Technology Challenges Adult Learners Face in a Virtual Classroom

Updated October 6, 2023

Virtual Classroom Technology

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Not too long ago, during the 20th century, the career path we followed was pretty simple. You went to college, got one or more degrees and then you found work at a company for the next forty or fifty years.

You’d work your career, rise in the ranks and then retire with a gold watch to live out your last years in peace.

No More Gold Watches

Today that idyllic dream is al but over. This is the age of the gig economy and constant job-hopping. Adults are not just changing job, but changing careers as a whole, which means constant upskilling and new learning is required.

Thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to find online courses that can help you stay on top, but if your last experience of learning was in a traditional classroom you may find several aspects of online learning a challenge.

Let’s have a look at some of the main challenges you’ll face as an adult learner in a virtual classroom.

Computer Literacy

This is generally (but not always) a non-issue for millennial adults who are quite comfortable with computers. Older adult who still have many working-age years left, on the other hand, may have avoided gaining a decent level of computer literacy.

It’s especially internet-literacy that can be a challenge for adult learners. The many different things an online learner might be asked to do online can be beyond anyone who hasn’t embraced the social-media era of web technology.

Some of these tasks may include:

  • Doing basic web searches
  • Using cloud apps such as Google Drive
  • Participating in live streaming webinars
  • Create video or audio content

Lack of Support

No matter how good the content in a course is, at some point certain students are going to need that human touch in order to make it all the way through. While many online students are not aware of it, you can actually pay an online tutor to spend some time with you  and help work out your difficulties.

It’s especially in the case of mathematics that a lot of people throw in the towel. Luckily companies like Preply will let you find math tutors online as well as ones for various other subjects.

Learning Management Systems

Apart from general technical ability with computers, adult learners also have to adapt to learning management systems. Even with a fair amount of experience when it comes to things like Facebook or general web technology, it can take a while to become used to the way that learning management systems operate. By the time you’re on your second or third course, it’s all over, but the initial learning curve can be harsh.

Bandwidth Management

It seems like a simple issue, but a lot of adults new to online learning make the rookie mistake of not managing their bandwidth well. Depending on where in the world you live, data can be cheap or expensive. If you live in a part of the world where it costs a lot, you need to be aware of how much you’re using.

Online courses tend to be video-heavy, which means that adults who are not data-savvy may end up burning their fingers with a “free” course that ends up costing a fortune in usage fees.

Don’t Stop Me Now

Despite these challenges, this is still the easiest and most effective time for learners of any age to improve their own skillsets. With just a little perseverance it’s possible to quickly learn successful strategies for online learning success.

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