Virtual Learning: Challenges and Coping Mechanisms of Language Learners in Rural Areas
The sudden shift from face-to-face instruction to online-based learning was prompted by the urgent necessity to continue the delivery of instruction amidst the COVID outbreak. Since all the country’s institutions have opted to close schools and universities, students in both urban cities and rural towns have had to adjust to the new standard. Hence, this research study employed a descriptive-qualitative research design and conducted in-depth interviews to determine the challenges and coping mechanisms of language learners studying online in rural areas. Moreover, responses were transcribed and analyzed through thematic analysis. The participants of the study were seven language learners, two males and five females who study online in rural areas. It was discovered from the interviews that among the challenges encountered are problems with internet connectivity, lack of comprehensive discussion of lessons, less interaction among peers/classmates, rare opportunity to enhance speaking skills, and absence of feedback mechanism. It was also found that students’ coping mechanisms include relocating to places known to have a greater internet access, disregarding public distractions, studying independently, reserving battery, and asking support from peers.