3 out of 10 college students hesitant with learning in ‘new normal’

Photo by Mark Perandos

A SURVEY by the University of Mindanao-Institute of Popular Opinion (UM-IPO) showed that three out of 10 college students are "generally hesitant" to the "new normal" learning setup.

According to UM-IPO's online survey, which was conducted from September 26 to October 6, 34.4 percent of college students who responded said they are generally hesitant of using technologies in the conduct of the study.

Almost 38.3 percent responded that they are neutral or simply cannot tell whether they are at ease with technology or otherwise, while about 27.2 percent said they are fine in terms of technology use.

UM-IPO tapped 1,171 college students currently enrolled students in any higher educational institutions (HEIs) in Davao City, and all are using or required to use learning platforms in their studies.

The survey aimed to assess their readiness, attitudes, behavior, perception of usefulness, ease of use and acceptability of online learning.

UM-IPO said the survey was done online since physical contact was not allowed during the time of conduct of the study. The survey team said they relied heavily on online surveys of Facebook users who are college students and are enrolled in any higher education institution in Davao City who matched the predetermined criteria within the defined geographical radius.

Six questions were asked to cover basic questions such as readiness in using technologies in online learning, accessibility of online learning platforms used, ease of its use, perceived productivity in learning, and usefulness of learning platforms in daily learning.

When asked about accessibility of their learning management systems (LMS), nearly 45 percent responded that they can access their learning platforms regularly, if not most of the time, while 32.6 percent responded neutrally and 22.4 percent said they encountered difficulty in accessing their lessons via learning platforms.

Of the students who found ease of accessibility of learning platforms, 47.25 percent have either agreed or strongly agreed that it was easy for them to use their learning platforms. Only a few of those who can access their platforms, 4.36 percent said that they have difficulty in using LMS.

Respondents were also asked about the usefulness of learning platforms and their perception of their productivity in learning in their respective higher education institutions. These questions were asked because no physical face-to-face classes were allowed at the time of the survey in compliance with the directives of the IAFT and the City Government of Davao.

Nearly 5 in 10 college students (45.9 percent) said they cannot comment whether online classes through the use of learning platforms made their learning experience a lot easier, and only nearly 3 in 10 (28.5 percent) are convinced that learning platforms are better at this time. Also, nearly 5 in 10 (45.9 percent) students are neutral on the question of whether online learning has made them productive, while 3 in 10 students (34.11 percent) agreed that they are productive in terms of online learning.

When students were asked about the acceptability of using learning platforms in their daily learning, 4 in 10 students (42.1 percent) said they find them useful in this time of pandemic, 4 in 10 (44.5 percent) were neutral, while about 2 in 10 (16.9 percent) disagreed on the usefulness of learning platforms on their daily learning.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire region, different youth groups in the country had been pushing an academic freeze due to the existing issues and alleged lack of preparedness in the nationwide resumption of classes.

College Editors Guild of the Philippines Mindanao President Grecian Asoy said students and teachers have already expressed their concerns and doubts in its efficient implementation, saying that the country is not yet prepared to adapt to a new learning modality amid the pandemic.

Asoy said some students expressed hesitation in the "new normal" learning modalities online since not everyone is "tech-savvy" and does not have enough resources to buy gadgets for the home-based classroom setup.

She also added that the internet connection affects their participation.

"Students and teachers have seen that it is difficult to push through with the online class because of different factors. If we are going to look with these factors, it is important to go beyond our privileges and have a wider perspective of things," Asoy said.

Christopher Pio Pulido, Commission on Higher Education Supervising Education Programs specialist, in a previous virtual presser said some tertiary schools are still catching up in adapting to the online distance learning as the current "flexible learning" setup.

Pulido also said some college students are still adjusting to the digital setup since this won't be done through the traditional face-to-face classroom setup.

"We admit that not all educational institutions are 100-percent ready," Pulido said, adding that some schools in the region cannot sustain the needed requirements to resume operations amid the pandemic.


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