Despite its flexibility, remote learning is a complex process which depends on several elements considered as pillars of online learning and which affect each other. The purpose of the study is to reveal the learners’ feeling of social isolation while learning remotely as well as the effectiveness of online communication channels in ensuring learning support through content sharing with teachers and colleagues. Moreover, the learners’ self-regulation skills were reflected through their practices while learning as well as through the value of being a part of the digital community. The learners’ evaluation of their remote learning experience, their attitudes towards passing through this experience again and their suggestions to improve virtual learning were also examined in the last section of the survey.
This study sheds light on the social isolation barrier while learning online as 49% of students reported that they always felt isolated. In fact, this disconnectedness was not compensated by online communication especially that around 31% of learners declared that using online communication with teachers and colleagues never helps them with the learning process. Morever, 55% of learners stated that they never prepare questions before joining online discussions or watching videos in virtual learning. Therefore, the lack of teaching presence - associated with the lack of learners’ regulation skills - leads to the absence of learning presence in online learning. The results reflected the perspectives and attitudes of learners towards online learning as 44% of learners described their online learning experience as “bad, unsuccessful, and characterized by failure”. Moreover, 63% of learners stated that they were not interested to pass through the online learning experience again. To improve the implementation of online learning, 55% of respondents suggested enhancing the teaching strategies whereas 47% of participants recommended improving the infrastructure and providing the required facilities. So, for integrating online learning, a viable strategy needs to be developed and made aligned with all the opportunities and challenges of online learning in the Lebanese context.