Online Learning: Advantages & disadvantages of online classes

Written by: Nena Aichholzer, 24.08.2023

Online learning, e-learning, or digital learning. Over the past few years, the structure of school, university and even work has changed dramatically, and today everybody is familiar with the new, transformed concept of education. Finding students who have never taken an online class will be quite the challenge, as most students are probably accustomed to rolling out of bed and participating in a Zoom meeting with their pajamas still on. As with most teaching methods, online learning has its pros and cons. But what are they? Well, you are about to find out!

Overview: Advantages and disadvantages of online classes


Location – independency



Resource – efficent



Lack of Equipment

No practical experience

Advantages of Online Learning

Working from home and attending online classes has gained a lot of recognition due to its many advantages. But what are these? We will give you a deeper insight into some of the key factors that make online education so popular!


The first advantage we are going to talk about is convenience. Being able to access your classes from everywhere at any time is probably the most significant advantage of e-learning. Geographical barriers are eliminated by the virtual classroom, allowing students to enroll in courses from various institutions all over the world! This enables learners to get the best education possible. Specialized knowledge, which was previously inaccessible, is now just a click away!


This might be the most substantial advantage of online learning for most people, especially for those with responsibilities outside of studying. Creating your own schedule makes it easier to balance education and other commitments, such as work, family, or your hobbies! Additionally, a better work-life-study balance leads to overall satisfaction and a greater likelihood of enjoying studying!


Some people are fast learners, some might need to read something three times to fully understand the topic. Online classes enable everyone to work at their own speed, which is highly efficient! Moreover, numerous tools can be easily integrated into online classes. Educators can incorporate videos, PDFs and even podcasts to become more efficient educators.


Studying from everywhere eliminates the need to move or commute to a physical location, which results in savings on rent and transportation! Students could even choose to stay with their parents for a longer period. If you want to experience city life and independence even though you are taking online classes, a student home might be the perfect option for you. It’s affordable and the perfect place to get to know other students who might become lifelong friends! Transportation costs and student meals are among the expenses reduced when taking online classes!

Improved student attendance & interaction

Student attendance is significantly higher in online classes than in traditional classroom teaching. This might be because of the easy access and flexibility mentioned earlier. Another advantage that is worth mentioning is the possibility to transform lectures into interactive experiences. Teachers can incorporate polls, quizzes and other interactive feedback in their lessons to keep students engaged and curious! Gamification helps students to be motivated.

Learning opportunities

Depending on your circumstances you have limited learning opportunities. Maybe you want to learn Swahili but in your immediate environment you cannot find a Swahili teacher. Maybe you want to take dance classes, but your city does not offer any at a time you’re available, or maybe the subject you desperately want to study is not being taught in your country. With online learning none of this matters, because the digital world is full of opportunities!

Personalization to different learning styles

Different learning methods are suitable for different people. While Stephan learns best in a lecture, especially because he can ask questions immediately as they arise, Marina prefers to read through the topic on her own first and collaborate with others later so that she can make sure she understood the topic. It is the same with distance learning.

While some students – mostly shy, very active or especially creative childrenflourish, others have a harder time. Distance learning requires a lot of initiative and as a young person you often have to get used to this new responsibility. The big advantage of online education is being able to tackle every subject in your own way. Maybe you like having the option of watching a YouTube Tutorial or being able to research terms you do not know yet.

Disadvantages of Online Learning

Many students have great difficulty adjusting to the new learning environment. Lack of facilities and loneliness are two of the biggest disadvantages of distance learning. In the following, we will talk a bit more about the disadvantages of online learning.

Risk of feeling isolated

Online classes are typically solitary; therefore, one of the biggest disadvantages of online learning is the absence of interaction with other pupils and instructors. To counteract this, it is especially important to implement collaborative work such as group work or feedback in the virtual environment. Being in company of other people is important for your mental health as well and should therefore not be ignored.

Requirement of self-discipline

Since online education is still a new thing, most people are not accustomed to the freedom and responsibilities of it yet. For a lot of people, it can be hard to stay focused. They might be easily distracted by their surroundings or push their work back to the last second which often results in stress. As mentioned before, some students flourish in the digital classroom, others have a harder time. Distance learning requires a lot of initiative and as a young person you might need some time to get used to this new responsibility.

Technical issues

Not everyone has the same access to resources. Especially children of low-income families are at risk of falling back in class, because they don’t have the right tools or help with technical issues like others.

More learning from screens

Especially parents are concerned that the additional screen time will have negative effects on their children. Some of their concerns are very legitimate since students often develop bad posture and other physical problems due to sitting in front of a screen all day. Sitting in front of a screen for too long can also have negative effects on your concentration.

Therefore, it is especially important for teachers to keep their online classes very engaging and add enough breaks. Participating in some kind of sport would also be a great option to work against bad posture and help with getting in touch with other people as well. A win-win situation!


Home office, distance learning or online classes have many advantages but there are also some disadvantages that mainly depend on the individual’s way of working and learning, the available resources, and the initiative of the teachers. While the advantages in online teaching are in the flexibility and the wide range of online resources, teachers and educational institutions must actively work towards overcoming disadvantages, such as the unequal accessibility to necessary resources and the lack of social exchange.

However, we can see that the advantages of online classes definitely outweigh the disadvantages of learning from home!


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