The sophistication of communications technology has made it easier for students to learn without leaving the comfort of their homes. It is estimated that the E-Learning market will grow by $12.81 billion between 2020 and 2024.
While E-Learning makes education more accessible, it also has several disadvantages of online classes that are often pushed aside in discussions of its viability.
Educators need to recognize the drawbacks of this avenue of learning to add to what’s possible with E-Learning. So let’s take a closer look at the issues plaguing the online learning industry.
- Disadvantages of E-Learning
- 1. Causes Social Isolation
- 2. Prone to Technical Issues
- 3. Lack of Accreditation
- 4. Timing is Always an Issue
- 5. Not Healthy for Eyes
- 6. Not Suitable for Remote Locations
- 7. Not Affordable for Financially Weak Students
- 8. Online Classes Unsuitable for a Hands-On Field
- 9. Need Extra Training for Teachers
- 10. Lack of Class Discipline
- How Can E-Learning Be Improved?
- Disadvantages of Online classes: Final Thoughts
Disadvantages of E-Learning
Here are the 10 main disadvantages of E-Learning:
1. Causes Social Isolation
E-Learning inherently promotes contemplation and a lack of interaction. When students are in a classroom, they can’t help but communicate and often find a sense of community.
However, E-Learning makes learning a companionless experience. Many students and teachers engaging in E-Learning experience signs of social isolation since there is a lack of human interaction.
Social isolation and the persistent lack of communication make students and teachers prone to mental health issues. Besides stress, negative thinking and anxiety are increasingly common complaints among those involved with E-Learning.
2. Prone to Technical Issues
Technical issues often reduce the quality of learning and cause frustration among both students and teachers. Bad audio and video quality and connection issues often disrupt online classes.
A few years ago, students were required to download and install software packages to enable E-Learning. Thankfully, online classes have become easier to attend. Students only need to click on a link and attend classes directly from their browser.
But this added convenience hasn’t fixed the disruption of online classes due to technical issues.
3. Lack of Accreditation
While E-Learning is convenient, for this avenue of learning to be considered authentic and effective, every online school must be accredited.
Countless online learning platforms aren’t qualified or accredited whatsoever. Furthermore, only the instructor checks the material, and often there is no third party involved in assuring the accuracy and quality of the material.
The lack of accreditation of E-Learning providers weakens the legitimacy of online learning.
4. Timing is Always an Issue
Instructors must work within a limited time frame to teach students and respond to their queries. However, solid student interaction isn’t always possible in time-bound online lectures.
Students often have to reach out to the instructor via email or chat to clear any queries they may have. This extends the time required for the student to learn and makes clearing queries inconvenient.
In contrast, in a classroom, asking and answering questions is faster and a lot more personal.
5. Not Healthy for Eyes
E-Learning requires students to spend a lot of time in front of screens. The increased screen time strains the eyes and can cause issues with eyesight.
Increased screen time has been one of the parents’ biggest gripes. But, unfortunately, E-Learning can also promote a bad posture and other physical issues that arise from staying hunched over a screen for extended periods.
6. Not Suitable for Remote Locations
It isn’t easy to get reliable internet connectivity in a remote location. While internet connectivity has increased over the past decade, smaller cities still have issues with internet speeds.
The lack of a consistent connection can make it difficult for students to learn and instructors to teach. Furthermore, it can cause a lack of continuity in learning for the student.
7. Not Affordable for Financially Weak Students
While computers have become easier to get a hold of, they’re expensive and can be too expensive for financially weak students to afford.
In addition to bearing the cost of a suitable device, students also need to get a solid internet connection so they can attend the classes.
8. Online Classes Unsuitable for a Hands-On Field
E-Learning can be great for teaching humanities and social science. But there are disciplines out there that require a more hands-on approach for teaching.
Medical science and engineering fields require a degree of practical experience to learn. An online session will never substitute a real-life autopsy for a medical student. Online classes also won’t provide engineering students with the industrial experience required for further learning.
While the technology or teaching methods could change in the future, there is no way to comprehensively teach students in these disciplines over the internet presently.
9. Need Extra Training for Teachers
E-Learning is designed for the masses, but that doesn’t negate the fact that engaging in E-Learning requires a certain degree of computer knowledge. Unfortunately, many instructors don’t have the skills they need to teach an online class.
Many instructors require additional training to learn all they need to know about online learning platforms before they can teach online.
10. Lack of Class Discipline
E-Learning can be self-paced, and proponents of this avenue of teaching will highlight it as the main advantage. If you learn online, you can likely go back and watch the video again. You can also take a break from learning and come back to the material later.
However, E-Learning offers students a great degree of freedom, which is often abused. There is always a chance that the students won’t pay attention and will spend time on other sites while in an online class.
E-Learning removes the obligation from the student to fully engage themselves with the material. Further, if an instructor assigns a task, there’s also a chance the student doesn’t prioritize it, leaving it incomplete for weeks or indefinitely.
Active training sessions make it easier for students to engage in learning and help internalize new skills. E-Learning makes education an impersonal experience that doesn’t have any deadlines.
Check our other related topic here: Pros and Cons of E-learning
How Can E-Learning Be Improved?
There are a few ways E-Learning can be improved:
1. Facilitating Contact
Instructors teaching online must establish an open line of communication for students to use. It is important for instructors to mention how students can contact them and during which hours.
Instructors don’t always have to video chat with students. Connecting with students over email, chat, social media, and discussion forums is also a possibility.
Doing this ensures that every student gets the support they need.
Giving students the contact information of the IT support staff goes a long way in ensuring they get help if they’re in a pinch.
2. Communicate Clear Goals
Often, in E-Learning, students are unable to reach their learning goals because the guidelines given to them aren’t clear enough. There’s also not enough support provided with regards to how students can reach their goals.
Any curriculum that works has a structure that ensures that the students learn what they need to learn by the time they’re tested for it.
For instructors to help students reach milestones and achieve goals, they must clearly communicate their goals, how they should achieve them, and by when.
Disadvantages of Online classes: Final Thoughts
While E-Learning isn’t perfect, it’s clear that it is here to stay with its increasing prevalence.
For E-Learning to become as effective as classroom learning, it is critical that educators find a way to tackle its disadvantages.
With better communication, implementation of new teaching methods, and improvement in communication technology, we may see a day when classroom learning isn’t considered necessary.