New Study Reveals Ongoing Connectivity Issues in Remote Learning
- 01 Feb, 2021
The movement to e-learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic presented new challenges to teachers, students, and parents across the globe. While in-person tuition have long been the preferred method of education, remote learning is rapidly becoming the new norm in 2021.
Distance learning has kept students and their families safer during this unprecedented global health crisis. However, in the transition to on online education model, many teachers, school systems, and families struggled to adapt to their new virtual learning environments. With an increased reliance on reliable internet connections, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed significant connectivity issues in south africa and around the world.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we know that poor connectivity had a significant effect on remote learning. Now, there is enough data to determine the impact months after schools and families first transitioned to online education.
How do learners, teachers and parents feel about remote learning? Have households found ways to improve slow internet connections? These are the types of questions that we hope to find answers for, by looking at a recent survey of over 1000 households in the US, by our partners weBoost.
On-Going Connectivity Problems Exposed by Covid-19
Even prior to the pandemic, data usage across multiple devices was at an all-time high and steadily increasing. Now, with parents working from home and children attending virtual classes, people rely on their home internet connection more than ever before. With increasing internet usage comes greater chances of network overload and poor connectivity.
The survey results highlight the ongoing problem of poor internet connections while learning:
- Nearly 53% of survey respondents said they experienced some sort of connectivity issue (internet, cellular, or both) at home in the last 6 months.
- 48% of people said they have used cellular data instead of a WiFi/Ethernet connection in the past 6 months.
- 24% of survey respondents said they have either already bought or are considering buying products designed to help resolve internet or cellular connectivity issues.
Based on these results, it’s clear that reliable internet connectivity is an ongoing issue for households across the globe. Increased internet usage as a result of COVID-19 has truly tested home internet capabilities for students and their families.
Common Connectivity Issues While Remote Learning
Slow or limited internet connectivity has a significant impact on a student’s ability to succeed academically in an online learning environment. Given the digital divide that is also a common phenomenon in South Africa, it’s clear that some households have better access to high-speed internet than others.
There are several connectivity issues that students encounter while remote learning, including:
1. Dropped internet connections.
Students may have their internet completely drop out during class—causing them to miss important information, lose valuable class time, or fall behind.
2. Poor audio or video quality.
With students using Zoom and other video conferencing software to communicate with teachers and classmates, poor video quality can greatly hamper communication.
3. Inability to access learning materials.
Teachers provide helpful learning materials and assignments through online portals. Students may struggle to download new assignments or upload completed work when their internet connection is weak.
4. Bad internet coverage.
The quality of internet and data coverage can vary throughout a household, so students may be limited in what areas of the home they can study.
5. Too many simultaneous users.
With multiple people and devices connected to the internet simultaneously, home networks may get overloaded and slow internet speeds for the entire household.
6. Internet only works during off-peak hours.
Students need to participate in class at certain times and meet specific deadlines. If they only have a reliable internet connection during off-peak hours, then they will be at a disadvantage.
All of these issues contribute to a substandard online learning experience. With a continued emphasis on distance learning, connectivity issues may be a significant barrier to a student’s academic success and development.
Where Students Learn: Online and In-Person
While learners and educators adapted to a shifting educational landscape, many question whether students can reach their full learning potential in a digital classroom. Online learning makes education more accessible to students, and some argue that it’s just as effective as in-person learning. However, both parents and children miss the face-to-face interaction of traditional classroom environments.
In light of the current pandemic, our education system shifted to embrace new learning models—from in-person, to fully remote, to a blended learning experience. How do parents and children feel about their options for education?
Here’s what the survey respondents had to say:
During the current pandemic, would you prefer that your child learn in person, remotely, or in a blended learning model?
- 35% of parents prefer for their children to learn online during the pandemic.
- 52% of parents would prefer for their child to learn in a blended or in-person learning model.
During the current pandemic, would your child prefer to be learning in person, remotely, or a blended learning model?
- 59% of parents say their child prefers learning in person at least part of the time.
Taken together, both parents and their children want to continue in-person learning at least part of the time. There’s still uncertainty about what schools will look like in the coming year. What’s for certain is that internet connectivity is likely to continue impacting a student’s ability to learn.
Alternative Ways to Connect at Home
Given the tremendous impact that internet connectivity has on student success, it should come as no surprise that many households turn to alternative methods to connect to the internet. In our survey, we found that 30% of respondents used their cellular data or hotspot to connect to the internet at home. This goes to show that WiFi/Ethernet connections may not be enough to ensure connectivity while learning.
Cellular data bridges the gap for homes with poor or limited internet connections. However, cell signal can be just as spotty and unreliable in certain areas. Despite these connectivity issues, we found that 82% of survey respondents didn’t have a solution for fixing their internet and cellular connectivity issues at home.
The good news is that a cell phone signal booster can help solve the problem of poor cellular connectivity. With a stronger cell signal, you can better support remote learning in your home.
Cellular Connectivity for Remote Learning
A cell phone signal booster works to boost the quality and reliability of cell signals in your home. While distance learning, our boosters ensure a better, more connected experience for students. Our home boosters support multiple users, devices, and mobile networks simultaneously. Whether you need to boost a single room or improve cell signal strength throughout your home, we have a solution for you.
Connectivity issues shouldn’t stand in the way of a student’s ability to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Give your home a much-needed boost and shop our collection of cell signal boosters today.