The debate rages on as to whether distance learning is a good thing or a bad thing for students. Some argue that distance learning eliminates a large part of the social aspect of school. Other people argue that by eliminating the that social aspect, a greater emphasis is put on the learning process.
In the specific example of shy students, distance learning can actually be a great benefit. Shy students tend to have a hard time participating in the physical classroom due to being surrounded by other people. They may not seek help in areas they are having trouble and may even suffer from low self-esteem.
The online, or virtual classroom, is on the computer. No one else is in the physical room with the student. This can make the student feel more relaxed and confident. Shy people tend to get nervous if they think people are looking at them, this is not a concern online.
Another way the virtual classroom presents less pressure is that the student is in the comfort of their own home. It is much easier to concentrate when a person is at ease.
Less social anxiety
Distance learning allows students and instructors to communicate, but in a much less formal setting. It can be easier for a shy person to type what they want/need to say rather than have to speak out loud. In a virtual classroom where everyone is typing, everyone seems equal. In a physical classroom, the outgoing students can end up dominating verbal discussions.
Shy people sometimes have a hard time interacting with other students and this can cause problems. Shy students are sometimes picked on or singled out simply because they are quieter than the others. This “picking” can cause major disruptions during class. Online classrooms are blind to who is shy and who is boisterous.
With the social tension out of the equation, a shy student can turn full attention to the lessons. In a broad sense, distance learning cuts out the distractions that are present in a traditional classroom. Some students have difficulty studying with other people around due to noise or just the fact that they are in the room. Distance learning puts students in their own private classroom, while still being part of the group classroom.
Shy students are free to expand their knowledge, and showcase what they know through the virtual classroom and their schoolwork. Shy students can learn at their own speed and excel online where they may have had trouble otherwise.
Shy people can have a rough time in a physical classroom setting. They may be too self-conscious to participate in group discussions, answer questions or even speak to the professor/instructor. This shyness can actually hinder a student’s learning process. A student who is afraid or just too shy to speak out in a physical classroom setting can miss out on getting the help they may need.
Distance learning can actually help bolster a shy person’s confidence simply because there is less overall pressure on the social aspect of school. Many online schools offer a virtual classroom where the instructor can be seen and/or heard by the entire class via webcam. This is useful for students to be able to see and/or hear their instructor without having the pressure of being seen themselves. Students can private message (through the school messenger) their instructor and get a little extra help during class if they need it.
Distance learning can be a huge benefit to shy students because they can focus on their studies rather than who is watching or laughing at them. The added bonus for shy students is that there is less pressure to keep up with everyone else.