The impact of going virtual on motivation
On February 27, 2020 Sacred Heart announced that it would comply with the precautionary measures set forth by the government, and shut down the school during the month of March. E-Learning, or education through a virtual classroom, has taken place of a normal, physical classroom.
E-Learning has received its criticism. Minimal physical interaction and long hours of virtual interaction, many students felt isolated within their homes. In a normal, physical classroom, students go outside to attend classes and have a chance to interact with their friends and teachers. This abrupt change to working long hours alone at a desk has left many feeling drained. Keeping motivated, so crucial to a good study session, has become hard for many. Miran K. (11) shares another aspect she misses in a virtual classroom: “I miss working with my classmates because we depend on each other for mental support. Working with friends reminds me that we are all working through this.”
When attending a normal physical classroom, students are forced to leave their homes, sit down in a classroom full of eager-to-learn peers. Students are put in a learning environment when they attend a physical classroom. Working from home, however, has proved difficult for many. Many students also found it hard to set a boundary between schoolwork and home. Ako T. (11) says, “During the first few days of e-Learning, I felt productive and motivated. E-Learning was something new and I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to slip behind. But now, being a few weeks into e-Learning, I feel like I’ve become too comfortable with this new lifestyle. I’m starting to find it a lot harder to stay on schedule. Because it doesn’t feel like I’m at school, I don’t feel the pressure of the AP exams, which I probably would feel if I were in a normal school environment.”
With no strictly set boundary between “home” and “schoolwork,” no interdependent working space, bells to signal the start of class, or teachers looking over students’ shoulders to check they are working effectively, it takes strong self-discipline and a good mindset to maintain motivation.
Many students, however, do not realize that this period of e-Learning is a huge learning opportunity for college. In college, students are not forced to attend class or follow a strict schedule. It is up to the student to wake up at a reasonable time, make sure to step outside the confines of a bedroom and get some exercise, to eat three nutritional meals a day, and to stay engaged during lessons. It takes initiative and strong will for self-motivation. This skill is necessary not only in college, but in life. Students will no longer be assigned timetables and a teacher to monitor work.
Until the coronavirus settles down and precautions are lifted, we will continue to work through e-Learning. Opinions on e-Learning vary greatly, but even for students who experienced a drop in their motivation and felt this period was a major “miss,” this can be taken as a positive learning experience. With a few more weeks of e-Learning left, we can all work together to make the best of each day and make this a “hit” for Sacred Heart.