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Roles of Teachers in the Education of the 21ST Century, Dissertation – Literature Example

Pages: 35

Words: 9536

Dissertation - Literature

Narrative review

Online learning is a contemporary learning method that is gaining popularity at all levels of learning. Various challenges face this study mode, making it essential to research past trends and find solutions to the problems. In this study, the researcher investigates the issues of low first grades for students doing high school diplomas in the US. Getting the cause of this problem is vital to help course instructors and students prepare, plan and perform better to record better first grades.

The reviewed literature helps to understand previous performance and trends that cause the low grades. Additionally, the researcher will evaluate challenges that students and course instructors face in online writing and find possible solutions. The literature search is based on studies from 2018 to date, and most cases review online learning in the US. The research analyzes the causes of low academic performance and uses the literature to give evidence of causes and previous solutions that have helped different learning institutions improve their grades.

Overview

Online learning has been picking pace since distance learning began decades ago. Learning institutions have online-based programs that students can enroll in to achieve their education goals virtually. It is the best mode of study for people who have distance or travel challenges to a learning institution. Online courses are also suitable for working professionals and those committed to other activities such as family. Learning institutions have programs where online learning can be a complete study mode or a way to substitute some courses. It is convenient and effective for people who access the internet and computers. Learning institutions have studies, examinations, and assessments done entirely online. This arrangement makes it very practical and convenient for learners who prefer to engage in other activities as they study. Martin et al. (2018) state that full online classes suit most conditions for learners from sixteen to sixty-five years. Virtual learning requires the student to be conversant with technology and have adequate digital skills to access learning resources, material, and attendance necessary for course completion.

History of online learning

Online learning began as a complementary form of learning in the early millennial years. By 2000, Sharma et al. (2019) stated that only 6% of learning institutions had extensive online courses. Claxton and Michael (2020) explain that by 2005, 19% of tertiary learning institutions had started posting learning material on online platforms. Soon after, universities formulated course that was studied entirely online. By this time, the high and elementary schools had become acquainted with online learning. However, examinations were done using the in-person method. In contemporary times, online learning is an independent mode of study where students interact with their tutors, study, do an examination, and graduate online. As these analysis methods improved, challenges increased, one of the major ones being low grades in the beginner courses. The accelerated nature of learning to cover content in the shortest possible time is one of the best approaches to improving performance in online classes.

Claxton and Michael (2020) explain that covering the syllabus in good time gives teachers and students adequate time to review the content, make additional changes, or add knowledge. Claxton and Michael’s (2020) research indicates that intensive online courses keep students occupied hence little time to forget a task or get bored, thus reducing drop-out levels in the four-course. Although students taking online classes mainly self-learn, covering syllabus content in time can give teachers time to handle areas of difficulties with ease for the rest of the learners. By 2020, a ministry of education survey showed that more than eight million students took online courses. The number increased gradually since the millennial era and was shot during the coronavirus pandemic.

Challenges Of Low First-Online Course Grades In High School

Wong et al. (2019) argue that over forty percent of these learners have prioritization issues, hence extra monitoring and supervision. The institution has developed various ways to supplement virtual learning and make it learner-friendly. Standard methods include video conferencing, where learners and course instructors discuss different learning materials during the video conference. The learners, instructors, or institutions provide through Google classes, zoom, Skype, or other online platforms.

 There are significant gaps in online learning for high school in the US. According to Sharma et al. (2019), 67% of courses taught and examined online in California have lower grades than when carried out through in-person learning. There are also gender challenges in performance, with boys doing better than girls in most online classes. Sharma et al. (2019) explain that the difference in preface among boys and girls can be ascribed to the division of labor in many societies where girls have more responsibilities at home, such as taking care of siblings, cooking, cleaning, and washing while the boy has fewer roles. Such division of labor will be depicted in academic performance in online classes since the time each gets t study is different. There are subjects where students perform better, such as social science than sciences, physics, and mathematics. Van Dijk and Lane (2018) explain that the lack of reasonable time to experiment, check calculations, and monitor each learner’s progress is the leading cause of low performance in the sciences and mathematics.

Benefits of online learning

Online learning helps students access course materials when they cannot attend in-person learning. There are various types of online learning, whereby it can be a mode of study for some course or a blended form of education. In the US, high schools offer diploma courses through traditional in-person studies, purely online, and combined learning mode. Online learning is complimentary in some institutions and gives students an option to study online or through in-person lessons. This type of learning is significant in a group where computer literacy is limited or when introducing technology skills, new software, and learning platforms. Full-time online understanding is essential for other students. Martin et al. (2019) explain that few people can take time off to study or commit to full-time graduate programs due to work, travel, or other commitments. Juggling other responsibilities and school is not easy. However, online programs offer a back-to-school option with better flexibility and more opportunity to save time and money as there is no traveling, accommodation, or a significant environmental shift.

Additionally, Aguilera-Hermida’s (2020) research shows that even higher education students are uncomfortable asking for clarification of a statement in class or deeper details. However, the material is readily available for reading and learning in online courses and further links. The online study mode allows students to overcome the discomfort of asking the professor to repeat points. Instead, it gives them a unique opportunity to research what they need in more detail or clarification. It is easier to access past material in online classes since online notes, learning resources, and instructions are available. A student taking the online course can pause a lesson or lecture and revisit past material for better understanding, an advantage that most in-person learners do not get. Reviewing past material ensures the proper relationship of concepts and good content memory for better mastery of the material.

