When it comes to educational opportunities, people who were born with physical disabilities may be disproportionately left out.
Why Are Disabilities Overlooked In Online Learning
Finding an online learning experience that meets your every requirement may be a difficult task. After all, only 21 percent of students with disabilities attend some sort of online learning environment, and it’s impossible to guarantee they’ll be able to effectively complete the courses.
Internet access, quality of learning materials, accessibility, and mobile connectivity are key factors of online learning environments, but research shows that these aren’t the only factors that affect users’ feelings of achievement or motivation. Better education or job opportunities could have a profound impact on the students who are represented in those statistics, but we are only beginning to address the importance of incorporating people with disabilities into our formal education system. In fact, it was reported in 2017 that it takes a black student a full four years to learn to read, write, and compute, and that it could take a white student a comparable amount of time to do the same.
So here are the top five reasons why online learning environments are right for you, regardless of your disability:
1. Online Learning Environments Make Learning Accessible
Imagine that there is an entire web server where you can go online and be present whenever and wherever you want. Wherever you want—on a computer or a smartphone. The information on the server is all yours, and you can do anything with it, from completing an assignment to listening to lectures. The assumption is that everything you see on the screen is always open. This is your server at your fingertips, and your school–or maybe even your employer–will take note of your global readiness.
2. Online Learning Environments Allow Individuals With Disabilities To Achieve And Be Successful
Knowing that you’re smart isn’t enough. The students with disabilities who attend online learning environments know that they must do their best to complete every assignment, every quiz, and every test they are handed in order to meet their expectations. They are able to do well, because everyone can succeed at their own pace. A self-assessed educational disability can be identified before a student even enters an online learning environment, and this can help the academic staff know how the student can engage in the classroom setting as well as online. Without this information, schools often experience periods of frustration, and students and parents can experience declining morale.
3. Online Learning Environments Teach Students Important Mental Skills
Bridges are needed across age groups. Students who join an online learning environment may find themselves in new circles, but they still have to apply what they learn in the classroom to various environments. This gives them an opportunity to practice keeping their composure and the skill to understand that they need to adapt their coursework in order to meet their expectations.
4. Online Learning Environments Help Coalesce Students And Instructors
The ability to provide courses that can be administered to a large group of individuals is a powerful tool, and a crucial part of the online learning environment is the ability to collaborate with a large group of people. In the course of making a course available to a large group of students, all of the instructors in the course become new peers. Learning can advance so much when students learn alongside one another. In some online learning environments, students will have a class with a specific focus and instructor, but they can also choose to sit in several large tables and chat with a large group of students. Regardless of how often the course is taught, everyone in the class will be exposed to a wealth of content, and it will take some time to integrate the entire class together.
5. Online Learning Environments Provide Individualized Support
If the importance of learning materials and tutorials to improve online education are underused, maybe it’s because our education system has fallen behind. A person with a disability may have specific skill sets, such as the ability to complete online instructions, interact with classmates in a group setting, and multitask. Giving each individual the ability to complete a course as effectively as possible ensures that the desired outcome is met, and keeps the training in line with each individual’s unique abilities. It also has the benefit of maintaining a positive level of technology, because people are given the tools and methods to complete the course, all within a safe learning environment.
Sixty percent of the population is disabled, and 50 percent of those people with disabilities cannot complete an online course. These percentages are astonishingly high, but also reflective of the shortcomings of this system. Properly addressing online learning environments in the right way could help not only individuals with disabilities, but the education system as a whole.