Children with learning disabilities seldom go to school. A study by Global Market Insights indicated the E-learning market size was USD 165 billion in 2015, and with a 5% projected annual growth could reach a whopping USD182 billion in 2017. World Health Survey reports that working adults with disabilities had a lesser than 33% chance of having completed primary school.
This is mainly because of the school buildings which do not facilities enough to the disabled. The other reason includes the parent’s monetary concerns. Online learning has been a boon to these children and it has helped them study better. While learning online is very convenient and flexible for the disabled, there are still some drawbacks to it.
The following graphic shows a quick snapshot of the pros and cons of online learning:
Pros of online learning
E-learning has many advantages specially for children with learning disabilities as it is more interactive and includes more visual and auditory learning. Disabled children face a difficult time in schools as they get treated differently including facing bullying by peers leading to anxiety. Learning online provides these children the comfort of being at home along with many other advantages, as outlined below:
Access to resources:
Students can easily access many online courses at any time. They can learn many courses at any time feasible for them. All they need is a computer and an internet connection and they can easily access multiple online courses. A senior consultant at a sample helps me do my assignment, service states that they use technology to connect students with academic researchers from all over the US. These researchers are retired educators who train students on writing essays and research papers.
Online courses work out to be cheaper than classroom learning as there are no additional overheads added to the fee, such as the cost of the classroom. Students can also save up on their commutation costs with online learning. Students with learning disabilities have to only afford a good internet connection to take up their online courses.
Exposure to technology:
Online learning not only teaches the children the specific courses they take up but also increases the contingency of a child learning more of technology like a new software or functioning of the internet. This provides the child with an environment to learn recent technologies.
For children who are not ready to attend school, online courses are the best choice as they can study being at home or where ever they are comfortable. As there is no restraint in the choice of location, students can learn a wide number of online courses. Moreover, students with disabilities may face problems with the pace of learning. These issues do not come up in online learning as they can learn at their own speed. Lisa Webb of VCU Health Sciences says most students prefer to start the course, and then adjust accordingly to what is needed.
There is no discrimination among the students because of sex, race, religion, nationality, age or physical appearance. This is a great advantage to the disabled children as they tend to get discriminated by their own peers. Online learning helps children boost their confidence.
Students with learning disabilities would face problems in focusing, and online learning may help such students drop most of the diversions. They get a more personal attention and this helps them to focus more.
Cons of online learning
Although there are many advantages of online learning for children with disabilities, there are many cons involved with it as well. Disadvantages of online learning such as lack of social interaction, lack of motivation and more pressure on the parents might even hinder the growth of such children.
Loss of management skills:
As time is not a constraint for students who study online, it is an added task of keeping track of the classes and the assignments. These may affect the child’s ability to manage time effectively. Though disabled students can study online at their own pace, this may also be a hindrance as children with less executive functioning may take more time to finish a task, and this will not help them to gain the ability to learn faster. Parents may have a difficult time in helping their children finish their studies on time. The child may also struggle to organize cognitive processes.
Lack of access to specific courses:
Children who wish to study a particular course or a major may have a difficult time finding it at an online college.
Disabled children tend to have a hard time socializing. And the opportunity to socialize is further cut down when such children pursue online courses. They do not get an opportunity to interact with their teachers or their peers and this may result in them not having many friends. Such children have a lesser chance of becoming independent and may lack social and interpersonal growth.
Lack of encouragement:
In schools, teachers and peers constantly motivate each other, to study more and to become a better person. Students who are learning online may not often get motivated as they are not directly interacting with anyone. Disabled children especially need more encouragement to help them in their academics as they may get dejected soon. Self-motivation is the only means of helping them meet their goals.
More pressure on parents:
As there is no mentor and direct contact for the child to express, the pressure on parents tend to increase. Disabled children need a lot of attention when they are learning. This coerces the parent to act as a teacher, principal, friend and more, playing multiple roles. Parents will have to put in more of their time and effort as the child will not get monitored on a day-to-day basis while learning online.
Many schools offer financial aid to children with learning disabilities which is not an option while learning online. The students miss out on many such benefits while studying online. Many disabled children prefer schools providing financial help over choosing an online course where they have to incur the expenses completely on their own.
Online learning is a huge benefit for disabled students as they have access to all the resources without any restrictions on geographical location, time and comfort. If used properly, this is a huge help for lots of disabled children to build their future as it helps them to improve their knowledge and eliminates the obstacles to classroom learning. While time management and negligible peerless interaction are disadvantages of online learning, parents must try and overcome this to help their child grow. Parents and children need to put in more effort and time to mentor a child learning online. With their constant encouragement and effort, their child may learn effectively and build a bright future for themselves.
Author: Nicole Cunha