Education Trends in 2023: Remote Learning! How Will it Impact Remedial Learners?

What does the education landscape look like in post-pandemic world? There have been several developments in education in previous years. This article will have a brief look at just a few of them.

There can be no doubt that Covid-19 changed the way people do a great many things. More people work remotely than ever before. Schooling is also shifting this way, for better or worse. For remedial learners there is a question as to whether this will benefit them.

Some predictions for international schooling

There is a shift to move from assessment (standardised tests of retaining content) to deeper engagement (assisting scholars to find meaning in tasks and intellectually investing in them). Given the global economic outlook, there is likely to be a greater focus on vocational training – education that prepares learners for daily tasks in specific careers. As we will see below, this has been a long time coming in South Africa. Internationally, there will be an expectation of modernising and updating such programs.

There is also likely to be growth in artificial intelligence in education. Even though there is still much room for improvement in this relatively new field, already for certain students, AI is their preferred method of instruction. AI could have a massive impact on e-learning and remote learning in the future.

This article will discuss these types of learning. We will consider the major trend in education: the rise of remote learning options.

On the Homefront: Some developments in education in South Africa

In September last year, the education department announced it would be introducing new subjects. As many as 38 are planned to be introduced by 2025. These are to be twelve vocational subjects and twenty-four occupational subjects. Examples of the vocational subjects include hospitality and consumer studies, as well as hairdressing & beauty and agricultural studies. Occupational studies will include subjects such as upholstery, beauty & nail technology, needlework, motor mechanics and food production.

The mother-tongue challenge is still ongoing. Plans to address this need are continuing.

The department introduced a General Education Certificate (GEC) last year. It gives official recognition for students who leave school at the end of Grade 9. In 2022 it was piloted at 268 schools. 2023 aims to see it expanded to all districts.

The continued growth of remote and home learning

The growth of remote and home learning approaches should come as no surprise. Both home schooling and remote learning have continued to garner more interest in the last twelve months. There is every indication that this trend will continue into 2023. Last year saw over 100 million people preferring to learn online.

Since the Covid-19 lockdowns, more families than ever were forced to consider alternatives to schooling. The more prevalent option of sending children to school was simply no longer available. The entire saga exposed many cracks in the education systems the world over.

Sadly, some schools floundered; others made the necessary adjustments with excellent results. Japari was able to continue to support our students during those stressful months.

Since then, the lockdowns have been lifted in South Africa and many other countries throughout the world. But some parents have found continuing remote or distance learning might be an option better suited for them. The experience during the lockdown meant exploring a course of schooling that many would never have considered. With advances in technology and the growing affordability of technology and data, this has become a viable option.

Post-pandemic, other factors have also contributed to the choice of continuing remote schooling. The rising costs of living in South Africa, from petrol to food prices, have meant that some families would struggle even more if their children were again at school full-time.

Remote learning and the remedial learner

Remote learning might offer mainstream students many benefits. However, there are real concerns where remedial learners are considered.

The first thing to consider is that most remote learning options add to the responsibilities of parents to closely oversee their children’s education. Not all parents are equipped to teach their children in all the subjects they need to cover, in part or in whole. Even for the parent of a child without barriers to learning, the task can be intimidating.

For those whose children do have learning challenges, it is even worse. For example, consider the additional struggles that a child with dyscalculia faces. It becomes clear that remedial children will need more support at home than children without learning challenges. It takes special training to nurture students with remedial needs. And most parents will not have pursued a career as a qualified remedial teacher.

Many online courses and platforms are also specifically geared at the mainstream student. What this means is that the necessary requirements extended to remedial learners are usually overlooked. Examples of these are the possible extra time granted for assessments or the repetition needed in remedial teaching. These are simply not considered or factored into most e-learning programs.

A study reported higher anxiety from learners with specific learning challenges when moving online. Girls in this group had even higher levels of anxiety than boys.

Suggestions for assistance with home schooling include asking teachers for more support. One article even suggested hiring a “learning intervention specialist.” All this goes to show that it is more complex for remedial students to switch to home schooling or online learning. The costs can also be substantial.

An example: ADHD and remote learning

For students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), this can be particularly acute. Studies have shown that there are more challenges for students with ADHD that engage with remote learning. There were also higher costs reported from more parents who needed to invest in additional support for the learning to be effective.

Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD also expressed less confidence in being able to assist their children in a home or online schooling scenario. They also felt less sure that they could manage the remote learning environment.  

All in all, greater difficulty maintaining concentration, as well as less routine and higher negative impacts, were all observed in children with ADHD while remote learning. Children without the condition did not struggle as much as those who are living with it.  

Remote Learning

The right remedial environment for the student with barriers to learning

What decades of research and experience have shown is that remedial intervention works. Children who experience learning difficulties, such as dyslexia or ADHD, benefit immensely from in-person remedial learning.

What these students need is small class environments. They need their schoolwork to be explained clearly and at their own pace. The lessons need to focus on one thing and teachers need to remain on point.

These are not factors considered in most of the online and remote learning options available to students. For these and other reasons, a specialised, in-person remedial school will in most cases be best for the learner with specific barriers to learning.

Japari in 2023: continued excellent impact on students with barriers to learning

Japari will continue its long legacy of teaching learners with remedial needs. We stay abreast of the best education practices locally and internationally. We look forward to assisting you and your child with their needs. Many of our students can assimilate into a mainstream schooling environment in high school. Remote and e-learning could become viable options for them in the future.

We offer assessment and have a dedicated team of qualified teachers and support staff. The multidisciplinary team includes onsite psychologists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.

All the above will mean that your child will get the best chance to succeed. They can overcome their learning challenges. We will instil in them the confidence they need to achieve realising their potential.

While we offer admissions all year round, this is an excellent opportunity to begin at the beginning. Come and see our facilities and meet the faculty. Join us for term 1. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon.

Bibliography/Further reading:

International trends and predictions:

South Africa focus, including growth of alternative learning: – sadly still relevant.

Growth of Remote learning, E-Learning and homeschooling internationally:

Aspects of Remote Learning and e-Learning for Learners with Learning Challenges:

Learning difficulties and barriers, what is needed:

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