Martin et al. (2018) state that students who study online must plan their time and take breaks from learning. There are long-term side effects of prolonged use of computers on the eyes due to glare, lighting, and sitting. One must plan and take breaks, be disciplined, and be committed to their study schedule to ensure they do not lag and cover all the learning materials needed for course completion. The discipline required to complete online classes makes exclusive virtual classes inappropriate for learners below sixteen. These learners need constant supervision and guidance from time to time to ensure they use the online learning resources. Dumford and Miller (2018) state that learning institutions that use virtual classes or have online courses for learners below the age of sixteen should have more monitoring programs such as short quizzes, mandatory participation, and activities that engage the learner more than those above sixteen years. Aguilera-Hermida (2020) adds that most people below sixteen need more supervision and care to complete online courses. These learners have fewer financial obligations and fewer responsibilities. Hence accountability for the time, money spent, or need to complete the procedure may be oblivious to these young people.

Another advantage of an online course is giving students a broader global perspective since learners from around the world meet in these courses. Martin et al. (2018)  research indicate that online courses have more cultural diversity and inclusivity than in-person courses that attract the most people from within the country or specific geographical locations. For example, universities offering online courses have 34% more students from the diaspora in the US. Interacting with people from different backgrounds gives students better cross-cultural knowledge and tolerance and a better understanding of social norms and practices—the students more opportunities to network and broaden their global perspective about their course. Zhang et al. (2020) argue that employers prefer workers with more exposure and international experience. Online learning students want global expertise and tend to go to the best colleges in that sector; hence are highly employable around the globe. The cross-cultural experience can also catalyze innovation and creativity for these students, making them valuable in most organizations.

Organizations are aware that people who took online studies are tech-savvy and computer literate, a skill that has become very common in most workplaces. Aguilera-Hermida (2020) explains that digital learning is mainly for people with other responsibilities, and completion shows diligence, dedication, and commitment to a course. Hence, organizations, companies, and businesses need people who can find ways to overcome underlying challenges and find solutions enabling development. Connecting with some students makes them very valuable for international corporations in areas that need collaboration and global troubleshooting for better results. Lastly, online courses help students observe the covid-19 health guideline and regulations, such as social distancing, while at the same time pursuing their studies. Therefore, online learning is appropriate for high school, college, and university learners. Digital skills should be taught from a young age when learners get to high school. They can enroll in these online courses and be able to cope. Learning institutions should also offer online, blended, and in-person learning modules for students who want to shift from one study method to another when circumstances or motivating factors change.

Performance in first course grades for learners

In self-paced online learning, the students are responsible for their academic progress in that course. Van Dijk and Lane (2018) state that in many schools where learners are in a self-paced online course, there is a widespread problem of low grades and an average of 73%. The leading cause of the low rates is an organization, lack of research, and convenient use of the learning resources. The researcher investigates these low-grade scores to provide alternative learning mechanisms in online classes. According to Aguilera-Hermida (2020), instructors must foster the interaction and acquisition of knowledge for lifelong learning and career development. In the US, virtual learning has existed for over two decades. However, the coronavirus pandemic acted as a catalyst, and more schools and colleges have online courses and classes. Online classes are slowly replacing some of the systems that were hundred percent offered using the traditional mode of study. The effectiveness of these classes after the coronavirus pandemic and crisis that made many learning institutions close has made more institutions consider it a separate, independent mode of study for learners who want to partake in their institutions without going to the institution physically.

Additionally, high school students are in the process of making career decisions. They need more guidance in subject selection and performance to achieve their plans. However, with online classes, it can be challenging to get as much time as in traditional courses for motivation and monitoring hence the low performance in the online course. The performance improves with age as students taking online classes in college perform better and almost in traditional systems.

Student-teacher engagement

According to Zhang et al. (2020), the key to better grades among high school students taking an online class is continuous dialogue and interaction with the instructors and learning resources. Instructors must learn their learners’ social, behavioral, and cognitive nature. Intelligent learners such as gifted require a different approach and material when teaching, while slow and average learners need more monitoring. Sharma et al. (2019) write that course instructors include small quizzes, chat rooms, and tasks requiring students to study from particular sections or chapters and respond to those tasks or their classmate’s exercises. Students must meet a specific percentage of interaction to qualify for the next activity. Learners can choose online studies as well as the in-person mode of study. Continuous interaction is essential for support and mastery of content for all learners. It also increases accountability, requiring discipline and commitment to complete a course. Active participation makes completing tasks faster, and the teacher can instruct the learners at the right speed hence competing for the syllabus in good time. Interactive lessons enable the teacher to understand complex topics or concepts better, guiding the learners. Van Dijk and Lane (2018) argue that learners’ emotional, cognitive, and behavioral states are vital when learning. A teacher can only accurately assess some of these characteristics through virtual face-to-face interaction. A teacher at the high school level is responsible for their students’ overall well-being and should ensure emotional issues are dealt with efficiently for smooth learning. Some environments make it hard for high school students to concentrate; hence, teachers must interact with learning to assess their environment and the support system for completing a course. This method of studying is beneficial for working adults and family people who can study in the comfort of their homes. Online courses are on the rise in the US and other countries. The surge was catalyzed by the coronavirus pandemic that caused various institutions to reduce or halt their physical classrooms, therefore, looking for alternative study methods.

