Pros and Cons of Distance Learning

Distance learning gives great advantages and opportunities for students who can use it properly and make the most of the situation, but distance learning also negatively affects some students. What is the difference? In this article, I would like to analyze the situation and discuss how your child can build a significant advantage through distance learning while avoiding negative consequences.  

1. Confusion

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed us into distance learning suddenly without giving everyone time to prepare for the shift. The sudden shift, unpreparedness, and changing policies and schedules have raised many concerns and some confusion.

Through tutoring sessions and camps, I heard and read many concerns of parents regarding distance learning and found many students did not learn subjects that they should have learned in the 2019-2020 school year; however, I also found that there was some confusion on this problem.

Some parents blamed for the schools or the teachers for lack of communication, poor online classes, and too much homework. Such a situation is understandable considering the sudden change to distance learning; however, we have also known that some teachers were not covering every subject that they should have been, even before the shelter in place. This problem has existed for years and was aggravated by distance learning after March 2020.

Unfortunately, this has been a relatively common problem. For instance, a certain student did not learn geometry and statistics at all during the past two years in school. So even though he will start 6th grade this August, he did not know basic geometry terminology – such as shape names or radius – the basics of angles, or how to calculate the area of rectangles. He also did not know statistics terminology such as mean, mode, and median.  He has attended a public elementary school in one of the top school districts in Silicon Valley and has received an excellent math score. Yes – he received an excellent math score based on what he learned in school. So his parents were not aware of the situation at all until RISU assessed him, based on the concerns that his parents had because of distance learning.

This is the reality. Even if your child has received an excellent math score for years, they may have missed out on a significant amount of subject matter – even if your child attended an excellent elementary school in a great school district in Silicon Valley. Is your child ok?

2. Ensure that your child learned all subjects

As you know, math is a fully vertically integrated subject, not like other subjects such as language art, social study, and science subjects, as I discussed in another article. If your child missed one area such as geometry, it is guaranteed that your child will keep missing the area continuously, and they are going to have a huge handicap when they take SAT or equivalent examinations. So, you as a parent need to ensure that your child learned and mastered all of the subjects they should learn in the school year whether they are engaged in distance learning or not.

If you are not familiar with the subjects that your child learned in the previous school year, you can check If you need more details or sample questions, Khan Academy,, and IXL, are great resources.

If you are familiar with what your child should have learned in the previous school year, you will be able to figure out if your child mastered each of these subjects in about one hour.

3. Advantage of Distance Learning

If you think that your child can learn only from teachers, you may think that distance learning being the only option during this COVID-19 pandemic is a nightmare. However, RISU believes that distance learning is an excellent choice for the majority of students if they change their viewpoint and are well equipped.

RISU has provided its Math and Critical Thinking services for more than five years in the US and Japan and proved that students could learn by themselves at a much faster pace than the school curriculum. 75% of RISU students are, on average, more than one year ahead of the  standard grade-level curriculum. They learn by themselves more efficiently and cover all subjects; more than 20,000 students and more than one billion data points prove this. For these students, distance learning reduces time wasted in class and increases free time to study, so that many RISU students have accelerated their study speed in the distance learning environment.

Distance learning provides excellent opportunities for students who might have missed some areas in previous school years to catch up, too. For a long time, summer was the only season that allowed students to catch up and pull ahead in math. Now, distance learning provides more flexibility and opportunities to catch up and advance by learning more efficiently and effectively.

There are many free resources such as Khan Academy or some YouTube videos. Also, there are many subscription services such as IXL. So, if your child would like to learn math, many tools are available.

4. Reality and the solution

RISU understands that the majority of students are not so enthusiastic about math and need some encouragement or a gentle push. That is the main reason why many students give up Khan Academy and other subscription services relatively quickly. The only rare exceptions are children whose parents have time, a good relationship, and great patience to support their child.

In general, teaching our own child is extremely challenging, stressful, and sometimes makes us emotional. It often results in disaster, even for a small amount of homework. Unfortunately, the Parent-Child relationship almost never fits well in the Teacher-Student relationship. You probably agree with that.

Then what are the solutions?

Before the pandemic, after schools and math centers such as Kumon took care of this role. But under the current pandemic, what are the safe solutions?

Finding a professional tutor and having online sessions a few times a week would be the best solution, though it is costly. The cost-effective alternative is a self-learning solution with weekly small-group sessions online with the instructor.

You should base your decision on the following points:

1) Your child should be able to learn at their own pace and make mistakes safely.

2) Select a solution that ensures that your child learns all subjects.

3) The solution you choose needs to be able to systematically identify and promptly support the content areas where your child is struggling. Waiting for one week is too long and will not accelerate your child’s learning.

4) The solution should have human interaction that encourages your child and answers any questions they may have.

5) Please encourage your child to study for 20 to 30 minutes per day and make it a part of normal life. This can reduce the stress your child associates with studying.

Some solutions, such as RISU,, help you by taking over the human interactive part.

 5. Take away

1) Distance learning is a great chance for your child to catch up and even advance.

2) Ensure that your child has learned and mastered what they should have learned.

3) Select an excellent solution like RISU to support your child.