Challenges distance learners face

You will need 30 minutes to complete this activity.

  1. In your contexts, what challenges do distance learners face when using technology in their learning processes?
  2. For each challenge you identify, suggest how it might be addressed and by whom?
  3. Share your answers in the discussion forum.
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Challenges of DL by learners could be any or all of the following:
1.Lack of online skills with very little or no knowledge of technologies and instability of the Internet.
2 No proper online resources, cost of use and provision of appropriate resources and instability and or availability of financial resources
3 Lack or no support from governmental department or head of state, or higher appropriate leaders.

  1. Three main challenges faced by distance learners in my country are their lack of or limited ICT skills, poor internet connectivity particularly those living/working in very remote parts of the islands, and last but not the least, ineffective time management in which learners struggle to pace time well between work, family and their study and ensure all three commitments are completed as scheduled and to the quality required.

  2. Limited ICT skills may be better addressed by learners themselves, taking extra PD trainings to be computer literate and technologically proficient before taking courses online otherwise they have to seek assistance from other competent users (working colleagues, family members - children/youths nowadays are competent ICT users, IT if one is available). Poor internet connectivity can be solved either by learners accessing the internet from part of the island where connection is okay (in my context, all island council office have good internet connection), that they be provided a chance to complete their tasks and send them via posts otherwise, a summer/winter course is conducted for them in decentralized areas. Time management issue may be best addressed with the learner planning on priorities (with distance learning as one priority) and planning schedules or activity logs to enable him/her to complete assigned tasks to desired quality on time.

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Major challenges faced by distance learner using technology is internet connectivity and the cost of data used by the student, unless the student environment is connected with wifi eirther by the school or Government.

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I agreed to most of the challenges that have been identified by my peers. Well said.

Challenges that distance learners face when using technology in their learning processes include:

  1. Technical difficulties: Technical difficulties, such as internet connectivity issues, can disrupt the learning process and cause frustration for students. This challenge can be addressed by providing technical support to students, either through an online help center or by having technical support staff available to assist students.
  2. Lack of social interaction: Distance learning can be isolating for students, as they may miss out on the social interaction that occurs in a traditional classroom setting. This challenge can be addressed by incorporating collaborative activities into the curriculum, such as group projects and online discussion forums.
  3. Time management: Distance learning requires students to be self-motivated and able to manage their time effectively. This challenge can be addressed by providing students with time management tools and resources, such as calendars and task lists.
  4. Limited access to resources: Distance learners may have limited access to resources, such as textbooks and academic journals, which can hinder their learning. This challenge can be addressed by providing students with access to digital resources, such as e-books and online libraries.
  5. Difficulty with self-directed learning: Distance learning requires students to take responsibility for their own learning, which can be challenging for some students. This challenge can be addressed by providing students with guidance and support, such as online tutorials and mentorship programs.

These challenges can be addressed by a variety of stakeholders. For example, technical support can be provided by the institution or the technology provider. Collaborative activities can be incorporated into the curriculum by the instructor. Time management tools and resources can be provided by the institution or the instructor. Access to digital resources can be provided by the institution or through partnerships with libraries and publishers. Guidance and support for self-directed learning can be provided by the instructor or through peer mentorship programs.

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The main challenge in using ICT might be the lack of internet and IT skills. In my institute, some of the students who are on regional campuses face difficulty to connect internet or do not have access to a high-quality network. In addition, they need to have tablets, laptops, or smartphones which in some cases they can not afford it. I think institutes can provide some support for their students for example by preparing printed material, rental laptops, and free internet.

The challenges distance learners faced when using technology in their learning processes include;

  1. Time management
  2. Motivation to learn
  3. Unconducive home environment
  4. Inability to cope with learning materials without helper
  5. Lack of access to relevant technologies
  6. Unreliable power supply
  7. Unstable internet connection
  8. High cost of data

How the above challenges might be addressed and by whom;

  1. A work study plan should be developed and followed by the learners.
  2. Learners should motivate themselves or by someone to learn by competing with one another for good grades or reward from the teachers.
  3. Learners should get a conducive home environment for learning for concentration and better understanding.
  4. Someone should be there to mediate between the learners and the learning materials as a helper.
  5. Learners should get access to relevant technology like computers, tablets or smartphones for better access to learning materials on Moodle etc.
  6. Reliable power supply should be provided by the distribution company to enable the learners to charge all their learning devices.
  7. Stable internet connection should be provided by the school for better access of the learning materials and discussion of learning forums.
  8. Free or subsidized data should be provided by the school for the learners to enhance their learning activities.

