Engaging students in online education is a challenge.

Universities and schools responded to the pandemic by going online in 2019. Since 2021, online learning continues to grow in interest and participation. Alongside traditional higher education, MOOCs, too, saw the number of learners enrolled rise to 220 million in 2021.

Despite the rise of online learning, student motivation, and participation remain low.

The shift to online learning has caused various issues, including high dropout rates and poor grades. Fortunately, technology innovations like the Metaverse and AR/VR can help to solve these problems.

1. Difficulty in Maintaining Focus: 64% of Students Expressed Concern Over Maintaining Focus and Discipline

A 2020 survey conducted by Barnes and Noble Education on 432 college students across the U.S. found that 64% of the students found difficulty in maintaining focus and discipline during online lectures and found themselves lacking in motivation to continue distance learning for a prolonged period.

2. More Stressful: 71% of Students Find Remote Learning as Contributing to More Stress

Participatory action-based research by San Antonio students revealed that 71% of the surveyed students found virtual remote learning more stressful than in-person schooling. The stress manifested into anxiety-induced headaches, back pain, and stomach ache.

3. Non-Completion of Classwork: 11% of Learners (More Than 600,000 Students) Were Disengaged From Their Classwork

The statewide study conducted during the pandemic by Texas Education Agency (TEA) found that more than 600,000 students (11% of those surveyed) found themselves disengaged, not completing their assignments, or responding to teacher outreach.

4. Lack of Interaction: 47.3% of the Students Felt a Lack of Interaction With Teachers in Online Classes

A 2021 survey of 385 students from Delhi India found that 47.3% of the students felt that online classes lacked teacher-student interaction. Another 48.1% felt that online classes were less comfortable compared to offline classes.

5. Difficulty in Understanding: 30.4% of the Students Did Not Understand the Content Delivered in Online Classes

The same survey conducted on students of Delhi using a simple sampling method found that 30.4% of the students had difficulty understanding the course content delivered as a part of online lectures.

44.9% felt that they were less motivated to attend online lectures due to distractions at home.

6. Decrease in Lecture Engagement: 72% of Students Reported a Decrease in Lecture Engagement Which Hurt Their Online Experience

A survey conducted on 187 undergraduate students to map their online learning experience found that 72% of the students felt less engaged during live lectures, which hurt their learning experience.

7. Lack of Social Interaction: 65% of Students Claimed They Had Fewer Opportunities to Collaborate With Peers

A national survey of more than 1,000 college students by DigitalPromise.org found that 65% of those surveyed had lesser opportunities to collaborate with other students on coursework.

8. Lack of Interest: 57% of Students Found Maintaining Interest in the Course Material Was “Worse Online.”

The Digital Promise survey also revealed students’ insights related to engagement during lectures. 57% of the surveyed students felt that their interest in the course content was worse in online lectures.

9. Less-Engaging Online Curriculum: 42% of Students Felt That Their Current Online Courses Were More Difficult

A random sample survey of 1,008 students who began their Spring 2020 courses in person but ended them online found that 42% of the students had difficulty in staying motivated during their online courses. Another survey on 3,089 students had similar findings where 78% of the students found online learning experiences not engaging at all.

10. Decrease in Grades: 34% of the Students Disagreed That Online Education Had Improved Their Academic Performance

A university-administered CAPE survey of 387 undergraduate students recorded their responses to 50 questions. The survey found that 34% of students felt that their academic performance had suffered since the onset of online education.

11. Time Management Issues: 45% of the Students Felt They Weren’t Effectively Able to Manage Their Time Effectively

The CAPE survey also recorded student responses that revealed that 45% of the students weren’t able to manage their time properly with online education.

54% of the students felt that it took more work to keep pace with the course load during online education.

12. Lesser Attendance: 76% of the Respondents Never Watched Recorded Lectures They Received in Their Online Learning Modules

In the CAPE survey, students were also asked questions about the recorded lectures. 76% of the students confirmed that they rarely or never watched recorded lectures instead of live lectures.

35% of the students said they also skipped live online lectures often.

13. Lack of Instructor Preparedness: 33% of Students Expressed Doubts About Their Instructors’ Preparedness for Online Learning

The Barnes and Noble Education survey findings also pointed toward the unpreparedness of the instructors and teachers with regard to online learning and curriculum.

33% of the students felt their instructors weren’t prepared for online learning and 24% expressed doubts about college/university preparedness.

14. Long-Term Learning Loss: 97% of Educators Reported Seeing Some Learning Loss in Their Students

A survey covering the responses of 941 U.S. educators covering K-12 grades revealed that 97% of those surveyed felt that there was some level of learning loss in their students over one year when online education was forced on the students due to the pandemic.

57% estimated that their students suffered by more than three months of social-emotional progress.

15. High Dropout Rates: 75% of Students Disengaged From Using the Online Learning Environment

One of the most extensive surveys covering over 300,000 German students found that even though the number of enrolled students increased in the online curriculum, the engagement level decreased rapidly over time.

Within the first 100 days of registration, 75% of the students felt disengaged with their learning curriculum.

How Can Students Be Engaged in Online Learning Environments?

The conventional routes and tools like Zoom/Skype classes, recorded lectures, or downloadable course material aren’t sufficient to fill in for traditional face-to-face lectures.

Studies suggest that social engagement and community elements in online education can engage students 5x more and make them 16x more likely to complete the course. Many universities and schools are opting for lessons backed by interactive 3D environments and new tools like AR/VR to better engage their students.

Some universities have also launched an online campus or ‘Metaversities’ to provide experiential learning and hands-on experience to their students while opening up the possibilities of social interaction and learning via gamification.

At Axon Park, we believe the future of learning is virtual and technologies like interactive 3D worlds, AI, and XR will be supercharging our way to super-interactive, enhanced virtual learning spaces to build, engage, and inspire.