Factors Inhibiting Online Learning Experience in Indian Higher Education: A Study of Undergraduate Students During Corona Times




Indian higher education, online learning, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis


Due to the pandemic, online learning is a recent phenomenon for many undergraduate students in colleges and universities in India, unlike in the west where regular online education is embedded in their educational setup. Studies have equated regular online learning experience to be as effective as face to face classroom learning and have demonstrated better academic outcomes. However, most studies on online learning have been conducted in pre-corona times and predominantly in the western context. Given the huge disparity in changed times and context and to explore the factors inhibiting online education in Indian context, we conducted a semi-structured group interviews of 100 students who had started taking their online classes regularly with a view to identify potential constraints that affected their learning experience. Based on their responses, we developed a 25 items questionnaire and collected data from 489 students. Exploratory factor analysis using principal component analysis technique revealed four factors which inhibited online learning experience among students. They are as follows; i). Difficulty in learning, ii). Network and connectivity issues, iii). Lack of motivation, and iv). Audibility issues. Subsequently, we performed confirmatory factor analysis to validate our findings from EFA. Results from CFA demonstrated adequate convergent and discriminant validity and we achieved a decent model fit. Therefore, we conclude that online learning experience in Indian higher education set-up is constrained due to the prevalence of the aforementioned factors