Some of the challenges faced by distance learners when using technology in their learning processes include:

  1. Not having access to real-time support from the technical assistant.
  2. Not having enough time outside the classroom setting for in-depth study.
  3. Internet connectivity is a major problem in Nigeria.
  4. Cost of internet surfing data.
  5. Problem with erratic electricity supply

Possible Solutions

  1. To the problem of not having access to real-time support from the technical assistant, a provision of online resources and tutorials may help. In this case, digital learning platforms can offer detailed instructions and tutorials that students can access at any time to solve technical issues.
  2. Not having enough time outside the classroom setting for in-depth study could be solved by using microlearning techniques of breaking down complex topics into smaller, more manageable chunks, which can be easily understood and learned in short periods of time.
  3. An offline access that provides students with offline materials like PDFs, videos, and podcasts will help them learn even when they don’t have internet connectivity.
  4. The role of government and sponsoring agents must be engaged. Sponsoring data for students in need will enable them to access digital learning resources without having to worry about the cost of internet surfing data. Similarly, digital device loan programs: Providing students with technological devices on loan can help those who cannot afford to purchase them.
  5. The problem of erratic electricity supply could be approached in two ways, government intervention, and by backing up power for later usage. Other backup power solutions may include affordable solar power or generators to help mitigate the problem of erratic electricity supply.
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Few challenges that we faced are:

  1. Internet disruption (ICT) management
  2. Costly on private student. (Seek sponsor from community or Politicians)
  3. Private students having difficulties with possessing a hardware. (Seek private sponsor for the hardware)
  4. Electricity disruption (Utilities)
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Some of the challenges faced by the students while using technology is the use of electronic gadgets. The solution to this problem is that they can use their family members gadget or parents can help to provide them with one. Second challenge is the data. Sometimes students are unable to afford data. The solution to this problem is that the school can provide students a certain amount of data which they can only use on approved site by the school. Thirdly is the connectivity issues. The solution to this problem is that the student be able identify areas in their homes where the connection is good.

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Challenges face by Online learners includes but not limited to the following:

  1. Poor time management
  2. High cost of data
  3. High cost of internet enabled devices like laptops, smartphone
  4. Discouragement to study alone
  5. Distraction from families
  6. Lack of study time.
  7. Unstable or disrupted power supply.
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Learners in my institution are usually faced with the issue internet connectivity and poor network that makes learning difficult.
They also have issues using the LMS for discussion and assignment
I think the issue of internet connectivity can be resolved if free Wi-Fi is provides in the community.
New learners should be given quick tour on the LSM to help them navigate the platform

Challenges faced by distance learners-

  1. Inappropriate devices -screens are cracked up and storage space is an issue
  2. Certain documents can not be opened and some apps cannot be used
  3. Insufficient data plan and students do not have sufficient money to purchase plans
  4. Internet connectivity is not stable in the area they live
    5.Home environment is too noisy and students have to baby sit when parents are at work
    6.Inability to read and understand materials
  5. Parents lack technology skills to help students at home
  6. Lack of motivation to learn
  7. Time management- students work to help financial issues at home
  8. Lack technical skills
  9. Lack social skills
  10. Difficulty with studying material on their own with assistance
    These challenges can be addressed by Government, ministry of education, and other stake holders in education- internet issues and lack of devices can be addressed at this level.
    Distance learners need follow a study plan to help keep them on track, there just be instructors that seek keen interest of students to create specific learning path for students. Institutions should have online support for all learners.
    Government should help parents get familiar with use of online platform and technology but running free training and helping them to get comfortable with the use of the computer.
    Learning resources should be suitable for all learners using different strategies and means to get students involved. Use of gaming and read aloud ability to help learners who have reading issues.
    Use of videos and fun activity to allow students to become engaged and motivated.
    Have learning centers to help students who have issues with home environment issues and internet challenges.
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I do believe that not having real -time support is so critical to the learning process for online learners, it is imperative to get immediate feedback so that they do not get frustrated.
Cost factor for internet and suitable devices are real challenges for students and families from low socio- economic status.

