Today, almost everyone has tried some type of online learning in their lives. It has become so common that even young children are enrolled in online classes. Adults and senior citizens of all ages decide to learn new skills, finally graduate from a university, or even receive training for their job. But with this field becoming such a large part of our lives, it’s more important to understand the effects of online learning on mental health. Stay tuned, and we’ll examine all the positive and negative factors together!
The Growing Impact of Online Learning on Mental Health
You might be surprised, but distance learning has been around for a long time. In fact, its roots date back to the time when the Internet would be something unimaginable. In the 1720s, teachers offered their lessons to students through weekly mail. Sure, there weren’t any streaming and video chats at that time, but we can admit that it was quite an idea! As technology emerged, more lessons were sent via radio or television. Today’s version is only the next natural step, and we can speculate that it’s far from the last one. Perhaps we will take our classes through telepathy or something like that, but for now, we’re at the online learning stage.
With the COVID-19 emergence, many schools and universities proved themselves to be very unprepared for online learning. However, today’s society has relatively successfully added this element to learning, at least in the developed countries where access to technology is more widespread. It is natural that this type of learning has become common. Nonetheless, because it was so new several years ago, the effect of online learning on mental health was understudied. Today, more accurate studies have been conducted and more students expressed their viewpoints on both positive and negative sides of online learning. As a result, it allows people and educators to have a more comprehensive perspective on this trend. Because the future may hold more disturbing environmental and disease situations, many teenagers will be forced to stay in the safety of their homes. It’s time to invest in our understanding of online learning’s impact on young people.
The Negative Effects of Online Learning on Mental Health
So, here are some of the negative effects of online education. Have you encountered any of them?
- Isolation. There’s a great difference between seeing your friends through the camera and in person. The studies show that online learning highly increases the sense of loneliness and develops the feeling of being distant from others, which can lead to very severe mental health issues.
- Depression and anxiety. In many cases, people who have shifted to online learning, especially those who are more people-oriented or do not have a reliable support network, can suffer from mental health issues. Of course, such outcomes do not necessarily appear in all people, but this tendency can be disturbing.
- Loss of social skills. Let’s face it: many teenagers have become so used to communicating online that they don’t know how to talk to their friends or adults in real life. Sure, online learning isn’t everything; no one banned social media, so that’s a more systematic problem. However, online education deprives students of many important skills of negotiation, real-life communication, and even public speaking. All these features are crucial.
- Poor student monitoring. It’s much easier to track students’ progress in offline classrooms. Although many anti-cheating programs help educators maintain other people’s progress or what they do during their learning, the lines have become blurred. It can negatively affect students’ sense of accountability and level of maturation.
- Motivation issues. Some learners admit to being less motivated to study and learn new skills. Many external factors actually significantly contribute to people’s ability to study more effectively. As a result, online learning can become very daunting and deprive a person of self-development opportunities.
It can be pretty common for students’ mental health to deteriorate when they can’t cope with some troubling outcomes of their online learning. And if you’ve got lots of papers to write, you might feel entirely paralyzed. Occasionally, it may be necessary to reach out to your friends and family in real life. If that’s not possible or not enough, consider asking for psychological help. Another option is to find help from experts and order an essay online from such services as CustomWritings, to help you out when you can’t make yourself do more. Always make sure that you pay more attention to your mental health more than to anything else. This part of your life isn’t going to be forever, and you’ll be much happier afterwards!
The Positive Effects of Online Learning on Mental Health
Now that we’ve discussed all the drawbacks, we can dedicate some time to the positive effects of online learning.
- Reducing stress. Yes, although we have already mentioned that online learning effects on stress can be bad, it may have a different outcome as well. Those who were struggling with commuting or disliked their peers in an offline setting may feel less anxious when they do not have to encounter such difficulties. Many such minor changes can have an immense benefit, especially for students who have issues with accessibility.
- Safer mental environment. It’s important for a teen’s mental health to be carefully monitored and to help them decrease the influence of negative factors on their academic performance. That is why studying from home can be a good contributor to less turbulent conditions. Bullying remains a serious problem despite all efforts to eliminate it. Online learning makes it more difficult for bullies to have access to their victims because it is easier to block them or ask a teacher to intervene.
- Autonomy. If a student can successfully manage themselves and not require constant teacher’s attention, it can actually significantly improve their well-being and the ability to make decisions for themselves. It is a significantly positive factor in terms of intellectual, social, and psychological development.
- Confidence. When students succeed in their writing and realize that their essays and math tasks become better, they can accept that their ability to work independently is the result of their own hard work. By the way, it also allows students to feel less pressured into competing with each other due to a more relaxed atmosphere.
Online Learning is the Future; Join It!
Now that you understand all the features online learning has and how it influences the psychological wellness of students, you can become a more mindful learner. Or, if you’re one of the educators, you may want to think about the strategies that can help maximize benefits and decrease the threats. So, everything can be done successfully if you approach it carefully!