The problems of low first grade reports in the initial courses and overall lower performance make it worth investigating to find strategies to improve online courses. In this section, the main challenges that cause lower grades include adjustments and time management issues, internet connectivity and lack of computers, work-study-life balance, and tutors’ related challenges. The literature the researcher reviews discuss underlying issues in each of the above and mechanisms that learning institutions can use to overcome these challenges and ultimately improve the online course. The student-tutor challenges include commitment, preparedness, active participation in the course activities, and self-taught exercises. The time and schedule of learning meaningful is also a problem as many drop out during the first semester or change course. There is also a need to open communication channels between the students, their tutors, and the institutions’ administration. Open communication makes it possible to resolve issues faster and collect data and feedback to improve online learning. After carefully considering and articulating all the challenges that cause the low grades, the researcher recommends strategies that institutions can use to improve online courses.

Rapid enrollment into online courses in the past two years indicates that it is time to give deeper insight into the challenges and low grades in most online courses. Claxton and Michael (2020) even suggest the online system be ministry-regulated for the various curriculum in the US. That way, flexibility, and accessibility are the best levels for tutors and students. Education stakeholders’ guidance and direction reduce the overreliance on asynchronous content delivery methods or communication.

Technology

There are various technologies that schools can use for their online learning. Dung (2020) advises high school management and tutors have a responsibility to ensure that the technology that course instructors use is age and content appropriate. Some important factors include features in each application or tool, speed, and time the learning material is accessible. The technology should correlate with the personality and facilities available for learners. It should be easy to use and gender-sensitive. The application should be easy, require minimal skills, and be student-friendly. Appropriate technology and skills ensure learning material is accessible to all students. Online applications and software teachers may need for science, art, and experiments courses can be challenging for students. Therefore, the software selection should be based on the quality required for executing a task, ease of use, and transferability of skills to another course.

Students unfamiliar with a teacher’s system or software will likely lose interest or avoid it. This discomfort and lack of familiarity with technology in some courses result in low student turnover in some studies or preferring to take some courses in-person rather than online. Molloy et al. (2019) argue that establishing norms or general practices for online content can improve online learning. Students should access technology skills necessary for the next course or range. Having a support system where they can learn them in a limited time before the learning or use commence can help students overcome the technical challenges of technology. Measuring engagement and performance in online courses should not just focus on course content. Still, the technical aspects and student satisfaction levels ensure that learning institutions set achievable goals for virtual learning.

Sadeghi (2019) advises course instructors to limit teaching methods to a certain standard. Most auditory information should be available in softcopy as some students have trouble processing information. Video lessons can be recorded for future review and reference, especially for learners who have challenges attending these lessons. Sharma et al. (2019) add that students must balance reading and visual or audio information and learning materials to support their comfortable learning methods. The physical classroom has a discussion, which teachers supervising the online course should ensure through various discussion boards. Much learning goes on when students engage and discuss the curriculum content. Martin et al. (2019) explain that they use a mechanism such as short essays on a particular range, and students must respond to their peers’ opinions or reports on an issue. This kind of discussion brings versatility to learning and different angles of viewership about a topic or concept. The process makes discussion mandatory hence continuous learning and brainstorming as they go through the content.

High school diploma students need structural support and performance racking systems to ensure independent academic progress is per the syllabus. Teachers often prepare lessons before the course begins and allocate time for each activity for holistic learning. These learning mechanisms and content should be what is tested and applicable in the examination. It is improper to test content never taught in the activities students should cover. Therefore, online content should be verified and re-checked at the department level to ensure clarity, appropriateness, and precision so that it is achievable in each unit’s time allocated.

More learning institutions are taking surveys to understand student expectations in online courses. Distance learning is not easy, and there is a need for clear communication between students, their course instructors, and the institution. Coordination of activities and tasks for online classes should be flexible and allow students enough time to complete them. People who prefer online learning have a reason that hinders them from doing full-time in-person studies. It is only appropriate that teachers are flexible and understanding of their needs. Sometimes students call in to explain to their course instructors that they cannot get time at a particular time for a reason. These instructors should be understanding enough and strict not to encourage learners to avoid learning and make excuses that make it easy to get away with absenteeism.

Online courses need revision and updating to make them better. The modifications and restructuring of these courses increase precision and approaches to teaching content, which can help improve the first-course grade. Sometimes, when there is a required course in the first course, they can be taught towards the end other than beginning with them, when most students are still settling downs and conforming or understanding the basics of online learning. Setting tasks that encourage self-teaching and discovery refines critical thinking capabilities and increases the rate at which they can learn new skills. Margot and Kettler (2019) argue that discovering new stuff is a process, and the knowledge that one acquires in that way is doubtful to be forgotten. These skills are further added when they are technical through practice and perfection. Such a course and learning mechanism are vital in science and other technical systems where innovation is through discovery and mastery of content.

Online learning is flexible and self-paced; students can plan their time and when to complete their course. The learners can select the number of units to take with their time; consequently, those with plenty of time can register for the entire course allocated in that semester, while those with little time can take the class they are comfortable covering. This balance of in-unit coverage ensures that all the students are satisfied with the workload. The flexibility and manageable workload ensure that self-paced learning.

Unlike in-person learning, where physical availability is necessary, online classes offer students better time management. Since the learning material is available online, students can access it online or download and print the content for offline studies. There is also flexibility regarding the time one can study, unlike traditional lessons where once the teacher teaches, the content is prepared in the online class. Sharma et al. (2019) add that more teachers record their studies following the coronavirus pandemic and post them online for students who cannot attend physical classes. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the increasing hindrance to face-to-face courses is traveling, quarantine, illness, loss, or other challenges.

