The 10 Biggest Disadvantages of Online Education 2023

In our last article, we discussed the multiple advantages of E-Learning. It’s now time to look at the other side of the coin. There are some significant disadvantages to E-Learning, which are frequently overlooked in online conversations.

After all, who wants to put a stop to educational advancement? In this article, we have discussed the 10 biggest disadvantages of online education.

“The most potent weapon you can use to change the world is education.”

Looking at the sector as a whole reveals a lot of enthusiasm, with E-Learning market data for 2020 indicating huge growth. Educators around the world, however, are nonetheless aware of certain major concerns afflicting the sector. Let’s take a closer look at each of these issues.

The Following Are The 10 Biggest Disadvantages of Online Education:

1. The amount of student input available online is restricted.

Teachers can provide quick face-to-face feedback to pupils in traditional classrooms. Students who are having difficulties with the curriculum can get help immediately and directly during the lecture or during designated office hours.

Customized feedback enhances learning, motivates students, and simplifies processes.

On the other hand, student feedback is still a problem in e-learning. When students do not receive personalized feedback after completing frequent tests, they grow unhappy.

10 Biggest Disadvantages of Online Education

Traditional techniques of offering student feedback don’t always work in an E-Learning setting, thus online education providers are compelled to explore new ways to provide feedback.

Providing student feedback in an online setting is still a relatively unstudied topic, therefore any specific approach may take some time to become fully research-based and proven to be beneficial.

Solution: Researchers have shown that peer feedback systems in online learning can be successful, which could be a viable solution to the problem of limited student feedback in e-learning.

Additionally, video conferences with professors, which work similarly to the professor’s office hours during on-campus training, can sometimes solve this E-Learning disadvantage.

2. E-learning has the potential to cause social isolation.

The existing E-Learning systems in use in education tend to cause reflection, isolation, and a lack of connection among students.

As a result, many students and teachers who inevitably spend a significant amount of time online may begin to show signs of social isolation as a result of the lack of human interaction in their lives.

Social isolation

The combination of social isolation and a lack of communication can lead to a variety of mental health difficulties, including increased stress, anxiety, and negative thinking.

Solution: Here are some ideas for overcoming loneliness and social isolation in online learning:

  • Increasing the amount of contact between online students.
  • Blended learning environments are being used.
  • Students are being watched for indicators of social isolation.

3. E-learning necessitates a high level of self-motivation and time management.

An inability to self-motivate is a major factor in students’ inability to successfully complete online courses. Students in conventional classrooms are constantly pushed in the direction of their learning goals by a number of factors.

In order to stay on track during their studies, students must communicate with professors face-to-face, participate in peer-to-peer activities, as well as keep strict time management. However, there are fewer extrinsic variables that encourage students to perform well in an online learning environment. In many circumstances, students are left to their own devices during their learning activities, with no one constantly encouraging them to achieve their objectives.

Self Motivation

Students enrolled in E-Learning courses will often be forced to master tough content in the comfort of their own homes, without the added pressure that comes with traditional colleges.

So, self-motivated and time-management-challenged students may struggle with online learning..

Solution: In order to excel in an online learning environment, you must develop strong self-motivation and disciplinary abilities.

Furthermore, online communication with professors can replace face-to-face communication, and peer-to-peer activities should be fostered among online students in the same way they are in traditional classrooms.

4. In online students, there is a deficiency in communication skills development.

E-learning strategies have been shown to be highly effective in boosting students’ academic understanding. Developing students’ communication skills, on the other hand, is an area that is sometimes overlooked during online sessions.

Students may find themselves unable to work effectively in a team setting due to the lack of face-to-face communication between classmates, students, and teachers in an online context.

A large number of graduates with excellent theoretical knowledge but inability to communicate that knowledge will surely result from neglecting their communication skills.

Solution: Even in an online learning environment, peer-to-peer group activities and online lectures that involve communication must be used.

We can ensure that E-Learning does not fail to teach students the communication skills they need to succeed in real-world situations by doing so.

5. Preventing cheating during online tests is difficult

E-Learning is not without its drawbacks, however, including cheating through various methods. Since they take exams on their own computers and surroundings, online students can cheat more easily than on-campus students.

Without a video connection, students cannot be directly monitored during assessments, making cheat detection more difficult than it is for standard testing processes.

