Last spring and this school year, a large majority of Ohio students have experienced online learning – sometimes, for weeks at a time. Some students may enjoy online learning for the flexibility it can offer. Some may like it because they can go at their own pace. However, online learning does have drawbacks, especially for students who have learning disabilities and require special instruction.
The disadvantages of online learning
One of the biggest disadvantages of online learning is that it limits face-to-face instruction for students. Teachers can’t always check-in on each student and ensure they are understanding the material. For students with learning disabilities or who require special instruction, they may struggle to keep up.
Second, online learning requires students to be organized and self-motivated. For students who have HDHD or ADD, that can be difficult. They are more likely to pay attention while in in-person classes and teachers can more easily notice if they aren’t organized.
Students who learn through hands-on activities can’t replicate those as easily at home. Those who need to improve their communication skills won’t get the same opportunity to do that with online learning.
For those who are have autism or other special needs, they may have less access to working with teachers who have the training to help them. Special needs students also face an increased isolation from their peers and lack of social interaction with online learning. Their parents may have an increased pressure to help them, which can be difficult if their parents also are working at home or have other children.
Finally, teachers can’t appropriately assess students’ knowledge purely through online assessments. The chances for students cheating increase greatly, so many teachers give assessments knowing that students will access their notes and other sources.
When online learning is limiting your child’s education
If your child has been forced into online learning this year and isn’t benefiting, you may need to talk to their teachers and your school district about better ways to accommodate their learning. If you’ve done that and still feel online learning is falling short for your child, you may need to speak to an attorney. Your child has the right to receive quality instruction and have their individualized learning plan met. An attorney with experience advocating for special education rights may be able to help you get your child’s education needs addressed.