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E- learning is Not FLAT, it is multidimensional even if the learning is delivered on a flat screen.

My experience as a parent & designer during the school closures has sparked many many new ideas for how e-learning can be re-designed.

Photo of Michelle Novak

Written by

I am a.....

  • Parent/Caregiver

Tell us about your idea

Since e-learning began at my (third grade, public school, Chicago area) son’s school, every day brings a new series of checklists and a new glitch. Links broken. Embedded assignments missing. Videos don't appear. A dozen logins to remember. Systems and products that were never designed to work together are not working together!

The two things that stand out are:

1. The amount of time we, parent and student, are spending with broken links, passwords, and the gauntlet of just entering an assignment into the teacher.

Problem: For a Math Lesson with my 3rd grade son, here is a rough task analysis:

Starts in Schoology on his iPad> Math Course > Daily Folder > Check Assignment>Safari Browser> Zearn> Login to Zearn> Complete Lessons>Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket (pdf Eureka Math)>Mom sends it to her computer> print pdf> Completes exit ticket with pencil>Photograph >Back to Schoology Math>Daily Folder>Find Exit Ticket> Submission Folder> Add submission> post his picture of his Exit Ticket> Done!

Possible solution: We need an emergency consortium in educational technology to work out better integration and standards for compatibility. Fewer passwords, smoother transitions, handshakes that don’t frustrate those already distressed. 

2. The loss of live interaction between the students as well as students and teacher. 

Idea: Focus on the social and emotional aspects of e-learning. My son is bored with the sameness, and even with a fairly small class, he is craving more interaction. See


Engagement without so much technical interference would certainly go a long way for this parent/student duo.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

I'd like to leave the idea that if the tech or software is there then it will work, no questions asked. Better planning and testing needs to happen before it is released and then with each roll out. Better tech support for teachers so they can teach our students is needed!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am a passionate and concerned parent and human centered designer hoping for a chance to add to the greater conversation that is happening around shaping e-learning in the coming weeks and months.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Suburban Cook County, bordering Chicago.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Peter Worth

Hi Michelle, the deadline for the Ideas submissions is May 26, and next week, we will have a group of students reviewing ideas. If there is anything else you want to add (examples, additional depth, reflections, etc.), feel free to use the edit link to make any updates to your post. Thanks!

Photo of Michelle Novak

Hi @Peter Worth, I made a few edits based on the suggestions and our dialog. Thank you for your encouragement throughout this process. I am grateful to be part of this community! Looking forward to seeing the next steps!

Photo of Peter Worth

Thanks, Michelle!

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