A bogus test score may also result from students taking online assessments without an appropriate identity verification mechanism.


Anti-cheating procedures must be implemented by any online education institution in order to maintain the integrity of online education.

In E-Learning, the most popular anti-cheating tools now are online proctoring services like Examity, that detect fraudulent test-takers using automatic ID verification and machine learning.

6. Online educators are more likely to focus on theory than practice.

Although some of the most innovative online learning platforms are beginning to address and solve this E-Learning flaw, the issue has yet to be totally resolved.

The issue is that many E-Learning training providers opt to focus primarily (and in some cases totally) on theoretical knowledge development rather than actual skills development.

The rationale for this is obvious: theoretical lectures are easier to incorporate into an online learning environment than practical courses.

Practical projects in online courses require more advanced planning than theoretical training due to the lack of face-to-face communication and classrooms.

Solution: Using hands-on student projects in conjunction with 1:1 coaching is one of the most successful strategies to help online students build practical skills. On platforms like Udacity and Springboard, there are several examples of successful practice-based online courses.

7. Face-to-face communication is missing from e-learning.

Many of the above-cited problems of online learning are linked to the loss of face-to-face interactions. A lack of face-to-face communication with the instructor restricts student feedback, leads to social isolation, and may lead to a lack of pressure among students.

A lack of pressure is a negative since it makes it easier for pupils to drop out of school. Although many students dislike constant prodding from teachers, it is an efficient approach for increasing student retention.

face to face

Face-to-face communication must be replaced by another means of communication in E-Learning. Video chats, chatrooms, and discussion boards, for example, could help mitigate the detrimental consequences of a lack of face-to-face communication while online learning.

8. E-learning is restricted to a few subjects.

Not all educational subjects are created equal, and not all study fields are appropriate for e-learning.

At least for the time being. Social science and humanities are better suited to e-learning than scientific subjects like medical science and engineering, which require a certain amount of hands-on experience.

For medical students, no number of online lectures can replace an autopsy, and for a young engineer, no amount of real-world industrial training can replace real-world industrial training.

While this may change in the future, we are not yet at a place where all vocations can be taught entirely through e-learning.


Blended learning could be a good alternative to entirely online learning in some disciplines, such as medical education.

In the instance of nursing students, research revealed that blended learning courses produced equivalent posttest results as traditional course formats while considerably raising student satisfaction ratings.

9. The computer illiterate population has no access to online learning.

Around 73 percent of Americans own a desktop computer, while 96 percent own a mobile smartphone. As a result, it would be easy to argue that most people can benefit from online education.

These figures, however, do not provide a complete picture. Despite the rapid advancement of technological capabilities, computer literacy is still far from ideal.

The average number of people who are computer illiterate in the OECD is roughly 25%, which means that a quarter of the population will have significant difficulty using E-Learning as a form of education. And we’re talking about OECD countries, which are considered developed countries with a high-income economies.

The situation is frequently worse in other regions of the world. Despite the fact that India is a key player in the world of E-Learning, there is still a significant gap in computer literacy among the populace.

Online education will not be able to reach all citizens until such gaps in society exist. As a result, it’s critical that we see online learning as a supplement to traditional education rather than a replacement.

Finding a solution to the difficult problem of increasing computer literacy is no easy undertaking. Initiatives like Digital India, on the other hand, show promise in terms of increasing computer literacy among the public.

10. In online education, there is a lack of accreditation and quality assurance.

All online schools must be qualified and accredited if E-Learning is to be deemed as successful and authentic as traditional learning.

Unfortunately, there are still a large number of unaccredited online learning platforms out there, and none of the materials are quality reviewed by anyone other than the teachers themselves.


As a result, low quality assurance and a scarcity of licenced online learning providers continue to harm the reputation of online education.

Solution: There are various factors for E-Learning quality assurance, and they must be followed in order to ensure E-Learning authenticity. There are other accreditation management systems like Creatrix that offer a centralized solution for the accreditation process.

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Harshit Baluja

Harshit is a seasoned writer specializing in online courses and eLearning. With 7 years of experience, he has the ability to craft engaging content that seamlessly integrates technology with learning. His expertise lies in simplifying complex topics, ensuring a seamless learning experience for learners of all levels. Connect with Harshit on Linkedin to get in touch with latest eLearning trends.

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