The Struggles of Distance Education and A Way to Overcome Them

With coronavirus suddenly altering every aspect of our lives, schools made a dramatic shift to virtual or distance learning back in March. This meant that video calling services like Zoom became classroom spaces for kids as young as kindergarten to graduate students at universities. Although school continued on, the new routine didn’t come without its drawbacks. Students of all ages found that distance education made it difficult for them to stay focused on their work. In addition to academic struggles, the lack of socialization during that period was detrimental to students’ mental health, given that the social aspect of school is just as important as the academics.

As we enter a new school year, students might be struggling with their subjects and classes again. Although it’s difficult to maintain good habits such as active listening and effective note-taking, they are especially important to practice during these times. It’s particularly difficult to engage in active listening during distance learning, given that the typical conversational beats we experience in person are distorted through the screen. The lack of opportunities to partake in active listening can affect students’ abilities to comprehend information, thus affecting the quality of their note-taking (and that’s not even accounting for the fact that they may already be unmotivated).

Active listening is a critical part of effective learning, which is greatly diminished in distance education.

Enter: learning pods

These “pandemic pods” are becoming a popular alternative or supplement to online learning this school year because of the emphasis on in-person learning while remaining socially distant. Although they have socioeconomic consequences, learning pods are a great solution to maximize your child’s learning. Because they consist of a small group of students, the learning pod resembles a small class size, which is known to be seriously beneficial for students. The pod facilitator–a teacher, tutor, or parent, depending on the type of learning pod–will make sure to keep each child on track and give the students the in-person instruction that’s missing virtually. This means that students in a learning pod will be more likely to engage in active listening (either with the other students or the pod facilitator), and the pod facilitator will ensure that the students are taking effective notes to set them up for success in their studies. 


With the Zoom classroom making students and teachers alike feeling drained, learning pods may be the answer to maintaining the energy and motivation to learn during these uncertain times. Because they are small in size, the pod facilitator can ensure each student is receiving the proper guidance they need to succeed, and the students won’t lose important skills like active listening and note-taking. If you’re interested in learning pods, make sure to research what type is best for your child before committing them to one.