Students with flexible study schedules are more cooperative and better cover the content. These students also demonstrate self-motivation as the curriculum content is manageable and well-arranged, even for those who are away. Virtual communication is also monitored by the institution and ensures accountability. Most institutions are also educating students on the advantages of online studies and the teacher’s instructional strategy to ensure it is beneficial in every course. Knowing what is necessary and the skill set one must possess before enrolling or approaching computer literacy ensures that those registering for these courses come prepared. Sharma et al. (2019) state that the system’s computer literacy skills differ.

Molloy et al. (2019) state that low performance among high school students in online courses results from challenges they face in this mode of study. The school must understand the educational background of their learners. Stakeholders must research the needs of their learners thoroughly and use the information to make valuable changes. Addressing the problem of online learning is a continuous process that schools that offer these courses must invest in from time to time to enable them to stay conversant with upcoming issues. Some of the significant challenges are access to the internet and computers, support in technical challenges for both learners and teachers, and delays in completing tasks. Signing and enrolling in online courses for those taking high school diplomas are usually aligned with career goals. Institutions and high schools must offer additional support for achieving those careers and have platforms where students can market their courses and skillset. Sadeghi (2019) adds that students are more likely to enroll in high school diplomas in institutions where, upon completion, the students have better chances of jobs or internships in prestigious institutions. The high school needs to offer further education such as diplomas to market their course and graduands and foster a conducive relationship with the hiring bureau and companies that need the students’ skills once they partake in the lessons. The system should also be recognizable to the ministry of education and certification and applicability to other colleges or tertiary institutions. They can further their studies after completing the high school online course or programs.

According to Martin et al. (2019), online learning is disadvantageous for students from low-income households. These students have hardship accessing a computer or internet supply. They also have to work more at their workplaces since most lack the skills to make them more employable or get better payment terms. Most of these jobs are manual; hence they are tired of doing much studying after work. Although some excel in online courses, the majority score lower grades than those in affluent families. Additionally, the discrepancy in scores can be due to access to computers and the internet and low levels of computer literacy.

Convenience and effectiveness

Availability of the internet and a functional computer are critical and influence the overall performance of the online course. These factors ensure a learner gets test material in time and can participate in online tasks whenever necessary. When deciding on the mode of study, instructors must consider the economic background of the target population and internet connectivity. Kizi and Ugli (2020) state a readily available network in the US, especially in public libraries and buildings and on the home internet. There are populations where internet supply can be problematic, such as among immigrants. Margot and Kettler (2019) add that learners from certain economic classes or regions work as they study and have limited time for the course. Instructors must therefore design learning material and resources in ways that enable self-teaching. The learning should encourage further research and the acquisition of more knowledge. Kocdar et al. (2018) advise that tutors keep the lesson brief, detailed, and short. Long lessons become boring since the learner is studying alone, negatively affecting concentration, especially among young and older learners. An average online task should, therefore, not go beyond one hour. There should be activities that keep the students engaged and cultivate the interest of these learners to dig for more profound knowledge. When learners have a keen interest and do more tasks independently, they gain more knowledge and do more lessons and exercises that improve their overall performance.

Martin et al. (2019) explain that students should interact adequately with their teacher when studying virtually. This interaction brings the issues of student and teacher ratio. For effective learning, the class must be manageable so the teacher can reach each student, especially in high school. Kizi and Ugli (2020) argue that teenagers can be cheeky or shy and quickly hide in the crowd. The teacher must evaluate each learner’s progress and academic development at the high school level. Kocdar et al. (2018) assert that face-to-face learning is possible in online classes where course instructors prepare a lesson for interaction with each other. These face-to-face lessons are vital under challenging topics or concepts so that the instructors can teach step by step and assess the learners’ understanding. Even so, the experiment task still requires in-person teaching. Molloy et al. (2019) argue that when such courses are delivered exclusively on online platforms, the learning is limited and as thorough as traditional classroom learning, hence the lower scores.

Satisfaction and examinations

The first evaluation criteria when designing an online course should be delivering curriculum content in time. Second is student satisfaction and needs when taking the course. Classes for adults are different than those of high school students. This variation is because the requirements are other among groups. One advantage of online classes for adults is the freedom to choose when to study. This approach means that the takas are not strictly time-bound, but instructors set learning material that learners should complete within a specific period. Course heave date when a task should be sent as deadline and learning and online class attendance are personal choices in many institutions. However, most schools in the US require mandatory attendance of online classes for at least forty percent of their students for high school students. Attendance is stricter as teachers encourage more face-to-face lessons. Teachers in high school are diversifying their pedagogy skills and use teaching methods that enable listening, touching, memorizing, and experimenting. The study has material that includes videos, music, additional reading material, and material to use while offline. These are useful for high school students as one can download and study from anywhere so long as they have a smartphone or printouts.

Schools constructed at earlier ages have constantly been improving, and including technology and online classes as an alternative learning method for their students is one of those developments. The mission of many schools is to enhance the acquisition of education and skill that students can use to achieve their goals in careers and life. According to Margot and Kettler (2019), online learning is cheaper as it cuts the cost of transport, accommodation, and learning resources. High school diplomas are offered to more than sixty thousand students every year. These high school students are sometimes already working and supplementing their education with online classes, while others enroll fully in the virtual lemming modes. Penn Foster High School is the largest institution offering high school diplomas in the US. It provides learners with self-paced online education where students ages thirteen to fifty-five can enroll and study from anywhere across the country. The robust system of education and administration allows course instructors to offer a range of courses online or through in-person learning.

