Teaching in Tough Times: Examining EFL Teachers’ Perceptions of Online Learning Challenges in the Context of Higher Education in Saudi Arabia

  •  Alaa Mamoun Saleh    
  •  Zilal Meccawy    


The global spread of online learning is noticeable and has further expanded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this mode of learning is effective, several concerns have been raised by teachers. This qualitative study aimed to explore English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ perceptions of the online learning environment in order to uncover the challenges they face while teaching online. To achieve this objective, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 EFL teachers from the Preparatory Year Program (PYP) at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to examine their perceptions of online teaching. The transcribed interviews were coded using NVivo®, after which a thematic analysis was employed to reveal the emerging themes. The results showed challenges related to four main themes: students; institution; teachers; and the system, as well as a number of sub-themes. This study found that the most significant challenge that EFL teachers faced in an online learning environment was related to students, specifically their participation, motivation, tendency to cheat during online exams, and not taking responsibility for their learning. Another major challenge was the result of copying face-to-face learning to the online learning environment without making suitable adjustments. This research also shed light on some of the negative consequences of online learning for EFL teachers; its findings could help institutions and policymakers to modify content and support teachers by training them to develop their online teaching skills.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

Journal Metrics

h-index (June 2022): 44

i10-index (June 2022): 228

h5-index: 28

h5-median: 42

Learn more