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Difficulties of Online Learning Faced by Students and Teachers

Online learning was introduced back in the late 1980s, even before the inception of the internet. Even though the internet did not exist back then, students learned from interlinked computer terminals to form a network. The University of Toronto was the first to come up with the idea of online learning.

Nevertheless, the inception of the internet gave online learning proper shape as it was extremely easy to access. However, online learning was never fully encouraged for pupils until recently.

With the initiation of the deadly epidemic in 2019, the whole world came to a standstill, and all schools, colleges, and universities were shut down to contain the virus. Online learning was very much encouraged as students could not go to their traditional schools and continue learning.

Even if the procedure of online learning is as easy as it gets delivered right at our fingertips, there are certain drawbacks to it. This article will discuss the advantages of online learning and the difficulties both students and teachers face.

Difficulties and Challenges of Online Learning

After the lockdown initiation back in 2020, all educational institutions closed their physical doors to students. Nevertheless, the whole education system has moved on to the digital world, where learning is easy but at times challenging.

The digital divide is exponentially ubiquitous, and no matter what, there will always be a learning gap among students.

In this section, we will discuss how teachers and students face difficulties as all of them have significantly shifted to online learning.

female student learning online from laptop at home

1. Distractions

Until the beginning of the pandemic, all things were normal, just like every other day, and pupils were going to school regularly. The whole system experiencing a transition and moving to online mode has become onerous. Students and teachers are staying home to attend online classes. Something or other keeps coming up, and there are plenty of chaotic situations, thereby causing distractions. For example, distractions caused to students by pets and siblings are common.

2. Socio-Economic Imbalance

Not everyone comes from a well-off background, so there is a constant imbalance between students and teachers. Not everyone can afford the technical devices required in an online learning environment. This issue is not easy to solve as it will require lots of capital from various organizations to cater to online learning needs for those who can’t afford it.

3. Passiveness

In the otherwise traditional classes, students would respond to the questions asked by teachers. In other words, there was no communication gap. But in online learning, when a teacher asks questions, students usually see that they do not turn on their microphone in the probability of delivering incorrect answers. In this way, passivity is created among students during online courses.

4. Zero Discipline

While in school, students would be under a strict disciplinary rule where they abided by whatever their teachers asked them to do. But in online courses, there is no strict discipline followed by the students as there is no one to monitor them.

5. Isolation

Students are mainly accustomed to learning with their friends and acquaintances by their side. But during online courses, students are isolated and have to sit by themselves and the device through which they are pursuing their online courses. For this reason, online learning will not replace the classroom.

6. Technical Difficulties

Besides the digital divide and technical challenges, technical difficulties also come up. People living anywhere on the Earth might face internet and device disruptions, which might cause interruptions in between a lesson. Sometimes the device might freeze or stop working, and the one using that device faces great loss and difficulty during the ongoing course.

7. Lack Of Communication

Getting well acquainted with the various tools required for communication takes a lot of time. So students and teachers might be technically challenged and thus face difficulties in communicating. Which they otherwise would have done upfront in traditional classrooms.

8. Unfamiliar Tools

As online lectures involve various tools for learning and communication, almost everyone is new to this system. Being familiar with these education-tech tools requires lots of time, and things become difficult, and both the teachers and students get confused with the entire procedure.

Benefits of Online Learning

Despite the difficulties, standing in the present day and looking at the current scenario, we can see how online learning is effective. It is the best alternative during the pandemic. That’s why we have also discussed some of the benefits of online learning. 

1. Work and Time Flexibility

If you pursue online courses, it will allow you great flexibility in your schedule. You are not required to maintain a fixed schedule as you can juggle your career, work, and education at the same time.

You would not even have to complete your homework within a scheduled time as in traditional classes. You can finish off your homework at any time that suits best with your otherwise busy schedule.

So with online learning, you can avail this flexibility in everything that you do.

2. Easy Access

There might be times when you require to get back to what you have learned previously. With online learning, you can go back to any previously studied materials as they are stored in the documents folder and are easily accessible. You can type and search for it, and bingo. They are right in front of you.

3. Better Communication

Unlike traditional learning, you do not require to stand in a queue or wait until the class gets over to have a word with your professor. You can easily punch in a message, or an email, send it to your professor and follow up with the thread. You can also communicate through calls and face timing.

4. Broader Perspective

Since online learning is used by people all over the globe, you will have a greater perspective about everything that impedes your way and have an easy understanding of various cultures.


These pestering issues are becoming difficult each day for pursuing online courses. Despite being an easy learning procedure, those acquainted with traditional learning face difficulties.

Nevertheless, the present situation is such that there is no other way to turn but online learning. Hopefully, someday everything will go back to normal, and teachers and students can get back to the traditional way of learning.