Social Isolation in Online Learning
As more things move online, the more isolated people seem to become. Or at least that’s the common narrative. That, however, isn’t always the case. It doesn’t need to be. The digital space, like any other, can be whatever you need it to be. It can be a place to learn, grow and connect with the added benefit of unlimited reach. That’s the space UCT Online High School has created.
Common Myths Around Online Learning
Just because online learning can be done in isolation doesn’t mean it’s isolating. Some of the common myths around online education are that it can be lonely, without any interaction, increase stress or anxiety in learners or cause them fatigue. These things can be true, but as with most problems, there are solutions.
When we were imagining what the school of the future would look like, we realised that learning all on your own in your home, especially when you were accustomed to being surrounded by other high school learners, could be a lonely journey. To combat that, we started the school with Support Coaches, who would be accountability partners for our learners and Virtual Clubs to make friends. We also encourage our learners and guardians to have in-person meet-ups. The Structured Flexibility that UCT Online High School provides allows learners to create a social life they might not be able to otherwise enjoy. Visiting a friend's birthday during the week? You can attend that. A quick catch-up at 10 am? Put it in the schedule. You can craft the life that best suits you. Loneliness isn’t being alone, it’s feeling alone. You are never alone at UCT’s Online High School, there is always someone you can reach out to.
2. Increased stress and anxiety
Another myth about online learning is that it comes with increased stress and anxiety. For some people, the stress of being responsible for your own academic success is too much, but for others (and many of our learners) the social anxiety that comes with being in a traditional high school makes online learning from home a dream come true. There are pros and cons to every situation. For the learners whose stress and anxiety are a con, we have trained Student Well-being Counsellors who will jump in and happily help our learners to better navigate.
3. Virtual learning fatigue
Virtual or actual, fatigue will get you if you don’t do the necessary things to stave it off. It’s not exclusive to the online learning community. However, virtual learners can work around this. Having more control of your time means you have more control over when you can rest. You can rest in the afternoons if you’re a night owl. You can start your school days earlier and end them earlier if you prefer to have more of your afternoon to yourself. You can go to swimming class when that lunchtime slump tries to get you! You can live life more by your design.
4. Lack of interaction
And when you live according to your rules you can interact as much as you want. Online or in-person. You can reach out to your Support Coaches. That creates interaction. Our Ask Me Anything sessions create interaction. So do our Check-Ins. There are plenty of opportunities for interactions in the online space. Possibly more opportunities than in person.
How UCT Online High School Combats Online Learning Isolation
Let’s dive into the specifics of how UCT Online High School keeps learners from feeling isolated:
We have a guardian group that allows our learners’ caretakers to come together and create their own communities. Here, guardians can form relationships and plan for their children to safely meet up and build friendships of their own. UCT Online High School also has periodic events where learners can connect.
Our Virtual Clubs are ongoing spaces of connection and community-building for our learners.
They provide learners with opportunities to:
- Develop new skills
- Express their creativity
- Build confidence
- Develop their leadership capabilities
- Get exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking
- Make new friends/socialise across grades
Because Virtual Clubs take place outside of the academic program, they offer high school learners unique ways to interact with fellow high school learners who are not necessarily in their homerooms or classes.
We offer over 20 Virtual Clubs to learners in four categories:
These Virtual Clubs offer learners the opportunity to enhance their well-being on a weekly basis through activities such as yoga and meditation.
Learners are able to explore their creative talents through Virtual Clubs offering baking, drawing, photography, drama and creative writing.
- Skills development
Learners are able to enhance their skills through an array of Virtual Clubs ranging from cooking to coding to website design.
- Special interest
Learners can explore shared interests such as book clubs, film clubs and gaming clubs.
We also offer high school learners weekly opportunities to take a break from their sitting at their desks and get moving in the form of yoga, dance and home workouts.
Ongoing learner support
Our Virtual Clubs have set schedules but learners can reach out to our Support Coaches at any moment and to each other. When our Support Coaches deem it necessary, high school learners will be referred to our Student Well-being Counsellors who will provide specialised help and support. Support is a very big part of UCT Online High School because we built this baby on purpose with the intention to unleash Africa’s, and the world’s, potential!
UCT Online High School Making Online Learning Fun
We have created a fun and future-fit school with dynamic learning content from the best Learning Facilitators and Subject Specialists this country has to offer at UCT Online High School!
Apply now if you’d like to join us
If you’d like to find out more, please contact our team of friendly Admissions Consultants. Call us on +27 21 140 1792, or email email@example.com. You can also book a call or download our info pack and see all our incredible offerings.