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Some of the challenges distance learners faced when using technology including the lack of device, computer illiterate, expensive internet and power disruption to name a few.

These issues could be improved if the followings are done.

i. KTC should offer computer training on computing basic skills prior the commencement of the semester 1.
ii. KTC should increase the teacher trainee’s pocket money.
iii) The College should have a standby generator for use during power disruptions.

*Challenges of distance learning **
a poor internet connection

a lack of planning, access costs
poor comprehension
unfavorable home learning settings
power outages
inadequate instructions
and a lack of communication.

How challenges can be addressed

  1. Poor network - The government can invest in internet
  2. Lack of planning - Policies can assist managers in planning
  3. Power outages - The government can ensure colleges have standby Power supply
Challenges Solutions
Lack of digital devises

Lack of power supply

Lack of experience with technology

Limited ability to cope with learning materials


Unconduisive learning environment at home|Community Based Education Resource Centers (CBERC) to offer alternative support to learners.

CBERC is a Hall constructed within the community and equipped with ICT infrastructures (Source of electricity power, reliable internect connection, computers or tablets) It is made in such a way to offer a conduisive environment for study away from home but within the community. Teachers, social workers and community knowledgeable others provide support to learners within the CBERC by motivate learners, helping them manage time well and cope with learning materials.|

Challenges Faced by Distance Learners Using Technology:

  1. Digital Divide: Many learners lack access to necessary technology and the internet, limiting their ability to participate in online learning.Address:
  • By Institutions: Provide loaner devices and internet subsidies to students in need.
  • By Government: Invest in broadband infrastructure to expand internet access to underserved areas.
  • By NGOs and Donors: Donate devices and provide grants for technology access programs.
  1. Tech Literacy: Some learners may lack the digital literacy skills required to navigate online learning platforms and tools.Address:
  • By Institutions: Offer digital literacy courses and tutorials.
  • By Instructors: Provide clear instructions and support for technology use in the course.
  • By Peers: Encourage peer support through online forums or study groups.
  1. Isolation and Motivation: Distance learners can feel isolated and struggle to stay motivated in self-paced, online environments.Address:
  • By Instructors: Foster a sense of community through online discussions and group projects.
  • By Institutions: Offer mentoring or counseling services for motivation and mental health support.
  • By Learners: Establish study routines and connect with peers for mutual encouragement.
  1. Technical Issues: Learners may encounter technical glitches, software problems, or connectivity issues during online learning.Address:
  • By Institutions: Provide 24/7 technical support.
  • By Instructors: Offer alternative ways to access course materials (e.g., downloadable resources).
  • By IT Departments: Regularly update and maintain online platforms.
  1. Time Management: Balancing work, family, and study responsibilities can be challenging for distance learners.Address:
  • By Instructors: Provide time management tips and clear course schedules.
  • By Institutions: Offer flexible course scheduling and asynchronous learning options.
  • By Employers: Support flexible work arrangements for learners.
  1. Communication Challenges: Effective communication with instructors and peers can be hindered in online environments.Address:
  • By Instructors: Set clear communication expectations and respond promptly to messages.
  • By Institutions: Provide accessible communication tools and training for students.
  • By Learners: Actively participate in discussions and seek clarification when needed.
  1. Assessment and Cheating: Ensuring the integrity of assessments and preventing cheating can be more challenging in online settings.Address:
  • By Instructors: Use a variety of assessment methods, such as open-book exams and project-based assessments.
  • By Institutions: Implement plagiarism detection tools and academic integrity policies.
  • By Learners: Emphasize the importance of academic honesty.
  1. Content Overload: Learners may struggle with information overload and organization when using digital resources.Address:
  • By Instructors: Organize content in a structured manner and provide clear navigation.
  • By Institutions: Offer information literacy training.
  • By Learners: Develop effective note-taking and study skills.

Addressing these challenges requires a collaborative effort between educational institutions, instructors, learners, and various stakeholders. It’s essential to provide comprehensive support systems to ensure that distance learners can effectively utilize technology for their educational needs.