10 disadvantages of distance learning for students.

Online learning has been a thing the world has accustomed itself to. This act is a result of many factors. These factors might include; lack of time due to busy schedules people find themselves. Over the past few years, E-learning has proven to be a powerful tool for education. This is true as we can look at the prevalence of COVID-19. The virus epidemic led to the rapid use of online classes, and till now, education online has improved.

Online learning presents you with the opportunity to take courses according to your pace. This is part of the advantages of remote learning. This means you can learn at any time and place you want. You will create your schedule and remember any time you want. Despite the many benefits that online classes presents, it also has some side effects.

According to a study, it was found that many people who register for a course online never attended the classes. An investigation revealed that about 52% of students never see the courseware. The percentage of people who drop out from online classes is also very high. This might be due to some disadvantages of online learning.

 If you are looking forward to knowing why people fail to complete online courses, then take your time to go through this article. This article reviews the disadvantages of online classes. This will help you to understand why people fail to meet their online classes.

Table of Contents
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Disadvantages of Online Learning

E-learning has been an enormous step forward in the education sector. Below are some of the significant disadvantages of online classes experienced. In case you are planning to learn a course online:

  • Lack of quality assurance and accreditation in online lectures.
  • E-learning is inaccessible to the computer illiterate population.
  • Online class is only limited to some disciplines.
  • Feedbacks from students online are very limited.
  • Online classes lack face-to-face communication.
  • There is a lack of communication skills development by fellow students online.
  • E-learning can cause social isolation.
  • Online teachers tend to focus on theory rather than practice.
  • The cheating prevention strategy for online learning during an assessment is not clear.
  • Online classes would need strong self-motivation and time management skills.

Lack of quality assurance and accreditation in online education

If online classes is considered authentic and very effective as regular traditional education. Conscious efforts must be made to ensure that standards are followed. That the schools participating in online education should be qualified and accredited.

 Moreover, many E-learning platforms are unaccredited. On these unaccredited sites, the materials provided to students are not appropriately checked. The instructor only contains the materials. As a result of this, there is poor quality assurance. Thus, the less accreditation of the online learning platforms continues to be a hindrance. Because it affect the quality and credibility of E-learning.


The quality of online classes must be assured. This can be done by adhering to the steps that need to be followed to ensure online education quality. Also, some accreditation management systems such as Creatix fit this. These management systems help to provide a centralized solution for the accreditation process.

E-learning is inaccessible to the computer illiterate population

The statistics show that many people own mobile devices and personal computers. But these numbers do not represent what is going on. Online learning is not easily accessible to most people. Also, over the years, there has been tremendous growth in technology. But this fact does not correlate with the rate of computer literacy.

This makes technology capabilities limited and still far from being termed perfect. A study shows that the average percentage of computer illiterate people is close to 25%. This means that about a quarter of the population is affected. They will experience significant trouble accessing online classes as an education platform.

The statistics from the research were gotten based on some consideration. It reflects results of considering developed countries with a high-income economy. When you research this in other parts of the less developed world, the situation is worse. For instance, in India is one of the major countries that welcomed E-learning.

 But there is still a significant gap in computer literacy among the population. For e-learning to thrive, everywhere, the gap between computer literacy and illiteracy must be reduced. More so, online classes should not be seen as a replacement for traditional education. But rather one that would help complements it.


To find a solution to this, the complex issues of improving computer literacy are no easy task but must be improved. More so, programs should be put in place to educate people on operating computers.

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Online learning is only limited to some disciplines.

Another drawback to online classes is that it does not address all disciplines. This is because not all education fields can be studied online. This is very true as online learning focuses on humanities and social sciences. Instead of scientific courses such as engineering and medical science. Online classes do not consist of scientific courses. Because most of these courses need hands-on practice experiences. For instance, there is no online class to substitute an autopsy for a medical student.

 Also, nothing would be able to replace real-life industrial training. Especially for a budding engineer in engineering. Even though there might be the possibility of learning these courses in the future online, we are not at that point yet. Mainly to teach professional courses like medical sciences and engineering through online classes.


Blended learning could serve as a good alternative when it comes to teaching medical education online. This has been previously tested in the past. Nursing students were placed on this type of blended learning in the past. They were able to achieve a good result compared to the typical traditional way of learning. This method was also able to raise the satisfaction of the students.

Feedbacks from students online are very limited

With the traditional learning method, students are presented with certain opportunities. For instance, with the opportunity to bring their problems to the teacher. They can do this during lectures or dedicated office hours. Students must have direct access to the teacher as this positively impacts students.

This improves students learning process and makes it richer, easier and more significant. It also helps to raise the level of motivation level of students. As opposed to the standard traditional classes, online learning struggles with student feedback. Students become dissatisfied with the experience they get from online learning and don’t give feedback.

The traditional method of education makes it easy for students to give feedback. This is not the case with an online classes environment. As a result of this, e-learning providers are being forced to look for an alternative method of providing feedback. But, this could take a long time as student feedback is a topic that has not been well talked about. Hence, developing specific strategies to solve this issue might take time.


