Study offers insight into impact of remote learning on student motivation

More than 40% of parents of elementary school students and 38% of parents of secondary school students felt that their child found remote learning “difficult” or “very difficult”, according to new data from the Survey of Infections in Schools (SIS).

“Motivational difficulties” are cited as the main obstacle to learning at home by 39% of parents of elementary school students, 44% of parents of secondary school students and 55% of secondary school students themselves.

The main concern of teachers regarding distance learning was the lack of student engagement (69% in elementary and 74% in secondary).

Secondary students absent from school for a reason related to COVID-19 during the fall term reportedly spent more time in remote learning, 3.4 hours on average, than elementary students, who did so. spent 2.5 hours on average.

Worryingly, even in this sample of student volunteers, engagement and motivation are significantly reduced when remote learning is required. More than a third of students had to return to remote learning at some point in fall 2021, necessitating quick and flexible responses and greater school resources.

This work would not be possible without the active participation of parents, students and school leaders. It provides timely and important information for policy makers to help support resilience and hopefully recovery in schools for children and adolescents. We also hope this helps inform those developing best practices for remote learning in the future to ensure students get the same benefits and experience as with face-to-face learning. »

Professor Punam Mangtani, Study Co-Chief Investigator, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

These results were collected from the second round of “Head, parent and student” questionnaires, with 2,482 students and parents on the health of 7,010 children responding between January 18 and February 9, 2022, and 125 school leaders providing responses between January 26 and February 11. 2022.

The SIS project is run jointly by the LSHTM, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The proportion of pupils saying they always wore face coverings during lessons was 50%, up from 80% before the government’s recommendation for secondary school pupils to wear face coverings during lessons was scrapped on January 20, 2022.

61% of principals and 70% of secondary school students said wearing face coverings at school should definitely or probably be made mandatory, compared to 97% of primary school principals who said wearing face coverings at school should definitely or probably be made compulsory. Wearing a face covering should certainly or probably not be made mandatory.

Professor Mangtani said: “Parents and older pupils were clearly aware of the protection and benefits of wearing a mask when there was a new wave of high infection rates with a new variant, with a high percentage of high school students and parents reporting that face masks help keep others and themselves safe This is extremely promising and suggests that when needed, the reintroduction of mask wearing could be understood and sustainable For primary school children there is a finer balance between benefits and risks, and other interventions should be adequately resourced such as good ventilation, smaller class sizes to reduce mixing in schools and possibly regular preventive tests.

Fiona Dawe, Deputy Director of Extended Surveillance Studies at the ONS, said: “Today’s data, collected through extensive questionnaires completed by pupils, parents and school leaders, shows that a high percentage of students found remote learning difficult, according to their parents.

“We can also see how student behavior has changed, with almost half of students continuing to always wear face coverings during lessons, even after the government recommendation was removed.

“Learning more about the kinds of challenges faced by schools over the past two years would not be possible without the students, parents and school leaders who participated in this study – thank you.”

Dr Shamez Ladhani, consultant pediatrician at the UK Health Security Agency and lead researcher of the study, said: “These results show the impact of the pandemic on children, young people and their parents, as well as difficulties of distance learning.

“Keeping students in school, where they feel more engaged and where more support is available, remains vital to their health, well-being and future prosperity.

“Schools are not only important for the education of children, but also for their health and well-being and for helping to administer routine childhood vaccinations such as influenza, HPV, ACWY meningococcal and the 3-in-1 tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster Many children and young people may have missed their vaccinations due to the pandemic Parents are encouraged to contact their GP to have their child vaccinated when there is a has the right to protect themselves and those around them.

The data from the parent and pupil questionnaires are weighted against the population totals for pupils in England. Data from the school principal’s questionnaire are not weighted due to small sample sizes.


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)