Remote Learning: Help or Hindrance?
Matthew Lomon is a fourth-year student at Ryerson (X) University, completing his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Professional Communication. Upon graduation in the spring of 2022, Matthew plans to pursue a career in media relations. Currently, Matthew is the associate manager at Pro League Sports, an independently owned sports apparel shop located in the Beaches neighbourhood of Toronto.
This research project has studied the relationship between post-secondary students in Ontario and the remote learning environment to uncover the variables, themes, and conditions that may have influenced their individual experiences. An emphasis was placed on students graduating in the spring of 2022 because they are set to enter a workforce that is now drastically different than the one they had been preparing for in the pre-COVID-19 era. With this in mind, I hypothesized the switch to remote learning stands to have the greatest impact on soon-to-be-graduating students. To test this hypothesis, the following questions were used to guide the direction of this project:
- In what ways has the remote learning landscape impacted the confidence levels of post-secondary students entering the workforce, if at all?
- Is there any evidence to suggest employers are concerned about the impending wave of an online-educated workforce?
- Are there certain groups of people that have been hindered most by online learning? How will those hindered navigate a professional world leaning into remote operations now more than ever?
Once external research was gathered from relevant academic studies, I relied on a digital survey and Zoom interviews with eligible participants to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. Thus far, my primary research has found that 75.8 percent of post-secondary students graduating this spring do not feel the remote learning environment has sufficiently prepared them for a career in their desired field. However, this statistic does not reflect the views of the entire population sample, as many students have shared several affordances of the remote learning environment, including: increased schedule flexibility, financial benefits, and independence.
As someone who has completed the last four semesters of their degree from the comfort of their bedroom, I felt compelled to explore a phenomenon that has defined the post-secondary experience for so many.