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Challenges of Distance Learning and How to Overcome Them

Matthew Patel
Matthew Patel
Posted in Zoom Apr 30 · 3 May, 2023
Challenges of Distance Learning and How to Overcome Them

Distance learning occurs when the learner and the teacher are separated by time or distance. The Covid-19 pandemic brought everything to a grinding halt, education included, which gave rise to a new norm of remote learning. Through video conferencing applications, students could continue learning online at their respective homes. 

This solution came with its challenges in adapting to students' learning styles. However, this article highlights some readily available solutions to mitigate them.

Time Management

Ineffective time management skills for students in distance learning classes are perceived to be the biggest challenge. Lack of a proper structure of when to learn and how to pace your learning are some of the reasons time management is an issue. 

Distractions from the home setup or any other workstation may appear small, but their repetitive nature leads to a lack of concentration for the learner. Other technical challenges based on computer knowledge or lack thereof also lead to time wastage.


Time management apps and techniques such as time blocking are ideal for conducive remote learning. Learners should also appropriately choose a workstation that limits distractions and, if possible, maintain a regular spot to associate it with productivity.  

Student Engagement

In traditional classroom settings, peer interaction is effortless through group work, class discussions, and physical interactions before and after classes. The lack of interaction in remote learning is associated with pre-recorded video, audio, and written documents that the learners go through independently.


For e-learning, teachers are encouraged to maintain peer interaction by introducing compulsory peer review. The tutors can also include games like Kahoot! and Quizzizz to educate the students while enhancing peer interaction online.

Teacher Support

Most distance learning classes have pre-recorded learning materials readily accessible to the learners and minimal interactive sessions with their teachers. 

Challenges in time difference may be another cause for diminished teacher support when clarification is needed causing a lack of instant feedback. This may result in a significantly lower learning curve as some students may take longer to understand the recorded materials than others.


Online learning institutions are encouraged to invest in good video conferencing software to facilitate teacher support through real-time classes. Academic transcription also helps scholars easily navigate the video format content, especially during revision. Scheduling some sessions at a time conducive for both the learner and tutor is also advised.   

Stress Management

Project performance and stress management are likely to suffer when the learner doesn't express their expectations from the tutor from the onset. The delayed communication in e-learning compounds this problem further and frustrates both the learner and the tutor. Challenges in adapting to remote learning from physical may also cause stress for the student.  


Transparent communication between the tutor and scholars helps chart a course for the whole class. Communication channels should stay open to enhance quick clarification. 

The tutor should also disclose a clear grading format to the scholars, allowing proper planning for the course. Seeking resources that help the learner adapt better to e-learning may alleviate the need for stress management.

Work-Life Balance

Lack of discipline with remote learning and too many distractions from other life commitments such as family or work may lead to a distorted work-life balance. Since learners don't attend physical classes with a rigid, formal structure, they easily become distracted. Consequently, students end up underachieving the targets set for the course. 


Avoiding multitasking while studying can improve attention to the tasks and hopefully lead to better understanding. Scheduling online study time in your personal calendar and religiously attending classes will help maintain an achievable work-life balance.


Many people will agree that distance learning previously seemed like a futuristic phenomenon, but it is now a reality. And as is typical in life, it comes with pros and cons. However, the above resources will help you enjoy a smooth e-learning experience.