• Kayla Mastroianni

Social factors that impact online learning outcomes

There are many day-to-day factors that impact the way we experience life and our education is no exception.

With COVID-19 forcing schools and students into online and homeschooling environments, many people are experiencing new challenges impacting their ability to learn.

When students and parents are required to facilitate learning at home, a number of social factors come into play - and can quickly become significant barriers to learning.

The social factors impacting education outcomes during this period include:

  • Financial status

  • Access to services

  • Parental level of education.

Financial status

This can be quite a confronting topic for many parents and families.

However, most people will face financial challenges at some point in their lives.

As the saying goes, “Money makes the world go round” and when we have limited income it can be hard to provide our children with the resources they need.

Something as simple as a laptop and internet connection to facilitate remote learning may be beyond the grasp of some parents facing financial hardship.

People with higher incomes - or those who have not been impacted by COVID-related unemployment or under-employment - may even be able to afford tutors and alternative learning solutions for their children.

All of these financial factors make for a very uneven educational playing field.

coins social determinants

Access to services

Whether your child attends a private or a public school, the move to online learning has brought with it a new range of concerns for parents and students.

As previously mentioned, access to things like laptops and a quality internet connection is key.

Some parents may also struggle to obtain resources like laptops and tablets at all, and in households with multiple children, the need to share such devices can hinder educational outcomes.

In addition, if children notice they have an “older” computer or less technical resources compared to their friends this may also affect their performance and broader self-esteem.

computer- social determinants

For these reasons, schools must be willing to provide both online and hard copy versions of information and activities for students and families to access.

This will limit barriers to resources and encourage children to use what they can to help them learn.

Parental level of education

Children frequently model their attitudes on that of their parents.

Parents with tertiary or higher education qualifications are often more invested in and better able to model educational expectations.

Parents with a higher level of education may also be able to assess or notice when their child is struggling and offer alternative solutions.

In line with this, if a parent has a negative view on formalised education, this may be mirrored in the child’s attitudes and can impact their ability and motivation to develop healthy study and learning habits.

While there may be a number of factors affecting your child’s learning.

Try to focus on maintaining a positive attitude and environment for online and at-home learning.

Children are able to work more effectively with positive reinforcement and support, and this is your most important role as a parent right now.

Use what you can to help your children and don’t be afraid to reach out to the school if you need assistance.

We're also able to support you with the Our School Online @Home program.

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