Causes of Significant Fall in Online Learning


Many students register for online causes from various schools, but the question is, how many of them manage to complete their courses? Recent research has shown that 52% of students registered for a course online don’t look at the courseware. At the same time, about 96% of those students end up either altogether dropping those courses or not attending the classes (Gillett-Swan, 2017). This essay paper will look at four significant causes of decline in students participating or even dropping online courses or classes.


Some students are faced with the problem of digital literacy. For students to participate in online classes, they must have a rough knowledge of digital proficiency (Prior et al., 2016). Students need to know how they can log in to the class website, submit classwork, participate and communicate with their teachers and classmates. Therefore, it is commendable for students to take their time in learning and to understand how online classes are conducted, as this will reduce digital illiteracy among students.

Being in a place where a network is deficient is so frustrating. Most students are willing to attend online classes: However, if someone cannot access a strong internet connection, it becomes hard to participate in those classes successfully (Gillett-Swan, 2017). A student may access free WI-FI, but if the quality of the internet is low, then participating in classwork may be challenging due to hindrance in communication. This may lead to most students stop attending classes. Therefore, students must ensure that they are connected to a trusted and strong internet to avoid frustration when learning.

Time management is key to everything that one does. According to a survey done on over 1,500 online college students, it emerged that most students preferred online classes because of convenience and flexibility since most of them had other responsibilities outside classes (Oyarzun et al., 2020). However, some students drop classes because of their busy schedules and lack of balance between classes and personal commitments. Thus, good time management is essential to succeed in online classes.

Sometimes motivation plays a crucial part in ensuring students continue with their online classes. Being alone in a room without being surrounded by fellow students sometimes becomes boring, and procrastination may be tempting (Lin et al., 2017). Some students may start classes while fully determined, but along the way, they may realize that their motivation wanes, leading to start skipping or leaving classes. Hence, apart from being motivated by other colleagues, students also need self-motivation to finish their coursework.

Most students get the wrong information about the courses they have registered for. The notion that some students have of some courses being too complicated, time-consuming, very theoretical, or very easy has made many students frustrated and dropped those courses (Whitlock, 2018). It is, therefore, advisable that students should take their time to read through the course work before having a perception about the course. Having prior knowledge about a course is essential to erase any misinformation about that course. Teachers also must ensure that, before the lesson start, students are given all relevant information about the course.

Lack of proper student support. In physical learning, when a student gets stuck or does not understand a concept, they get assisted by the teacher or fellow peers (Kennan et al., 2018). This is the opposite of online learning, where there is no personal attachment with the student. Therefore, the student may feel isolated, and sometimes they tend to give up when things get complicated for them. However, the primary purpose of every learning is for students to grasp the concepts and ask for help whenever they meet a challenge. Therefore, several options for getting solutions should be put in place if a student meets any challenge. For example, they should create FAQ documents for references.


The world of today is full of innovations and abrupt changes. Most people now prefer online classes more than physical classes. People are ready to invest their time in learning new skills and knowledge. However, there are various hindrances to online learning which should be curbed. Things like digital literacy, low network, time management, motivation, wrong information, and lack of proper student support need to be tackled to reduce or stop the massive number of students not attending or dropping online classes. It is seemingly unavoidable that the world has transformed, and most operations, even businesses, adopt the online system. Therefore, students are unexceptional to these changes.


Gillett-Swan, J. (2017). The challenges of online learning: Supporting and engaging the isolated learner. Journal of Learning Design, 10(1), 20-30.

Kennan, S., Bigatel, P., Stockdale, S., & Hoewe, J. (2018). The (Lack of) Influence of Age and Class Standing on Preferred Teaching Behaviors for Online Students. Online Learning, 22(1), 163-181.

Lin, C. H., Zhang, Y., & Zheng, B. (2017). The roles of learning strategies and motivation in online language learning: A structural equation modeling analysis. Computers & Education, 113, 75-85.

Oyarzun, B., Martin, F., & Moore, R. L. (2020). Time management matters: Online faculty perceptions of the helpfulness of time management strategies. Distance Education, 41(1), 106-127.

Prior, D. D., Mazanov, J., Meacheam, D., Heaslip, G., & Hanson, J. (2016). Attitude, digital literacy, and self-efficacy: flow-on effects for online learning behavior. The Internet and Higher Education, 29, 91-97.

Whitlock, Q. (2018). Course design for online learning–what’s gone wrong?. In Teaching & Learning Online (pp. 182-191). Routledge.

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ChalkyPapers. "Causes of Significant Fall in Online Learning." April 15, 2023.