During e-learning, students are faced with a world of distractions. Whether it’s the TV going in the background, the cell phone that’s buzzing on the desk, or family members who are home with them, it can be extremely difficult to concentrate. Not only that, but with the lack of variation that comes with experiencing every class through a computer screen, students are more likely to disengage with their learning.
According to an article in District Administration, the e-learning environment tends to prioritize safety over enthusiasm and will likely cause students’ focus to plummet. This is particularly concerning because many students already fell behind in the spring during the sudden shift online. If this pattern continues, it could be detrimental to student success. This leaves teachers and school leaders with the task of overcoming these challenges before it’s too late.
Goal setting as a solution
The District Administration article cites research by the Northwest Evaluation Association, authored by NWEA research scientist Chase Nordengren, that suggests goal setting as a solution to get students back on track during the pandemic. They developed five strategies to help educators accomplish this.
- Educators should start instilling a goal-setting mindset in their students as early as possible. For kindergarten students, class-wide goals encourage the development of individual goals.
- Short-term goals that can be completed within the span of a few weeks allow students to track progress. Regular check-ins from teachers encourage students and enable them to revise their goals if necessary.
- Educators should make student goals visual by offering planners, charts, or worksheets for students to record progress in. This ingrains goal setting as a part of the daily routine.
- The goals should be personal to students to illustrate the value of setting goals.
- While it’s important for educators to guide student goals, goal choice should ultimately be left to students. This allows students to become independent learners by offering a sense of autonomy in selecting goals.
Planning for the future
The NWEA’s research suggests that cohesive goal setting and planning offer a significant foundation for helping ease students out of the slump created by the pandemic. Academic planners provide an affordable and effective solution with monthly, weekly, or daily goal sections to help students track progress. While planners have historically encouraged successful habits and outcomes, they could very well prove critical in helping students work their way through the pandemic and into future academic success.