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Insights from Student Interviews

Compilation of information gathered from student interviews—idea starter or resource for current ideas.

Photo of David Enders
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Community Coach

Tell us about your idea

Throughout the duration of this challenge, I have conducted several interviews with current high school and college students, asking each of them the following questions:

- Describe your remote learning routine (scheduling, homework/tests, physical location)
- What do you miss most about in-person schooling?
- What was one of the things that you think worked well in your remote learning experience?
- What went wrong with remote learning?
- Are there any parts of the remote learning experience you would keep when school goes back to normal?
- What do you think about the pass/fail option?
- Any thoughts? What about school could be left behind?

Their responses are attached to this post in a spreadsheet. Below are some common themes/analysis for the responses I received.

Common Complaints:

- Motivation: Teachers motivate, fellow students motivate, environments motivate. At home, learning on a computer screen, it is difficult to find purpose in their studies, and stay motivated.

- Distraction: Physical class environments induce focus. Home environments provide ample distraction, AND multiple students discussed the unfortunate ease of tuning out of online lectures by turning off their camera and browsing on cell phone

- Pass/Fail: When students are forced to accept/given the option of the pass/fail grading system, motivation declines. Multiple students admit that without the motivation of boosting GPA, they often lower their standards, only doing enough to pass the class.

- Social Interaction: Is almost entirely lacking with remote learning; detrimental to mental health and overall happiness

- Help from Teachers: Teachers are either not available or restricted by technology in capability of helping students learn: nothing beats one-on-one, in-person instruction.


- Increased Flexibility: Recorded lectures can be attended at student's convenience, office hours are easier to attend, scheduling almost entirely up to student

- Healthier Eating/Living Habits: Easier to maintain exercise/diet regiments in the home environment. A structured schedule helps some students lead a healthy lifestyle.

Takeaways/Idea Starters:

- What can we add to the remote learning experience to motivate students? What drives students to learn in a school setting that is missing at home?

- How could technology be implemented more successfully to ensure students don't disengage? Could we rethink the remote learning approach to offer more interactive lessons, moving away from lecturing and video lessons?

- How do we balance equity and academic achievement? What solutions can we come up with in order to make sure that "leveling the playing field" doesn't result in an overall lesser experience, and much lesser net learning?

- How can the social aspect of schooling be more successfully instilled in remote learning?

- When school returns to normal, is there any way we can offer students a more flexible schedule/customizable routine in order to promote mental health and healthy lifestyles?

I hope this information and analysis is helpful, and please let me know if there is anything I can add!

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

I wish we could leave rigidity and a tradition-obsessed mindset in the past. There is so much room for improvement and so much that could be reimagined, and I think school systems would benefit greatly from a more open-minded approach to their systems. If schools did a sort of brainstorming session as little as once a year, including students and parents, the amount of positive change could be significant.

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

I am a community coach for this challenge and I have been inspired by the many wonderful ideas shared on this platform. I decided it might be beneficial to some to try and gather information from current students, which might help to inform/improve ideas.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Palo Alto, CA

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Paul Kim

David. Thanks for sharing your research. As you know, student voice is so important. You might check out the ideas of Anya Smith-Roman who has gathered similar info -- Empathy Insights From Student Surveys & Interviews