Researchers have been making deliberate efforts to improve this. Especially to ensure students can give their feedback online. Their efforts yielded a result positive result. Because they demonstrated peer feedback systems in online classes.

This could be an excellent solution to this problem of limited student feedback in online classes. Likewise, this issue of student feedback is also solved via video chats with lectures. This is like the professor’s office hours during on-campus training.

Online learning lacks face-to-face communication

Lack of face-to-face communication is the fundamental disadvantage of online classes. When compared to other disadvantages that have been previously mentioned. When students lack a face-to-face connection with the instructor, this would also affect the way students give feedback. This would also cause a lack of pressure on the instructor and social isolation.

When students feel less pressure, they tend to feel unserious and, with time, abandon their studies more efficiently. In cases where the instructors are constantly nudging the students, it would help in improving the student’s retention.


Another way of communication must be substituted with face-to-face communication on online learning. For instance, discussion boards, video chats, and chat rooms. All these can be used to deal with the drawback of face-to-face communication during online learning.

There is a lack of communication skills development by students online

E-learning has been an effective way of enhancing students’ academic knowledge. Nevertheless, developing the students’ communication skills is an aspect that is often neglected. Most especially when talking about e-learning.

At some point, students might feel unable to work effectively within a team setting. This is high because students do not have face-to-face communication with teachers or their peers. When these disadvantages of online learning are neglected its dangerous. It will produce students who would be successful with theoretical knowledge but fail to pass what they have learned to others.


Peer-to-peer group activities should also be employed in E-learning. Even though it is familiar to the physical classroom. When this is done, instructors will teach students that communication skills are necessary. Especially in a working environment.

Online learning can cause social isolation

E-learning tends to practice an education where student participation is limited. Students are made to undergo remoteness contemplation, and they lack interaction. Due to this, more students feel isolated socially. Due to the lack of human communication in their lives.

This could also be a severe issue as it may cause mental health issues. Which includes; anxiety, heightened stress and negative thoughts.


To curb this issue of social isolation, online learning should; · Use the blended method of learning environments. · Promote increased communication among online students. · Monitor the students for signs of social isolation to see if students meet.

Online instructors tend to focus on theory rather than practice

E-learning experts are currently working on this. Since it’s a significant disadvantages of online learning. Although efforts are being made to fix these problems, the problem is yet to disappear. E-learning tends to focus more on theory while neglecting practicals.

The reason for doing this is not far-fetched. This is because theoretical education is easier to implement. especially in an online learning environment than practical teachings. It isn’t easy to teach practical knowledge without certain things. Things which include applicable instruments, workshops, physical classrooms, and face-to-face communication.


Implementing one-on-one mentorship and hands-on project classes is good. It could help solve this drawback effectively for online students. Examples of some online course platforms that are practically based are; springboard and Udacity.

The cheating prevention strategy for online learning during an assessment is complicated

Cheating on E-learning environment with learning material is a serious issue. It remains one of the prevailing disadvantages of online higher education. Students are allowed to use their personal computers in their environments presents a chance for cheating.

Online students cannot be easily observed during the assessment. But, video feed makes cheating during reviews more complicated. As opposed to the standard traditional classes. Also, without a proper identity verification system, a third party might help students take exams. This is known as a fraudulent act known as impersonation.


To prevent this fraudulent act, anti-cheating measures must be designed. To help protect the authenticity of online education. An example of an anti-cheating tool used in online learning is Examity. This tool is used to automate identity verification. Also machine learning to detect fraudulent test-takers.

Online learning would need strong self-motivation and time management skills

Lack of self-motivation remains one of the main reasons students opt out of online courses. Compared to the traditional method, several factors affect motivation. Which would push students to achieve their learning goals?

 E-learning has minor external factors that can push students to improve their performance. In this case, the students are left to fend for themselves when they learn. Because of this keeping up with the deadlines during e-learning can be challenging for students. Especially does who do not have time management and self-motivation skills.


E-learning platforms need to build disciplinary solid and self-motivation skills in the students. This is an important key to succeed in online learning. Also, face-to-face interaction between students and instructors should be promoted. Most especially between online students, like traditional classrooms.


Even though, importance of online learning can’t be overemphasized; improvements have to be made. Especially to suit the standard way of learning. One cannot shy away from the fact that you can learn at your own pace via online learning platforms. It also helps, especially if your job schedule would not allow you to partake in traditional education.

For e-learning to thrive, everywhere, the gap between computer literacy and illiteracy must be reduced. More so, online learning should not be seen as a replacement for traditional education. But rather one that would help complements it. It often takes place in a formal institution or having a teacher as a source.

About The Author

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav

Daren Nadav is the Co Founder of CourseForMe, which is a leading platform to find the best courses available online and delivers inspiring content related to eLearning. Daren holds a B.A in Economics and business management.

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