Administration and management

The school administration and management of online learning are critical in influencing performance. The management of every school is responsible for handling activities in their institution. As earlier said, the teacher-student ratio is vital in online learning. The school administration is responsible for hiring teachers in a private institution. The school administration must ensure communication with the education board and communication deficits in public schools’ teachers, books, and finances. Proper accountability and use of resources ensure allocation into the right areas, this robust learning and a conducive environment for learning. Isaias et al. (2020) explain that online learning is a new concept for some teachers and students, and they will need support to use or create some learning material from time to time. A functional school administration must ensure that such services are available to teachers and the students.

School managers should be conversant with online learning needs and set realistic goals to help them achieve the students’ needs. Some institutions offer specialized programs, including weekend and evening classes, to cater to the needs of students with limited time for studying. Such programs need course instructors to be flexible and plan with the students to cater to their learning needs. When dealing with adults and high school students, Jacobsen (2020) advises course instructors to prepare adequately for lessons as students take unpreparedness to be disrespectful and a waste of their time. These factors affect performance and enrollment into online learning courses in that institution. Kizi and Ugli (2020) explain that for high schools offering diplomas and other courses online, there should be high specialization programs that allow the students to pursue their careers at the convenience of their homes or workplaces. High school’s most sought courses include healthcare, engineering, and information technology.

 Causes of low first-grade

Jacobsen (2020) states that students who enroll in an online course in high schools record low grades in the first course. These courses introduce various classes and form the background these students need to understand the course concepts. It is essential to improve scores of the first-course grade in an online course compared to other high schools doing better in-person learning. The middle school in Pennsylvania for introduction courses is 64% for online classes and 73% for in-person learners. The wide gap needs bridging by improving the quality and student preparedness for these online courses.

According to Kizi and Ugli (2020), more than 50% of students drop out of online programs, while others withdraw from the course or change more of study before completing the first four courses. Investing in research and continuous evaluation of student satisfaction can give institutions insight into students’ challenges as they continue their studies and plan adequately to help overcome them. Isaias et al. (2020) argue that the drop rate decreases after the fourth course as students continue with their system. However, the more students go into a class, the more difficult it is likely to get. Therefore, course instructors must prepare for more interaction and intense platforms where students can get more help to understand or master the content. The courses with better placement varsities and workplaces are the most preferred by students from sixteen to fifty-five. Therefore, high school must adopt a learning mechanism that permits internships and a work-study balance for those who get opportunities in school.

It is very likely limited when course creation is left to an individual. However, when learning material, methods, and goals are set by a team or evaluated by a panel, they are more likely to be thorough and much better at eliminating unnecessary content and manageability. When a team works together to deliver an online course, the range is comprehensive, and instructors cover areas they are good at or where they register excellent performance. A team can also study online learning patterns to understand the causes of low performance. A study by Kizi and Ugli (2020) indicates that rigorous, objective and systematic online tutoring at high school levels that have outstanding performance involves more than one tutor. Teachers specialize in various subjects, but everyone has areas of strength and weaknesses. A course instructor can likely cover all the program’s content. However, it is also expected that course instructors have spaces in the syllabus where they need help or where someone in the department can better cover it. Thus, tutors should arrange coverage of units and topics depending on one’s strength when planning. There should not be castigation when one seeks to aid in content coverage or the use of technology.

Jacobsen (2020) further explains that technical subjects such as art have sown that they are teachers who are better with graphic software than others. This study indicates that students performed better in online art courses when each area was taught by the best teacher than when one teacher covered the whole unit. This collaborative model of teaching also offers students with more instructors. Hence, they can better manage challenging areas in a specific part of their teaching. It is possible for students taking any course to portray more interest and better performance in some subjects than others. Therefore, if students have a negative attitude towards one tutor, they will not be affected much, hence fewer chances of low performance. Isaias et al. (2020) assert that students deserve to learn from the best. While all learning institutions must hire the best instructors who meet the relevant qualification, it is also just for the student to get the best there in the department. The collaboration enables course instructors to understand challenges better, too, since they are different from one group to the other and vary depending on the period and level of the course. Personalized learning is systematic and tailor-made to focus on students’ capabilities. Dung (2020) wonders what better way to overcome their weaknesses for that unit. Tutors who have specialized in an area through practice and experience know the best method of teaching that content when a learner cannot achieve it through self-learning. Through specialization and expertise, tutors become aware of content requiring more monitoring, face-to-face sessions, and additional tutoring. It is logical then that since online learning is time-consuming, a course instructor handles a sizeable and manageable amount of content.

In-person and online learning

DeJonckheere and Vaughn (2019) state that in-person learners at high school are expected to attend school and sign a register, which makes them readily available for learning. In online courses, the attendance is more lenient, and students sometimes take time to formulate a routine for their online studies, hence a discrepancy in learning between the two modes of study. The gathering in a classroom and students’ physical attendance are motivating factors for many high school students. There are better chances of achieving satisfactory motivation levels when people do a task as a group than when done by an individual. People discuss the issue, something commoner among in-person learners than online students. Group motivation and teamwork build persistence and resilience as students group and help each other in courses with challenging concepts. Individual learners who take such courses online may lack study mates or other students to help them with their complex content. Jacobsen (2020) adds that in many online classes, students do not even know the strength of each other because the interaction is limited by time. Hence, it can be hard to continue with a fellow coursemate, unlike in the traditional classroom, where students interact and know each other’s behavior, cognitive capabilities, and interests.

