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What Psychologists Learned About Students With Learning Differences During the Shift to Virtual Learning

Beautiful student learning from online education service

During the recent shift to remote education for almost all students, psychologists are discovering that some students with learning differences are thriving in a virtual learning environment. Some of the surprising benefits of remote learning that have come to light include:

Better Communication Between Parents and Students

Educators have been aware of the positive effects of parental involvement for some time,1 and one of the effects of virtual learning has been to improve the partnership between parents and teachers. Studies have shown that parents gained a deeper understanding of their children’s needs, their learning styles, and their coursework.2

Improved Focus on Student Mental Health

Because of concerns about remote learning in education and the effects of virtual learning on student mental health, schools now provide more focus on this important topic, as well as training staff and counselors in ways to identify developing issues and provide remote support to those who face mental health challenges.

In addition, it has come to light that the tight schedules and structure of a traditional classroom environment is not the best fit for many students. After-school activities and homework often become additional sources of stress and anxiety. The more flexible schedule of online learning has allowed some students to report less stress and anxiety associated with education.3

Increased Motivation and Opportunities Provided by Self-Paced Learning

The ability to complete coursework in the hours of the day when they are naturally alert and focused is an important benefit of remote learning for many students. The same is true for the ability to take breaks to exercise or decompress, which is proven to improve performance.4 In addition, some students are more motivated to move ahead of a slow class pace, delve deeper into subjects that interest them, and learn time management skills in the process.

Decreasing the Likelihood of Bullying or Social Intimidation

Studies have shown that 20% or more of middle and high school students report being bullied in school.5 Other research indicates that students who experience bullying generally have lower academic performance.6

Other students may not experience bullying but are intimidated by speaking in public or feel the pressure to look and act as their peers do. Being released from this environment and allowed to focus fully on their remote education in a place they feel safe and comfortable has allowed some of these students to reach new heights of academic success.

Empowering Students With Learning Differences

Every student is a unique learner who might reach their full potential in a one-on-one and/or virtual learning environment. While some students with learning differences struggled without their in-person school supports, others found virtual classrooms and more individualized attention so much more empowering that they say they will continue with online learning even after in-person instruction becomes available.7

Leveraging the Best of In-Person and Virtual Learning

young student standing at Lydian Academy

As many schools transition back to a traditional classroom model, students and parents who have seen the benefits of remote learning in their own lives are looking for innovative schools that offer a customized hybrid or online learning experience with individual focus and greater flexibility.

Researchers, psychologists, and behavioral health specialists are seeing the results and coming forward to support schools like Lydian Academy, where those with learning differences receive the one-to-one attention in the most motivating and comfortable environment. If your child has benefited from remote learning and you want to continue this student-centered approach, contact us today to schedule a virtual open house or a tour of our campuses in Menlo Park and Burlingame, CA.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782391/
  2. https://psyarxiv.com/5ca4v/
  3. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40364197
  4. https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks
  5. https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719
  6. https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/victims-of-bullying-suffer-academically-168220
  7. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/11/technology/remote-learning-online-school.html

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