Online Learning: Revealing The Benefits And Challenges

Online Learning Benefits And Challenges
Summary: The growing popularity of the internet and digital media technologies has also created a huge demand for web-based learning.

The Benefits Of Online Learning

Even traditional universities and colleges have started following online teaching/learning practices. Those who are new to the concept of online learning might be a little confused about whether to opt for it or not. Well, here we have listed a few points describing the benefits and challenges of online learning to help you develop a better understanding of this form of education.

  • With online learning, faculty and students enjoy enhanced convenience, access, and flexibility to the courses. As these courses can be taken and delivered from anywhere, at any time, trainers and learners do not need to travel to specific locations in bad weather conditions.
  • Online education creates an engaging and interactive environment for all participants in classrooms and it is more beneficial for students that are not comfortable with raising hands. Many teachers have reported that students tend to do more meaningful discussions on important course topics at the end of online courses. Those who are not able to speak up due to shyness are also able to highlight their doubts in writing.
  • When run successfully, online courses also tend to increase student retention and satisfaction rates. They can pursue their interests from home or while doing a regular job as well. Online learning opens doors for several opportunities where students can boost their skills in multiple directions with ease.
  • There are several incentives available for teachers as well. They can use new-age technologies, such as casting, to make lectures more interactive for students. Online learning can also be supported by multimedia content, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
  • Online learning also extends reach to an extensive range of audiences. These courses are not limited to students that can reach a college or a university campus; instead, they are equally beneficial for students in another corner of the world. This is the main reason behind the increasing popularity of online learning.

Challenges Of Online Learning

  • For teachers or trainers that had been following traditional means of teaching for the past several years, it may be a little challenging and complicated to be familiar with online learning practices. On one side, where campus-oriented courses are limited to specific time duration and specific days in the week, online teaching opens doors for keeping courses open 24/7.
  • It is a little challenging for teachers to understand the learning abilities of individual students during online classes. As teachers and students hardly get to know each other, it is difficult to set up an interactive environment in classes.
  • Students that are new to online technologies may find them confusing. In this case, teachers need to make additional efforts to communicate deadlines and help students complete their assignments.
  • Although online learning doesn’t require advanced technical skills, involved people need to be comfortable with using a computer and accessing the internet. In rural areas, slow internet connections and missing materials can cause frustration.

There is no doubt that every technology and advancement comes with some pros, cons, and has challenges in implementation as well.

How Effective Is Online Learning? What The Research Does And Doesn’t Tell Us?

The coronavirus pandemic affected the normal functioning of the world at a considerable level. For almost a year, office employees were advised to work from home while following typical social distancing measures. The scenario was more critical for school students, as they were not able to get back to the normal classroom environment to continue their learning. In this situation, online learning offered a great opportunity for learning and formal and informal interactions between students and teachers.

But even after the rising trends of internet-based classes, it is important to analyze whether online learning can replace classroom education or not. Few experts have recently conducted surveys and research to judge the potential of online learning. Although there are so many students who find it good to boost their knowledge through online courses as they give more flexibility, stats reveal that many students are likely to struggle more with online settings.

What Does The Research Say About Online Learning?

Online learning can happen in a number of ways. Some of you might have heard about massive open online courses, where thousands of students from different corners of the world can connect to watch video lectures to boost their skills. They can also fill out relevant questionnaires or take exams based on lectures. Many online courses are designed with a format that is more like in-person courses. Such courses are more useful for K-12 students as they need the continuous attention of a teacher during a class. In these courses, teachers can help students to run virtual discussions, assign homework, and do a follow-up with specific students. These courses can be run in a synchronous or asynchronous mode.

When we compare in-person classes and online learning, online classes are not observed to be equally effective at all levels, as compared to in-person sessions. During a survey, students were randomly divided into in-person classes and online settings, and they were asked common questions out of a course. But the accuracy rate of solving problems was higher for in-person class attendees. It was observed that when students interacted in person with a teacher, it felt easier to discuss their doubts. Moreover, classroom scenarios motivated students to perform better than their peers.


There is one big benefit of online courses: Shy students find it easier to interact and understand because they feel it's difficult to interact in a classroom environment. But on the other side, there are some subjects that can be taught better in classroom settings as compared to online sessions. Therefore, we can also state that the success of online learning depends greatly on the nature of students and subject matter. Generally, online settings can pose a negative impact on students that have an academically weaker background. Lower-performing students need more attention from teachers, which is a little difficult in the case of online classes. But, these courses may work better for average and efficient students.