Understanding the Experienced Opportunities and Threats of Online Learning in a Professional Development Programme


  •   Cosmas Maphosa

  •   Talent Tapiwa Rugube

  •   Khetsiwe E. Mthethwa-Kunene

  •   Patience Dlamini


Learning online as a new experience for students who are accustomed to the traditional face-to-face contact learning may be associated with numerous opportunities and threats. The qualitative case study sought to establish, from students; experiences, the opportunities, and threats of online learning. The study was informed by the Community of Inquiry framework and drew from the experiences of the participants of a 4-week long intensive training programme in a rural-based university in Eswatini. A purposive sample of eleven participants participated in the study by completing a programme evaluation form and participating in an online focus group discussion session. The study utilised the thematic content analysis method to analyse the collected qualitative data. The study found that there were several opportunities realised in online learning as well as some challenges which posed threats. The flexibility and convenience offered by studying online and transcending the limitations of time, space, and place were noted together with the utilisation of engaging learning activities, learning material, and content presented in multimedia as well as reliable online technical support and meaningful online academic support. Conversely, the issue of high workload, connectivity issues well as challenges in group activities were reported as threats. The study recommends the leveraging of all opportunities in enhancing online learning and being attended to threats in the planning and implementation of online learning.

Keywords: Advantages, Challenges, Online learning, Virtual learning space.


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How to Cite
Maphosa, C., Rugube, T. T., Mthethwa-Kunene, K. E., & Dlamini, P. (2022). Understanding the Experienced Opportunities and Threats of Online Learning in a Professional Development Programme. European Journal of Education and Pedagogy, 3(3), 242–250. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejedu.2022.3.3.366

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