During the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has become mainstream and it continues to be a popular form of learning. However, this change has various adverse effects on the mental health of students.
- Students are isolated from their peers and teachers.
Distance learning has resulted in students spending much of their time alone in front of a computer, learning on their own. This takes away a lot of opportunities for them to bond with people and improve their social skills. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who are socially isolated are more likely to have a “lower quality of life” and feelings of depression. The same article documents that people who socialize feel less alone and have sharper memory and cognitive skills, more motivation, better well-being, and a longer lifespan. Social isolation can have debilitating long-term psychological effects that interfere with students’ development during their formative years, including withdrawal, difficulty speaking, and not knowing what to do in social situations.
- Students feel stressed and anxious.
When learning at home, students lose the structured routine they receive in a regular school setting. It can become difficult to separate family life from school life. Since online learners may believe they have more time to complete homework and can easily be distracted by various devices at home, they may often procrastinate and skip deadlines. As reported in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, a study that collected online activity data from 157 college students demonstrated that students were more likely to procrastinate when learning online than in person. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety among students, which negatively affects their mental well-being.
- Students lack stimulation and creativity.
Online learning has forced many students in their prime to be confined to a computer for many hours each day. This keeps them in their comfort zone, but since there is rarely a change of scenery and few opportunities to meet new people, online learners’ minds are not stimulated and their creativity is diminished. Since online learning makes it difficult for students to have peer-to-peer discussions, online learners may often not hear ideas other than their own and expand their view of the world. According to ResearchGate, online learning makes it easier for students to plagiarize other people’s ideas on the internet instead of spending time coming up with homework ideas on their own, which has also led to less creativity. and brain stimulation in college students.
Socialization is an essential part of students’ mental development, but the online school does not facilitate this. Thus, fully online learning may not be a viable option for students who want to be well-rounded in all aspects of their lives. However, blended learning can be a convenient alternative, which does not have the drawbacks of 100% distance learning.