Why People Hate Online Learning

Dr. Drew and Zoe Saldana discuss how online learning is a force to be reckoned with.

We live in a world that is designed for folks to rely on on-demand tech solutions to their problems. Disruptive tech, like Amazon, Netflix, and meal-delivery services, have not only provided widespread access to fresh and affordable products and services, but they have also brought on a generation that expects instant gratification. It’s a new world, and now the line between big-screen tablet and little window into your mind is blurring, and critics are up in arms.

Instagram star and Strategist writer Jesse Blackmore recently shared her thoughts on why people hate online learning: “One of the biggest reasons is the emphasis put on technology in the learning process.”

She elaborated, “It’s rare nowadays when I’m sitting at a desk and I don’t see my iPhone on my desk. The results are either a bizarre mess, a cool design, or all three. The programs themselves are on fire — or at least there are ‘free trial’ versions that keep us obsessed with them in the background, without the full privileges.”

Luckily, as many admit, it’s also fun and exciting to go through every step of a learning process digitally. “I highly dislike that part. Something that has this lock-down feel to it like a school project,” said Joshua Stone, director of marketing at Vidbit, a video-hosting platform.

To be honest, the difference is that students and professors have a straightforward time frame — versus a mega platform with no warning and few options for a solution. “If an experiment went on too long, students would have to push to another class,” says Kendra Smith, a student at Michigan State University.

However, some students said they see an upside to being on-demand. “It’s definitely more convenient,” says Brandon Rowdy, 23, a culinary student at the Culinary Institute of America. “You don’t have to wait, and if a product or something breaks, you can find a solution very quickly.”

Part of the issue with online learning, however, is that it doesn’t stay static.

“People have changed so much,” says Galit Eirch, a tech advocate at Let’s Talk About It. “My issue is that these online learning sites, some specifically to help develop a skill, some just to handle a certain subject, are written up on a different page than the other non-online content.” This prevents students from easily keeping track of which apps they’re using to learn.

The whole problem boils down to an accessibility issue, which gets to the crux of a major complaint about online learning. Jesse Blackmore believes it’s an issue that needs to be addressed before it gets worse. “I believe that all online, or other nontraditional or real-time learning, should be the same level of freedom to the students,” says Jesse. “The accessibility should be there but not so easy.”

Is online learning such a fair tradeoff? Obviously, it’s a problem worth debating, but for now, it’s a reality we have to deal with. Thankfully, many online courses work a little bit differently than the video streaming she mentions, so the problems are not as overwhelming.

Joshua Stone says all of the tutorials and learning tools available can be easily tweaked to fit our quick-fix processing capabilities. “On Vidbit, for example, our tutorials are taken and used by the student, so you really don’t see or hear a teacher teaching at all. That means instructors don’t have the typical distractions of a typical classroom setting that are distracting and impactful, such as people standing and shouting. “

Meanwhile, Kendra Smith says online education is definitely another form of a big screen. “You don’t lose out on learning,” she says. “Where you have a big screen, you’re truly inside and get to experience the whole class.”

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