I think it’s safe to say that the jury is still out with regards to virtual learning, and that we still have many adjustments to make, and a long way to go before this feels “normal”.