Challenges of Online Learning and How to Overcome Them

Updated on April 9, 2024 by Editorial Team

Challenges of Online Learning and How to Overcome Them

The adoption of online learning is a game-changer in the education sector. It allows individuals to access education anytime, anywhere in the globe. The trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as schools looked for solutions to facilitate learning. Presently, online education programs are the new normal in education. It has a few perks, such as accessibility, convenience, and flexibility. Despite the many advantages, it also presents a few challenges, significantly affecting students’ academic outcomes. Let’s take an in-depth look at the setbacks faced in online learning and how they can be solved or prevented to ensure students maximize the chances and perks provided by e-learning.


Unlike traditional learning, where students are guided by strict classroom rules such as phone usage, e-learning has no such rules. E-learning utilizes the internet and technology such as a laptop or a phone. It exposes the learner to distractions installed in the gadgets. For instance, they can be in class while operating other internet and social media sites. Such distractions are one of the biggest challenges in learning. They delay the learning curve by reducing concentration. Reduced concentration means the student would not grasp the concepts taught. Such a student will struggle to write assignments because they would not know how to approach the assignment question. It’s one of the reasons a student might choose to use an essay writing service.

Avoiding distractions needs self-disciplined. You need to train your mind and body that class time means business. You can do this by setting timers. For instance, you can set 2-hour alerts where you focus on your academics within those two hours and restrict access to other sites. Also, get rid of unnecessary devices from your study area. For instance, you can choose only to use your laptop and keep your tablet and phone away.

Students who study from home can easily get distracted by family and household responsibilities. To avoid this, create a schedule on when to perform household chores and set aside time for learning. You can make a room or space for reading that is quiet and secluded to avoid distractions associated with home environment.

Reduced Interactions and Isolation

Online learning is characterized by reduced face time and one-on-one interaction with other students. The lack of physical interactions leads to a disconnection among students, diluting the sense of community and support experienced with physical learning. Besides, it often leads to some students feeling isolated. To curb the feeling of isolation and maintain a sense of community, tutors should create opportunities for students to interact, for example, through virtual sessions such as online meetings, online discussion groups, and virtual groups. On the other hand, students should make an effort to interact with other people; don’t sit in your room the entire day. Get out and catch up with friends.

Lack of Motivation

With e-learning, you are not subjected to accountability checks from your peers. In physical learning, you are always on your toes since you don’t want to be the last one in class, or you want to answer questions and be on par with classmates. There is a form of healthy competition and accountability. It’s not the case with e-learning, especially in self-paced learning. Nobody pushes or motivates you; hence, you must take the initiative to set your goals and follow through. 

Most online students suffer from avolition, which is a condition that prevents them from initiating and following through goal-oriented objectives. To remain motivated, you need to set SMART goals. At the beginning of every week and day, set objectives you need to achieve to keep you on your toes. You can also create time to engage with students online, such as class discussion boards and accountability groups. It will help to motivate one another.

Communication Breakdown

Effective communication is key to learning. Through communication, students can ask for clarifications and seek feedback from tutors on concepts they don’t understand. In physical learning, most communication is timely, and feedback is instant, boosting student’s understanding. Conversely, in e-learning, mostly there is a break in communication between students and tutors. To communicate, students have to send an email or a text and wait for feedback from the tutor. The waiting time depends on the schools’ systems and the tutors’ availability. This delay in feedback denies students the advantages that come with immediate feedback. 

For example, some courses have interrelated concepts that demand understanding basic concepts to solve more advanced ones later in the course. In such a case, immediate feedback is relevant since failure to understand means the student would have difficulty progressing with other topics. The result is poor performance, or a student might decide to pay for essay to safeguard their grades. 

Schools can ensure timely feedback to curb communication gaps. They can utilize systems such as chatbots where students use AI to enable virtual assistance. In case the problem doesn’t get solved, institutions should ensure that online tutors are present to attend to student queries.

Technical Issues

Technical disruptions are unavoidable when dealing with tech gadgets and systems. Once in a while, there will be technical glitches, for example, system disruptions and internet connectivity issues. Technical glitches disrupt learning and can be frustrating, especially when submitting assignments and exams. Institutions should perform regular checks to ensure their e-learning systems are operating well. Also, they should put a call line where students can call if they need technical assistance.

Lack of Effective Time Management

Most students prefer e-learning due to its flexibility, which allows them to study at any time while carrying out their day-to-day activities. Interestingly, this advantage can become a challenge. The freedom to choose when to learn may lead to laziness and procrastination. In such circumstances, students lag in curriculum coverage, completely forget their studies, or don’t prioritize academic work. To ensure effective time management, you should plan properly by making a schedule that sets aside study time. Otherwise, leaving everything open creates chances for “something popped up” type of activities.

Signing Off

Online learning is the new norm in education. However, it is associated with various challenges that may affect students’ performance. Such challenges include distractions, communication breakdown, isolation, and technical issues. However, these challenges can be solved with goal setting, time scheduling, improving systems to facilitate quick feedback, ensuring the availability of technical assistance, and creating time for interactions with learners.

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    Editorial Team

    The Editorial Team at specializes in delivering cutting-edge information on technology.

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