Online learning is widely understood as the type of instruction that is mediated via the internet on a synchronous and asynchronous modes and which can be facilitated through a number of online tools (Dabbagh and Bannan-Ritland, 2005). The online learning delivery method is considered to be one of the greatest trends at all levels of education, particularly after the restrictions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. By 2025, the growth of online learning is estimated to worth a total of $325 Billion worldwide (TechJury, 2020). There are many reasons why online learning programs have become a popular form of distance learning in education today. For instance, the online environment offers unprecedented opportunities for people who would otherwise have limited access to education, as well as a new paradigm for educators in which dynamic courses of the highest quality can be developed from any convenient location (Sadeghi, 2019). In many cases, flexibility, diversity of options, self-directedness/autonomy, knowledge and creativity acquisition are cited as some of the key benefits documented for e-learning (SadeCornaway and Zorn-Arnold, 2016; Zare et al, 2016). Additionally, with an estimated 93% of communication being non-verbal, online education is seen to help learners to express themselves more freely especially considering that social judgements are not clouded by physical interactions (Soraya et al, 2019).
Despite the growth of online learning, and its many advantages, there are also some persisting challenges that are also particularly evident in the field of education. Some learners without reliable internet access and/or technology struggle to participate in the process and this gap is experienced both across countries and between income brackets within countries (Adnan and Anwar, 2020). For example, according to OECD whilst 95% of students in Austria, Switzerland, and Norway have a computer to use for their schoolwork, this percentage drops to only 34% in the case of Indonesian students (OECD, 2018). For those who have access to the right technology, there is also the issue of whether online learning is as effective as with face-to-face interactions. For instance, there is still a general consensus that a structured environment is required for the education of children (especially younger ones), and this cannot always be achieved with online learning. This is challenging for adult education as well. The emerging always online culture has also been proven problematic as it is seen to be interfering with attention spans thus disrupting the focus of learners during e-learning. In any case, as online learning is nowadays the common method rather than the exception, educators need to be aligned with its procedures and manage to deliver quality results in that context.