Online Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Benefits and Challenges for EFL Students

  •  Rama Abdulkarim Alsayed    
  •  Abeer Sultan Ahmed Althaqafi    


Online learning has been a vital tool to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many research studies have been conducted on this topic from different perspectives. However, it can be argued that it is important to identify and evaluate the students’ experience especially those of them who are experiencing online learning for the first time. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate Saudi EFL learners’ experience towards the rapid shift to an entirely online learning environment. Specifically, this study aimed to identify the benefits and the challenges of online learning during COVID-19 and compare the traditional way of face-to-face learning to online learning from the students’ perspective. The research method employed for this paper was a quantitative method in terms of a questionnaire. The questionnaire contained 15 items and was utilized to identify the benefits and challenges that the students have faced during their online learning experience. Participants were 72 Saudi EFL learners in their preparatory year at a Saudi higher education institution. Major findings revealed a number of benefits of online learning, such as: “Easy access to online material”, “Ability to record meetings and sessions”, and “Retrieve information”. On the other hand, technical problems were the most reported challenge for students, in addition to lack of interaction with teachers. Based on the research findings, several suggestions and recommendations were presented to enhance the effectiveness of online learning.

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