The popularization of e-learning has coincided with the pandemic, providing a much-needed change to the traditional education system.
At the surface level, the switch to e-learning has produced positives across the board. Besides, more technological advancements have entered academia and fine-tuned the learning process.
However, online learning has also introduced new problems to the education sector. For instance, disenfranchised students are dropping out of school at a fast clip.
And that’s not even half of it. In this article, we will focus on the harmful impacts of e-learning on academia.
Students are getting more isolated from their peers because they spend most of their time alone — or only with their siblings. As a result, cases of loneliness and social isolation are now prevalent.
Without deep exploration, you might think that unlimited access to communication channels like group chats and video conferencing can bridge the isolation gap.
However, these interaction tools are no substitute for physical contact — which is essential to the development of young people.
Emphasis on Theory Over Practice
Every aspect of online learning takes place online. Schools use academic platforms and other e-learning tools to deliver their lectures. But most times, these platforms can only facilitate theory-based learning.
For example, young people studying academic writing can learn from DoMyEssay professionals online. But students studying veterinary medicine still need practical experience with animals to hone their skills.
To this effect, some companies are creating virtual laboratories and simulation courses. While these improvements are impressive, they cannot replace real-life experience.
Nevertheless, schools should invest in more virtual practical courses and promote advanced AI-learning tools.
Deteriorating Mental Health
One of the consequences of social isolation is a rapid decline in students’ mental wellbeing.
Since the pandemic, students at all academic levels have been complaining about anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Although some of these problems result from worldwide chaos, you can’t deny that loneliness has worsened the situation.
Instead of relying on their peers and guidance counselors, most students have to go through these problems alone. And the uncertainty that lies ahead is discomforting.
Schools should focus on online counseling to weather the mental illness storm until life gets back to normal.
Lack of Motivation
Students are feeling less motivated to fulfill their academic responsibilities. Some claim that the uncertainty of the future puts the relevance of academic studies in question. And the success of TikTok influencers and gamers adds credibility to this point.
At the same time, most students need guidance from an instructor — or authority figure — to keep them on their toes.
Besides, traditional classrooms foster a competitive atmosphere that motivates students to achieve their learning goals.
To get students motivated, teachers should encourage them to keep themselves accountable. Instructors and lecturers should also use incentives such as bonus points to motivate students.
Poor Communication Skills
E-learning has increased the number of communication channels between students and teachers. Nowadays, students can get in touch with their teachers or classmates for assistance without being in the classroom.
But here is the problem: the absence of physical interactions with peers crushes the student’s ability to communicate going forward.
And when these students graduate, they will lack the essential communication skills required for gainful employment.
Notwithstanding, teachers should encourage peer-to-peer communication between students. They should also use online group activities to bridge this gap and prepare them for life beyond school.
Reliance on Cheating
One of the most significant disadvantages of e-learning is that it exposes students to advanced cheating techniques.
In the past, students relied on high-risk maneuvers to cheat on schoolwork. And this served as a deterrent to academic malfeasance.
But since teachers can no longer supervise their students closely, students exploit this opportunity to cut corners and boost their grades.
Moreover, students can hand their login credentials to someone else to take their exams for them. After all, the teachers cannot provide video proof.
Although some schools demand students leave their cameras on during tests, this deterrent cannot curb cheating.
A Decline in Academic Performance
When you consider the factors mentioned above, it is no secret that academic performance is experiencing a significant decline.
Firstly, teachers are still struggling to harness the full potential of e-learning. And most of them lack the technical skills to use modern learning platforms.
Secondly, students no longer believe in the assurance of formal education, resulting in massive dropouts.
And finally, loneliness and a lack of motivation are taking their toll on the students, preventing them from performing at optimum levels.
Widening Literacy and Wealth Gap
According to Statista, only 74% of Americans own a personal computer — and this is one of the most advanced countries in the world. Now, imagine how dire the situation is in other countries.
Since e-learning requires access to digital tools and online technology, disenfranchised students are automatically cut off from their peers. And as a result, the literacy gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen at an alarming rate.
E-learning has shaken up the education system in many negative ways. And the most potent disadvantage of this learning method is the enforced social isolation on students.
Also, students’ academic performances have declined due to a lack of motivation to study. And as a result, they rely on cheating to scale through their schoolwork.
Ultimately, schools should introduce better communication channels and advanced learning platforms to bridge the widening literacy gap.