Clearly, the benefits that online learning brings to students are enormous and undeniable. Even, as Hinkle suggests in her article Advantages and disadvantages of E-learning, pursuing an online course is an outstanding choice in education, especially when traditional learning situations have many obstacles, such as commuting or distance. However, as every coin has two sides, e-learning also has some fundamental drawbacks that can make it a little bit inconvenient for users.
2.1. Lack of verbal interaction
One of the most disadvantages that Dogra (2011) and Hinkle (2009, n.d.) all agree is the lack of verbal interaction “between teacher and student”. Because of the fact that most online learning programs can only offer a one-way communication, this disadvantage is inevitable! As stated in “Top 10 Distance Learning Disadvantages”, the loss of human contact, let alone personal touch with instructors, provided in a traditional classroom in which “two-way or face-to-face communication always proved its important” (Pakhare 2008) is the evident truth. Similarly, Hinkle (2009) also believes that there is a significant reduction in the amount of interaction through distance learning.
To further discuss this, Kartha (2011) makes the readers aware of that e-learning does not give learners any help in improving their oral communication skills. Although some online courses enable their users to communicate through “discussion and community boards, this definitely differs from carrying a conversation to a classmate sitting next to you in person. Moreover, Dogra (2011b) assumes that an e-learning student may not be exposed to enough multidimensional views of a certain subjects or topic. She demonstrate the hindrance of online learning by saying that the chances of growth or learning of students who pursue full-time courses and are facilitated to discuss many aspects of one problems, many problems of one subject might be higher than those who do not. What’s more, in a class, a debate arising does not necessarily involve in what were taught. Instead, a wide range of issues pertaining to future plan or professional life is also focused on. This helps students develop their personality and teaches them how to deal with life “in an appropriate manner”. To gain success in life, one needs not only bookish but also experience and particularly, knowledge about “various life issues as well as situations”. She summarizes that, in some cases, the sale of professional improvement gained through online learning, therefore, might be limited.
An article entitled “Pros and cons of distance learning” refutes this viewpoint of effect of less verbal contact, showing that e-learning seems to be a good way to grow students’ writing skill owing to that they have to type their contributions to class discussions and “any other correspondence with professors and fellow classmates”. However, this opinion is flawed. In the first place, if students really need to improve this skill, it is not required to follow an online course. The second and more important reason is that, compared to the loss of communication skills, the benefit is far from equivalent.
2.2. Absence of live academic resources
Apparently, online learning means studying in isolation and without a set schedule and proper study timings and it demands strong self-motivation and self-discipline to be a good learner (Dogra 2011a). She warns that this type of learning is totally not suitable for students who need regular and instant feedbacks from instructors. Pakhare (2008) expresses his agreement with Dogra’s statement and says that the absence of face-to-face communication results in the failure of receiving immediate feedbacks for students’ assignments and fieldwork studies. They may not have their problems and questions of the last lesson solved by professors or classmates as in a traditional class, which can function as a barrier in one’s learning (Kartha 2011). In case of receiving feedbacks, students have to wait for a long time, till the instructors review their work (Top 10 distance learning disadvantages). In addition, according to the article “Pros and cons of distance learning”, whereas academic resources are supported in most conventional colleges/universities such as libraries, stadiums, study areas and laboratories, online learning environment is much more challenging. It is pretty practical when mentioning the impossibility of “drop a tutoring center or attend extra help”. Therefore, learning process, due to all of these factors, will be less effective.
Perhaps, it is the main contributor to lesser weightage to online learning. There is a common notion among employers that students following e-learning class are far less informed and more experienced than those with full-time education (Dogra 2011a); and worse in term of attitude as well (Dogra 2011b). Some employers even refuse to give online learning a piece of acknowledgement (Top 10 distance learning disadvantages). Of course, she says, this situation will completely different in case those students have certain years of experience. However, most companies still give a preference to learners with traditional certificates or degrees (Dogra 2011a).
2.3. Technology difficulties
It is beyond doubt that online learning requires some equipment. Two typical kinds of e-learning can be taken as examples here. First, computer-based training provides users with learning objects including audios, videos, animations and application simulations via a CD-ROM or a mainframe and through a local network, while another type, web-based training, has its learning materials delivered over the Internet . A computer connected to a network is a must with both of them. According to Hinkle (n.d.), this triggers off the technology-related problem to people who “do not have ready access” this equipment, in other words, they are “ill-equipped” to use it (Hinkle 2009). Besides, power cutoff, failure in Internet server on any hardware issue can also make severe impacts on learning process. Last but not least, technical requirement may put great pressure on ones who are completely not computer-literate, which, in turn, might lead to stress and frustration (Top 10 distance learning disadvantages).