Resources And Strategies To Help Struggling Students Become Better eLearners

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Conquering The Difficulties Of eLearning

eLearning is the way of the future. Even kids who will never attend an online university need to know how to thrive in any conditions. What if their school has a viral outbreak that requires them to go remote for two weeks? What if bad weather keeps them at home six days out of the school year? Kids who weren’t ready for eLearning during the pandemic fell behind. At the time, learning delays were a casualty of an unprecedented situation. Four years later, there are no more excuses. Everyone needs to know how to learn well online. In this article, we take a look at how to help struggling students become better eLearners.

Strategies To Help Struggling Students Become Better At eLearning

Guarantee Equitable Access To Resources

It’s important to keep in mind that opportunity gaps are often a significant barrier to eLearning. The most obvious of these is a lack of access to digital technology at the home front. Kids who don’t have smart devices or wireless internet at home won’t be able to do assignments that require these resources. They also will have a hard time doing normal assignments, as take-home work has become increasingly computer-dependent over the last decade.

Many schools provide resources that high-need children can take with them, such as wireless hotspots and school-issued devices. These tools are a great way to ensure accessibility. Other issues are harder to solve. For example, what do you do to support kids whose parents aren’t home during the day? Or perhaps kids who are responsible for taking care of a younger sibling or cousin?

Talk to the teachers in your life who were around during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chances are, many of them will remember fifth-graders bouncing babies on their laps while they tried to learn math. Naturally, not much can be done to optimize a child’s home environment for learning. Schools can offer supplementary support in the form of homework assistance programs and other opportunities for children to make up assignments they missed due to opportunity gaps.

Note that some schools already have strategies in place to address opportunity gaps. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) boards are there to make sure that all students have a fair shot at a high-quality education. Usually consisting of community members, a DEI board will be able to analyze school policy and help ensure that no student slips through the cracks due to factors outside their control.

Lean Into Data

One of the nice things about digital work materials is that many of them naturally produce and process student data that can be used by the layperson—like a teacher. Educators, of course, have always used analytics, but doing it manually is slow and imprecise. A well-rounded remote tech stack will give educators access to actionable insights that they can leverage toward improved student outcomes.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Data implementation in schools is something that needs to be prioritized from the top down. That doesn’t mean educational leaders should spend more time talking about how good data is. It does mean they should give teachers the resources—including time—that they need to do it effectively. Not only will this showcase the effectiveness of remote learning within the school but it will also provide a clearer picture of overall trends within the school.

Provide Materials That Suit Different Learning Styles

It’s easier to accommodate different learning styles online than it is in person. Remote work typically requires more independent effort. Students engage privately with their materials—many of which are digital and software-produced. Educators may find that they can help struggling students do better with programs that adjust to suit their specific learning style. Traditional classroom learning has long favored kids who learn best through reading and writing. Online, it’s easier to give everyone the chance to shine.

Try To Respect Boundaries

Teachers hate the purposely blacked-out screen, or the student who remains forever on mute. There are certainly situations where both behaviors need to be modified. If the child is hiding behind a black screen as a way to avoid work, they may need to be coaxed back into the group.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you never know what’s going on in the background. Maybe their parents are fighting and they don’t want anyone to know. Maybe their house is small and they have no choice but to work in the same room where their grandmother is clipping her toenails on the couch.

Sometimes, a black screen means that a child is choosing to participate even though their learning conditions are not currently optimal. It is important to respect that to the extent that you can. Aren’t sure which students need privacy and which are exploiting the system? You may find it productive to reach out to help struggling students whose screens are always blacked out. You don’t need to ask them what is going on. Instead, see if there are any questions or concerns that you can address. That way, you’re at least touching base.

Check-In Regularly

It’s much easier to neglect a child when they are miles away. One of the main reasons that kids struggle with eLearning is that they don’t get the same level of attention they would have in the classroom. For the occasional snow day, that’s probably alright. If school is remote for an extended period of time, it’s a good idea to actively keep tabs on everyone. Ask questions. Learn more about what barriers to learning they are encountering. Chances are that every student’s answer will be a little different.


Ultimately, many of the same issues that are inherent to classroom learning work their way into the remote setting as well. Kids experience hardships—be they internal or external—that keep them from achieving their best outcomes. Teachers, overworked and under supported, lack the ability to fully tend to their needs.

The unfortunate fact is that no single strategy will eliminate every barrier to learning, remote or otherwise. However, by actively engaging with the challenges specific to remote learning, teachers can increase their student’s odds of experiencing good results.

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