Research by DeJonckheere and Vaughn (2019) indicates that in-person learners have up to seven times more persistence than online students. For example, high school students who are unsatisfied with their online course have from time to time sought measures to rectify that by writing to the school admiration, boycotting classes, or rioting about it. However, such group efforts are almost unheard of among online learners. This change means that online students are likely to endure a tutor who is not suitable up to the end of a course, hence the low performance. Therefore, there is a need for online students to have a chat room to discuss matters that affect them and have clear communication with the institution management to discuss such issues.

Secondly, high school students in the US are expanding the online course and giving learners opportunities to get more skills and knowledge in a specific timeframe. When adding such studies, the institution needs to factor in these students’ time management and evaluate their balance and performance to ensure optimal results. Independent learning is one of the best ways for students to learn and acquire skills such that the learners can access and use the material offline or without the supervision of the course instructors. High school students taking various diploma courses have often fallen behind their course material due to time management difficulties for online learning. Darsih (2018) explains that to help the students with time management, the course instructor divides the learning material into smaller sections and sets tasks that learners must complete within a specific timeframe. This arrangement pushes the learners to assess and cover content in that area to complete the job. Most online courses are brief to avoid time wastage.

Additionally, access to the right technology and internet hinders online learning. According to Darsih (2018), students who take their high school diploma and work may not have time to study while at work. Others have jobs and other chores that consume their time, so they are tired of learning as necessary. Adults generally have high-stress levels in the US compared to young people. This stress is attributed to the increased responsibilities and interactions. The more engagements one has, the little time they have left to study, which leads to poor grades among online students.

Claxton and Michael (2020) argue that age is critical in learning. Young learners have more concentration and commitment to their course. The older the learners get, the higher the chances of recording low grades. The poor performance for first grades in another study is attributed to a lack of technology skills. Online learning requires that students be tech-savvy and conversant with software and hardware. However, these learners are still upping their internet and technology skills. Chyung et al. (2018) add that some cannot complete some tasks because they are not conversant with the technology or do not have the skills to use the required program to access the reading or learning material. This research explains that at least 72% of online course instructors have at least explained to students how to use a program, software, or application before teaching the curriculum continent. This extra teaching is time-consuming but mandatory, too, for successful education. Claxton and Michael (2020) explain that students beginning their course have the highest requests for help to use programs or software in the IT department. These challenges include the inability to log in, lack of login credentials to access some learning material, and in other instances, below the record enrollment of units. Other times, the registration of units takes time, and some students are not even conversant with a course on teams on offer during a school semester. This challenge makes them miss enrollment or require special attention by the school administration to ensure they know what is needed in the course. High schools often give these students pamphlets and course outline to help them decide when to take a specific method and be aware of which course and units are on offer or remaining for them to complete their course successfully.

For any course, there is unit prioritization. Creswell (2021) explains that the period begins with a more straightforward approach as instructors introduce more complex content as they go on. These introductory units offer the basis for the whole class. Unfortunately, learners who miss learning concepts or covering a range can influence their performance. Campbell et al. (2020) explain that students often enroll in a course but change to a different one soon after it commences. Although this is allowed in the first few weeks of the school calendar, it inconveniences the students and instructors who have begun teaching. They have to prepare special lessons to help students join the course later. Depending on the time it takes to join a class, the instructor may be unable to cover all the content in the stipulated time, affecting performance.

Structured course material hinders the opportunity for collaboration and interaction among learners. Most online courses encourage self-tutoring and completion of content by a student. Claxton and Michael (2020) assert that discussion and brainstorming during learning bring some of the best ideas, especially in technical and science-based programs. Ideas from students and collaboration have resulted in some of the past’s best innovations in the US. However, most online learners lack this chance due to time limitations and distance, contributing to lower grades among online learners.

The US has a very versatile and diverse population. The immigrant population and some natives may have language barriers that hinder learning. Campbell et al. (2020) explain that teachers must use simple language that students from various national backgrounds can understand in some online courses. It is essential to realize that some systems require technical language and precision, especially healthcare courses. In-person learners can arrange for special lessons to help bridge the language gap and improve their skills through practice. However, this is limited for learners with language problems as studying online offers few courses and people to correct mistakes.

Theoretical Framework E-learning theory

Creswell (2021) states that online courses should be designed to promote the effective use of technology and reduce unmanageable cognitive load. Course instructors must balance the intrinsic load and manage germane for relevant results.Creswell (2021) adds that it is challenging for teachers to combine principles with technology, but an institution can overcome challenges with continuous research. Dung (2020) proposes visualized digital communication with interesting learning material split into small bits and concepts to reduce extraneous cognitive load. This theory is hinged on the tenets of good interaction between students and tutors to understand challenges and discuss progress.

Additionally, the multimedia principles suggest that there should be text, audio, and visual text in online learning for better understanding and to cover learner differences. The information must be aligned with related concepts and segmented into simple parts or lessons. The signaling principle proposes platforms where learners or tutors can flag each other if a challenge occurs. In that way, there is a clear channel of communication where students and teachers can give feedback, rectify ongoing mistakes, and communicate challenges or changes for better grades and performance.

