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Remote learning
benefits: How
schools can realize
the benefits of
remote learning

Author: Satta Sarmah Hightower

Over nearly two years, educators have had to adapt and rework their lesson plans for a new learning environment. While learning largely has taken place remotely as of early 2020, many school districts have since welcomed students back into the classroom for in-person instruction.

Though distance learning involves some challenges, this approach also provides several advantages. As schools embrace a new normal, here's how they can capitalize on remote learning benefits to improve the learning experience.

What is remote learning?

Remote learning takes place in a virtual environment outside the classroom, typically within a student's home or at alternative learning or enrichment centers that schools and organizations create for students who lack connectivity and internet access at home.

In many cases, remote learning is temporarily put in place to ensure learning continuity when students can't be in a traditional classroom environment—whether it's during a public health crisis or a major weather-related event, like a blizzard.

However, true remote learning isn't just about transitioning course syllabi to an online format. It requires a different approach to teaching, keeping students engaged and using technology to ensure everyone has the same level of access and can equally participate in the learning experience. It's also different from hybrid learning because it's a fully remote experience rather than one where students split their time between in-person and virtual instruction—or where a class has in-person students as well as remote ones—as in hybrid-flexible (HyFlex) classrooms.

Though remote learning at the start of the pandemic may initially have been a stopgap to keep students safe and ensure they could continue learning, the benefits of remote learning can provide significant value as schools work to meet different learners' needs and make the education environment more flexible.

Remote learning benefits for teachers and students

Remote learning benefits for teachers and students range from optimizing student and staff time to providing more learning flexibility and fostering a sense of independence for students.

Remote learning allows teachers and students to spend less time commuting. Educators then have more time to create lesson plans and review student work, and students have more time to complete assignments and engage with course material. With remote learning, teachers can also acquire new digital skills that enhance the learning experience and allow them to find new ways to engage students, such as introducing gamified online courses to advance learning retention, self-determination and active learning.

The benefits of remote learning include better flexibility for students whose families may be temporarily displaced due to a natural disaster or economic hardship, or whose families need to relocate for work or to care for an aging family member. Additionally, remote learning provides a safe learning environment for neurodiverse students, special needs students and those who have been subject to in-person bullying.

Research has shown that children with developmental challenges experienced less bullying when schools were forced to cease in-person offerings because of the pandemic.

In addition, other benefits of remote learning include helping foster greater parental engagement, especially for at home parents that are able to check in with their children throughout the school day. And another one of the many remote learning benefits is that students may gain a sense of independence, learn at their own pace and challenge themselves to engage more critically with course material. For example, they may ask questions they might have been hesitant to ask in person for social reasons, and the added time in their schedules since they are not commuting might help teach them how to be more independent about how best to use their time to accomplish schoolwork.

Tapping into remote learning benefits for the long term

Many families are now opting for remote learning for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Opportunities for greater family involvement
  • A preference for the remote learning schedule
  • Their child is happier and prefers remote learning
  • Their child's academic performance has remained the same or improved

The benefits of remote learning mean that education can be more flexible and inclusive, providing students with more access to learning opportunities and better learning outcomes. Schools can build on the lessons they've learned over the past two years to find effective ways to incorporate this approach and better meet students' needs.

Discover how Verizon can help schools prepare for remote learning.