Distance learning: 5 tips to help my child learn and concentrate online?

48% of children say they have difficulty concentrating in an online classroom environment and 38% have difficulty understanding a subject, according to a recent Kantar study for GoStudent. These figuresare a warning about the lack of training of Dutch students to study thanks to digital technology.

In this context, Marie Cadoux, an online tutor at GoStudent, reveals 5 tips to help families to get abetter understanding of this new way of learning.

1. De-demonize the use of screens
Parents are often the hardest to convince when it comes to using a computer or tablet for learning,citing the number of hours their children spend on screens. Yet the audiovisual format of the contentoffered on digital platforms is precisely what children prefer and is powerful in capturing their interest. “I meet many pupils whose parents are sceptical about using the computer, but in most cases, at the end of the course, the pupil is enthusiastic about the method and the parents are pleasantly surprisedby their child’s involvement,” explains Marie.

2. Encouraging time for interpersonal exchange
For many students, distance learning means less social interaction. This was the main difficulty encountered by children last year during the pandemic (55%), ahead of difficulty concentrating,according to the GoStudent study. It is therefore all the more important in an online environment to favour time for interpersonal exchanges. How is the student doing? What progress have they made? Do they have any concerns? Marie Cadoux adds, “I try to recreate these times of exchange throughout the session in order to build a lasting relationship that encourages the child to connect with a smile.”

3. Engaging the student in a continuous conversation
One of Marie Cadoux’s tips for helping concentration is to engage the student in a continuous conversation. This keeps them proactive and reduces distractions or boredom. “In front of the camera, I overreact certain reactions or speeches in order to make the student react by provoking surprise or amusement.” The aim is to make each pupil a full participant in his or her learning.

4. Pace the sessions and alternate exercises
Online courses must also be adapted by the students according to their age and pace. Marie Cadoux generally structures her 50-minute sessions around 1 to 5 different activities, starting each lesson with an exercise that the student is comfortable with, both to consolidate what they have learned and to build their confidence. “The younger the students are, the more activities they will have to do to capture their interest. But in reality, beyond age, it is above all the child’s state of mind that influenceshis or her pace.”

5. Use a more playful and interactive teaching method
To increase understanding of a subject, Marie also has her advice: “Reformulate rather than repeat! Don’t hesitate to build bridges between subjects and to compare an obscure concept with something familiar to the student. Translating this concept into their own words, inviting them to transpose it into a world that is dear to them is an equally formidable method.