Summary - Why do students struggle with online classes? There is more than just a single reason for their many challenges... This expert blog lists ten significant reasons for students' anxiety with online courses: technical issues, divergence, lack of focus, etc. During the pre-pandemic time, students used to study in person in groups. But online learning has made students feel more isolated. Let’s learn more about all this in detail today.

Why do students struggle with online classes? Why are they not happy taking their studies online? Let us find the answer to the above questions. The concept of online learning emerged in the early 1980s; online learning surged during the COVID 19 lockdown.

The COVID 19 lockdown was when universities and colleges had to shut down. As a substitute, most higher education institutions had no other option rather than taking education to the digital platform. But most of the students reported problems with remote learning. 

According to an article on online learning published in ACT, struggles with online learning prevail among almost 2/3rd of the students studying in the college first year. Most of the students across education levels have reported several challenges of online classes.

Still, the importance of online learning cannot be denied outright.

Top 10 Reasons Why Students Struggle with Online Classes

Students’ concerns about the distance learning model are rapidly increasing  as they can no longer physically see their teachers and classmates. Here are the 10 vital challenges online that establish solid reasons behind students’ struggles with online classes.

1. Problem of Isolation

Problem of Isolation in Online classes

Students find themselves isolated as they sit for an online class although there may be interactions through multimedia or digital media such as Zoom, Google Meet, or similar platforms. But the reality will not change.

Students or class attendees are aware that they have a clear physical distance from teachers and faculty. Also, the number of students in an online class may be more than in a physical class.

Thus, teachers rarely get  to interact with most students directly; thus, students need to engage to learn better. It is a big reason for students’ struggles.

2. Pressure of Flexibility

Pressure of Flexibility during online classes

Not all students can be expected to make sound judgments concerning online education. Online classes provide greater flexibility to students.

However, it becomes an issue as students get wider choices and often end up choosing the wrong ones. The time and space dimensions are also considered among the students’ challenges in an online environment. Thus, struggles with online classes among students prevail. 

3. Process of Learning Becomes Different

Process of Learning Becomes Different

Students learning online get a different perspective of the study than those of physical classroom-based study.

The apt term to define this situation is the screen inferiority effect. Rather, it is unclear how much information the student can actually derive from online classes.

But research says that you need to incur a cost for an online study with regard to the effectiveness of the time spent online.

4. Chances of Divergence are High

Human beings get diverted easily; it’s hardwired. Unlike the physical classroom, where the students get full attention of the teachers or the professors, online classes are totally different. 

In an online classroom setup, students are not exposed to the subject teachers. Thus, online students often get diverted by several types of distractions; it can be online games or even social media.

Thus, getting a qualified person to do my online class can be viable. 

5. Students Get Stress

Students Get Stress

Some students report having stress and trauma while attending online classes. Also, many medical practitioners have reported that such situations can abruptly interrupt students’ cognitive processing. If you are planning to crack your exam one night before the exam, read our step-by-step instructions on how to cram for a test.

Reduction in the students’ executive functional skills and lack of emotional regulation are vital factors in increasing stress. 

What are the DO’s and DON’Ts in online classes?

6. Accessibility of Study Materials

During physical classroom-based study, each student has a textbook in front of them. But  online classes are a little more complicated; it may take time for the students to get the accessibility to the study material at the initial stage. 

Rather, students find it easier to pick up a physical book on a particular subject and then listen to what the subject teacher is saying.

7. More Structure and Support

Most of the students have reported that the infrastructure they have with online education is not enough. Rather, most students prefer relying on a flesh-and-bone teacher and in-person college college/institutional support. 

Doing so helps students stay on the right track while studying several subjects. However, in distance learning, students must be more responsible and independent. 

8. Difficulty in Building Relationships


Difficulty in Building Relationships

In an online class, students cannot get chances to communicate directly with one another. But during physical meet-ups in a university or college, students easily get to meet, speak, and build friendly relationships between themselves and their classmates, teachers, and even staff members. Such activities are acutely missing in an online class.

You can learn more about which is more effective: online learning vs. offline learning.

9. Technical Issues

Most of the students face technical issues while pursuing online studies. There can be a faulty  Internet connection anytime and issues with computers or even the application using which online teaching gets done. 

Thus, students often prefer the physical environment.

10. Time Management

Time Management in online classes

Time management is one of the major issues of online students. In a digital study platform, you will be allotted time slots of your classes one after another, often rapidly. Thus, managing time becomes really hard. 

Our tips for successful online learning for students might help you anytime.  


Why do students struggle with online classes? Our careful planning can address most of the aforesaid challenges students face with remote learning, a topic we will address in our subsequent blogs. 

Online learning seeks to give students more control over their learning preferences with regard to when and where. Doing so seamlessly complements in-person learning. 

Inarguably, online learning is a boon to anytime learning only if students, for example, are willing to take more responsibility in handling their online coursework without using shortcuts.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How are students facing problems in online classes?

 Some of the reasons why students face issues with online classes are:

  • Too many distractions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of digital literacy
  • No physical interactions

2. What are the biggest challenges faced in online study?

Following are the areas where students face the biggest challenges:

  • Living environment
  • Internet accessibility
  • Finances
  • Mental health issues

3. What distracts students from online learning?

One of the distractions that online students face is physical distractions from their family members as they are operating from home. Another major distraction is social media messages which students get on their smartphones.

4. How do online classes affect students’ health?

Medical science, with regard to online education, has reported several health issues of online students:

  • Problems with eyesight
  • Mental health problems
  • Sleep disorders

5. How can students cope better with online classes?

Some methods can help students cope better with online classes. 

  • Use of physical whiteboard
  • Teachers must ask students to share their screens; it will make students feel wanted

6. How do you keep students’ attention online?

Following are the effective ways to keep the attention of online students on track:

  • Online instructors must try to maintain eye contact with their students
  • Allow breaks in the middle of an online session 
  • Motivate students with rewards

7. Why is face-to-face learning more effective?

Face-to-face learning keeps students more attentive while teachers teach. Also, it includes several ways of in-person teaching, engaging in reading, discussion, presentation, etc.

Caryn C. Brown