Those students who have taken introductory online courses come more prepared. Dung (2020) explains that these types of students are better with time management and completion of tasks, and participation. These learners are conversant with the technicalities of online classes and have more knowledge which helps them complete some of the lessons better. Although most high schools that offer high school diplomas give tablets or computers as part of the program, these items are prone to damage and poor connectivity. Creswell (2021) asserts that first-time online students may have one gadget. Hence once it breaks down or they cannot access an internet connection, t is the end of learning for most of them. However, those taking previous online classes most likely have devices from their older course or online class. They also have some programs for first-time online learners to purchase, install, and learn to use. The added advantage helps students record better grades than their first-time online student colleagues. Dung (2020) argues that the limited prior experience in studying online causes more challenges among older adults.

Behaviorism theory

Behaviorist theorists argue that conduct and mannerism are critical in academic performance. A course instructor must anticipate and plan for learner differences. According to Dung (2020), other issues to look for according to this theory are the personality types of learners and pedagogical methods they are most likely to benefit from these online courses. Some learners understand the text more quickly than other audio and visual images. A course instructor must consider all these individual learner behaviors when preparing an online course. Dung (2020) argues that although students are focused and do not need to be reminded to commence studies in time, some need pushing and constant monitoring for better performance. Instructors must therefore plan academically and enforce strategies that overcome behavioral differences for better grades. Creswell (2021) adds that instructors assess the behavioral engagement of learners by learning the resulting response and analyzing learners’ moods.

Learning modalities vary, but completing online activities indicates a student’s commitment to a course. They measure the number of actions a student completes, showing academic engagement and possible knowledge for the student in a subject. Zhang et al. (2020) state that some students in high school have more interest in one subject than the other and may do the task in one subject and not the other. It is important to observe such issues and find ways to help such learners with attitudes or weaknesses in a topic—researchers ink self-perception of high school learners to subject bias. The prejudice is leading to lower achievement in these online classes. Wong et al. (2019) add that adolescents in high school have more external factors that can cause lower scores; hence instructors must be cautious of their behavior and endorse self-focus and instill a practical attitude towards online learning.

Students’ situations and circumstances changed during the coronavirus pandemic. There is economic recession, high-stress levels, and social unrest for many people following the drastic closure of schools. Many families have financial problems while others grapple with loss, homelessness, food insecurity, and worry about their loved ones. The vulnerability of these students can impact their performance. Creswell (2021) explains that in the past, they have witnessed students who attend class but barely complete their tasks or are doing the bare minimum in their course. Students who had enrolled for the online system may no longer have their computer, internet connection, or even the space to learn. Whereas they had realistic expectations and goals, the drastic nature of the pandemic overhauled normalcy has caused the inability to continue to complete these online courses. Sadeghi (2019) advises institutions offering online classes to allow students to change their mode of study and give them time to defer and sort out their issues without consequences. Other students have a lot going on, which blocks their concentration and ability to participate in online classes, hence the low performance. When teachers interact with students daily, they can get a sense of those with difficulties in the background and check in on them privately or refer them for further help. However, as its name suggests, distance learning maintains space that may make it hard to discuss personal matters that affect educational progress. Aguilera-Hermida (2020) advises teachers to check on students or their families when a student does not attend classes for a significant amount of time or when they notice behavior changes to ensure they get the support needed to register for better grades. Unfortunately, lower rates may be seen because teachers are unaware of students’ behavior and observe and learn their behavior. Due to the lack of a long-term relationship, it can be hard to understand their behavior or the changes they portray at the beginning compared to later on during the course.

Creswell (2021) asserts that more students are dealing with trauma and stress due to the pandemic. Even for an online course, institutions should ensure adequate support systems such as counseling departments and other co-curricular activities to engage their skills and develop interests in their areas of specialization. Emotional regulation is vital in online courses. Zhang et al. (2020) add that every lesson should set netiquettes to explain the do and do not have students. Inappropriate behavior should be discouraged or punishable. There is also a need to be strict with deadlines and the execution of functions. This regulation ensures every learner is at par with the curriculum content and studying in the right place. Incorporating emotional and social learning in online courses helps students create rapport and engage outside the studies, thus noticing when something is wrong with their colleagues.

Recommendations for improving online courses from the reviewed literature

Analysis of various literature indicates that all online learning must encourage self-paced studying. Darsih (2018)adds that it should also be versatile and incorporate audio, video, discussion, and tasks to evaluate understanding. Since the learner may not be able to attend the face-to-face studies, course instructors should devise a mechanism for assessing knowledge of small portions of content before a summative evaluation. There should be support for technical issues such as difficulty logging in, uploading challenges, or inaccessibility issues provided by the institution. Campbell et al. (2020)strongly advise students taking online classes to have a clear line of communication to air grievances or challenges to the institution administration, department, or the course instructors. That way, the challenges are passed on faster and solutions obtained before matters escalate.

Lecturers should also be open to criticism and suggestion that their students give. Creswell (2021) asserts that the primary purpose and advantages of online learning are flexibility and in-depth knowledge. Students can have ideas that the course instructor can use to make learning engaging, engage, and accommodate specific challenges. Dung (2020)asserts that the best programs and courses are those whereby the instructor comes prepared but include students in effective decision making, such as the time to do continuous assessment tests, schedule discussions, and mode of participation among the learners. One group may prefer to have conversations in the evening. The others want the responses posted on the platforms for them to respond to them. Such matters may seem trivial but affect the overall performance of online courses.

