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Research Article 


Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K.

Abstract
“Virtual learning” or “online learning” has become a widely used phrase in the education domain due to the commotion of the COVID-19 pandemic. From a conventional pedagogical slant, many educational institutions in India decided overnight to shift towards virtual learning. When urban India could quickly adapt to this mode, it is still skeptical whether rural India stands justified in its attempt to swing towards virtual learning considering the digital divide. This paper discusses the “academic phobia” of rural students manifested due to the “digital divide,” which results in ultimate “psychological distress” while focusing on the students of higher educational institutions in rural districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu the three Southern states of India
Design/methodology/approach - A study was directed to test how virtual learning impacts the psychological distress directly and also through mediating variables, academic phobia, and digital divide among the students of higher education institutions in rural India. Data was collected through a judgment sampling method from 522 students of higher educational institutions in rural districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu the three Southern states of India.
Findings: In this research, a substantial positive correlation was established between variables such as virtual learning ↔ academic phobia (r = 0.712), academic phobia ↔ psychological distress (r = 0.684), virtual learning ↔ digital divide (r = 0.751), digital divide ↔ psychological distress (r=0.652), and virtual learning ↔ psychological distress (r=0.599) with reference to the students of higher education institutions in rural districts of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu of India. This research validates that the students of higher educational institutions have a high degree of psychological distress and academic phobia mainly due to the virtual learning glitches in the rural area like deprived access to the e-learning tools and dearth of seamless internet connectivity along with inclusive anxiety regarding the spread of the virus COVID-19. On testing the hypothesis, the result shows that the dependent variable, namely psychological distress, is substantially predicted by virtual learning directly and through specific indirect mediating variables academic phobia and digital divide at a 95 % level of confidence.
Originality/value – This study explores the relationship of virtual learning and psychological distress through mediating variables academic phobia and digital divide among the students of the higher education institutions in rural India, which has not been scrutinized theoretically and tested empirically in context with COVID-19 pandemic.

Key words: virtual learning, academic phobia, digital divide, psychological distress, COVID-19.


 
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How to Cite this Article
Pubmed Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. EEO. 2021; 20(5): 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156


Web Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. http://ilkogretim-online.org//?mno=57827 [Access: April 09, 2021]. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156


AMA (American Medical Association) Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. EEO. 2021; 20(5): 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



Vancouver/ICMJE Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. EEO. (2021), [cited April 09, 2021]; 20(5): 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



Harvard Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K (2021) Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. EEO, 20 (5), 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



Turabian Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. 2021. Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. Elementary Education Online, 20 (5), 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



Chicago Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. "Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19." Elementary Education Online 20 (2021), 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



MLA (The Modern Language Association) Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K. "Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19." Elementary Education Online 20.5 (2021), 1405-1417. Print. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156



APA (American Psychological Association) Style

MEENA RAMASWAMY, Dr. RAJEESH VISWANATHAN, Dr. SARATHLAL N, Dr. BYJU.K (2021) Digital divide and academic phobia engender psychological distress among the virtual learners of rural India's higher educational institutions during COVID-19. Elementary Education Online, 20 (5), 1405-1417. doi:10.17051/ilkonline.2021.05.156








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