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Nowadays, more and more countries are implementing virtual learning among students. Not only because of the global pandemic's effect, but it is an ideal learning trend with the help of today's innovative technology. The tools, materials and applications are very much available today. Virtual learning, although it provides various benefits, can also pose a risk of a sedentary lifestyle.
Simply defined, virtual learning is a learning experience set in an environment with electronic tools and content for studying. It aims to give self-paced or online conferencing as learning methods.
EducationData.org shared some interesting statistics about e-learning or virtual learning. One of the published articles' data is that 21% of students prefer to take online degree programs in 2018. They said it was their way to obtain a degree in the field of their interest.
On the other hand, Tech Jury stated in one of its published articles that the e-learning market is expected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025.
The same article mentioned:
"Statistics on the e-learning market size in 2020 indicate that mobile learning remains one of the fastest-growing markets in the sector. It has maintained an average steady growth rate of over 23% over the past years."
For some people, virtual learning is more effective than traditional learning because it provides a lot of benefits.
Stated below are several known benefits of virtual learning:
#1 Self-paced learning
Online courses are self-paced, and because of that, students can finish a unit and then continue learning the next – without rushing due to a given deadline. This is why virtual learning is ideal for students who do not have all the time to study. There are those students who also have jobs and other activities to work on. Students can choose the time they are most convenient.
Virtual learning offers students the opportunity to learn with the time and place they prefer. Most students are also engaged with other activities and responsibilities, and virtual learning is proven to be an effective avenue to find balance among them.
#3 A more focused one-on-one attention
Unlike the traditional learning environment, virtual learning provides a more focused one-on-one attention. This can promote better learning results.
Virtual learning can be beneficial; however, know that this can also be prone to living a sedentary lifestyle. Most students are used to sitting while studying. They also often slouch on their computer monitors. They can also lean forward, causing back pain and stiff neck. Not only that, when there are too many assignments and tasks to be completed, they tend to spend long hours on their computers. Imagine them sitting for a continuous six hours or more. That can certainly cause adverse effects on the physical and mental state of students.
A 2016 study revealed that a sedentary lifestyle is linked to poorer reading skills in young students. In addition, the study included the following in their published report:
"The study showed that high levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, low levels of sedentary time, and particularly their combination in Grade 1 were related to better reading skills in Grades 1-3 in boys. High levels of physical activity and low levels of sedentary time were also associated with better arithmetic skills in Grade 1 only in boys. In girls, there were no strong and consistent associations of physical activity and sedentary time with reading or arithmetic skills."
Learning online doesn't need to be dangerous to health. Students can enjoy it and acquire amazing results from learning virtually.
Staying active and promoting movements, such as taking breaks and doing exercises, are some of the best ways to prevent the risk of a sedentary lifestyle when learning online. Other tips that can be considered are the following:
#1 Apply proper ergonomics
Your learning environment should be ergonomically set up. Make sure to position your computer monitors at an eye-level, so you will not have to slouch or lean too close to it. Use a computer desk with the proper height. The place where you will conduct your virtual learning should also apply the tips on workplace ergonomics.
#2 Use standing desks
Standing desks are helpful equipment for students to avoid the negative impact of a sedentary lifestyle. A standing desk will allow students to alternate between sitting and standing easily. In that way, prolonged sitting will be prevented. It will promote movements and keep their minds focused on the lessons.
#3 Use ergonomic chairs
An ergonomic chair will help students to study without suffering from backache and neck pain. If you want to have a great learning experience, choose an ergonomic chair with features such as lumbar support, armrest, headrest, and adjustable height.
#4 Use anti-fatigue mats
When using standing desks, make sure also to use an anti-fatigue mat. This will help ensure that you will prevent fatigue while standing.
#5 Use desk converters
Desk converters can be easily attached to your existing table or desk. It will help you achieve the proper desk height for you, as well as your laptop and computer monitors.
#6 Use an ergonomic mouse and keyboard tray
Using an ergonomic vertical mouse and keyboard tray will also help you study more comfortably. They can also help prevent wrist pains and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is essential to choose the best ergonomic accessories that help you browse, type, and do other works online.
Virtual learning is a more convenient and effective way to accumulate new knowledge and skills. However, this can only be effective when done with the proper tools and efficient techniques. Make sure to study without putting yourself at risk of a sedentary lifestyle. Use ergonomic equipment and tools for a more comfortable learning experience. Of course, do not forget to take breaks while studying. It will help you not to be stuck on your desk and become stagnant. Learn some basic desk exercises to stay active and healthy.