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Navigating Virtual Learning with Academic Coaching

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a significant shift in how we educate. Schools introduced instant messaging with teachers, zoom office hours, self-paced learning exercises, and many other tech-heavy innovations. Students, teachers, and parents adapted because it was necessary, but now, what do we do? Although distance learning has decreased in the last few years, specifically at the middle and elementary school levels, it’s not entirely gone. College professors particularly enjoy distance learning, virtual office hours, and self-paced asynchronous instruction. Likewise, many high schools continue to hold asynchronous learning days and encourage hybrid learning or flipped classrooms. At SAOTG, we have watched this educational revolution play out firsthand.

While this growth in virtual learning tools has many benefits, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Students, especially those with learning differences, may struggle to adapt to this new educational paradigm. From difficulties with self-motivation, time management, and organization to increased reliance on technology and limited face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers, students need help to perform academically and maintain their overall well-being. This blog post explores the role of academic coaching in addressing these challenges and providing support to help high school students thrive in virtual learning environments.

One of the most significant challenges with virtual learning is self-motivation. With the structure and accountability of traditional classrooms, it’s easier for students to stay motivated and engaged in their classes. Moreover, it is easier for teachers to spot learning gaps and intervene. Students face similar challenges with time management and organization. With no set schedule, students must learn to manage their time effectively and prioritize their tasks to stay up to date on assignments. Mainly, when students matriculate to college, structure dissipates. In college, it’s usually not the academic rigor that gets students; it’s the free time. When students sign up for virtual or hybrid classes, this threat of free-time overload amplifies. Finally, virtual learning limits face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers, leading to feelings of isolation and impacting students’ emotional well-being.

Academic coaching can effectively address the challenges of virtual learning for high school and college students because it counteracts many challenges with this rapid technological shift. Academic coaches provide tailored support to help students develop effective study habits, time management skills, and organization strategies in the virtual learning environment. For instance, an academic coach may help a college student plan both the academic and non-academic components of their week, helping them estimate time and establish routines. This is particularly important for students with virtual or hybrid classes because the emphasis is on the student learning outside of the classroom, independent of the instructor. Academic coaches can help ease students through this transition.

They also help students build self-motivation and self-accountability skills and address any specific academic challenges they may face in virtual classrooms. Academic coaches work with students to create a personalized study plan and provide regular check-ins to ensure students stay on track with their virtual classes. Research has shown that academic coaching can improve students’ academic performance and engagement in virtual learning environments. A study by the University of Central Florida found that students who received academic coaching reported higher satisfaction with their virtual learning experience and were more likely to complete their courses successfully than those who did not. Another study by the University of Kansas found that academic coaching improved students’ time management skills and reduced their stress levels related to virtual learning. Academic coaches can help by establishing a daily routine, teaching students to manage time effectively, building intrinsic motivation, and providing a mentor in times of stress. Seeking academic coaching support can provide personalized guidance and accountability to help students overcome challenges and achieve academic excellence.

Virtual learning presents unique challenges for high school students, but academic coaching can provide valuable support to help students thrive. Academic coaching can improve students’ academic performance and engagement in virtual learning environments. By providing tailored guidance on study habits, time management, and organization, academic coaches can help students build self-motivation and self-accountability skills and overcome specific educational challenges. Students and parents can support virtual learning success by following practical tips and strategies.

Executive function underpins many of these developmental areas. As the new semester gets tougher, remind your child that organization, time management, study skills, and impression management form the foundation for every stellar school year. Beyond the core four EF skills listed above, there is one more way you can help your student succeed: academic coaching. Our flagship academic coaching program provides students with a one-on-one EF mentor who can provide accountability and guidance throughout the academic year. To learn more about this service, please view our free resources or reach out to us today.

Evan Weinberger


Staying Ahead of the Game offers unique academic coaching & tutoring services to help good students achieve greatness.

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