Campbell et al. (2020) assert that tasks should be times such that once an exam starts, one should carry it at once or complete it to ensure credibility and consistency in results. Most institutions of higher learning use this mode in online examinations, something that high schools in the US are yet to adopt. Over seventy percent of the content should allow self-paced learning due to the limited time among online learners. Unless it is vital to have mandatory face-to-face lessons, they should be avoided, and instead, such kinds of classes are optional and recorded for future reference. The recording is crucial for the students and gives the teacher time to use past resources in teaching or refer students to the content they covered earlier.

Some instructors teach online courses in more than one high school. In such cases, it is vital to understand learner differences among the school and not just replicate course material or content. High school varies depending on the students they enroll, and courses can have standard units, but that does not mean that application is the same in every aspect. Reviewing such issues to ensure appropriateness and proper time planning for each lesson or unit is essential. Although students’ performance in in-person learning indicates better scores, it is possible to achieve better results since online education has become a preference for many students. Learning institutions are also investing more in online learning and diversifying their online course to reach more people who can no longer attend physical classes. Less proficient students require more engagement with tutors; hence, their students should be available when needed or prompted.

Darsih (2018) strongly advise against unmonitored or informal communication or learning methods when students enroll in an online course. Communication through the proper channels and platforms foster accountability where the institution can monitor issue such as the time necessary for consultation and referral with tutors. The institution can also reach out to course instructors with loads of unattended students’ prompts. High schools should also have facilities to facilitate online learning. Some students enroll for an online course, but due to lack of internet accessibility or the software or application needed to complete a study, students may miss tasks. Learning institutions should have the required material to complete online courses. This institution’s preparedness gives students a unique chance to go to the facility for a significant task they cannot meet remotely. Darsih (2018) adds that some programs and software are expensive, and the learning universities should help students with such technicalities, including suitable copies.

Summary

The administration should minimize challenges such as inability to log in, lack of login credentials to access some learning material, and in other instances, below the record enrollment of units by creating active support systems for students and tutors. There should be adequate information on course requirements to ensure students know expectations before they begin a course. Course instructors must enforce monitoring and evaluation criteria to assess progress before summative examinations. Lastly, students must have platforms to communicate with each other and course instructors in case they have challenges or want to relay information to the institution’s administration. From the literature reviewed, it is evident that feedback among other stakeholders in online learning is critical in the improvement of grades.

References

Aguilera-Hermida, A. P. (2020). College students’ use and acceptance of emergency online learning due to COVID-19. International Journal of Educational Research Open1, 100011.

Campbell, S., Greenwood, M., Prior, S., Shearer, T., Walkem, K., Young, S., Bywaters, D., & Walker, K. (2020). Purposive sampling: Complex or simple? Research case examples. Journal of Research in Nursing25(8), 652-661. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744987120927206

Chyung, S. Y., Swanson, I., Roberts, K., & Hankinson, A. (2018). Evidence-based survey design: The use of continuous rating scales in surveys. Performance Improvement57(5), 38-48. https://doi.org/10.1002/pfi.21763

Claxton, B. L., & Michael, K. Y. (2020). Conducting applied education research. Kendall Hunt.

Creswell, J. W. (2021). A concise introduction to mixed methods research. SAGE Publications.

Darsih, E. (2018). Learner-centered teaching: What makes it effective. Indonesian EFL Journal4(1), 33. https://doi.org/10.25134/ieflj.v4i1.796

DeJonckheere, M., & Vaughn, L. M. (2019). Semistructured interviewing in primary care research: A balance of relationship and rigor. Family Medicine and Community Health7(2), e000057. https://doi.org/10.1136/fmch-2018-000057

Dumford, A. D., & Miller, A. L. (2018). Online learning in higher education: exploring advantages and disadvantages for engagement. Journal of Computing in Higher Education30(3), 452-465.

Dung, D. (2020). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Learning. IOSR Journal Of Research & Method In Education10(3), 45-48. https://doi.org/10.9790/7388-1003054548

Isaias, P., Sampson, D., & Ifenthaler, D. (2020). Online Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Springer International Publishing.

Jacobsen, K. H. (2020). Introduction to health research methods: A practical guide. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Kizi, D. B. O., & Ugli, M. K. S. (2020). Roles of teachers in the education of the 21st century. Science and Education journal1(3), 554-557. https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/roles-of-teachers-in-education-of-the-21st-century/viewer

Kocdar, S., Karadeniz, A., Bozkurt, A., & Buyuk, K. (2018). Measuring self-regulation in self-paced open and distance learning environments. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning19(1). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i1.3255

Margot, K. C., & Kettler, T. (2019). Teachers’ perception of STEM integration and education: A systematic literature review. International Journal of STEM Education6(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40594-018-0151-2

Martin, F., Ritzhaupt, A., Kumar, S., & Budhrani, K. (2019). Award-winning faculty online teaching practices: Course design, assessment and evaluation, and facilitation. The Internet and Higher Education42, 34-43.

Martin, F., Wang, C., & Sadaf, A. (2018). Student perception of helpfulness of facilitation strategies enhances instructor presence, connectedness, engagement, and learning in online courses. The Internet and Higher Education37, 52-65.

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