Purpose: Recognizing the importance of remote learning, the current study assesses the university students’ perceptions and motives towards transitioning to online learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, an attempt has been made to identify their learning experiences as well.
Design/Methodology/Approach: Data was gathered through interviews with Higher Education students. Nvivo 12 plus software was used for analyzing the collected data.
Findings: Findings lead to some new motives that drive higher education students to attend online classes such as continuity of studies, securing good marks, attendance, increase in technical literacy, flexibility and social interaction. However, online learning offers both various advantages over classroom teaching and also poses unique challenges particularly in those education institutes that are totally unfamiliar with online teaching experience and were unprepared for online teaching but were compelled by circumstances (COVID) to make this transition.
Research limitations: The study was limited to students’ perception only. Future research may be carried out to understand the perception of teachers and educational institutions and the challenges faced by them during the transition from classroom learning to online learning. The current study has not focused on the assessment part of learning; therefore, future studies can also explore this aspect of learning in online classes.
Social Implications: The study provides meaningful insights to higher educational institutions, policy makers and government.
Originality/Value: Abrupt closure of educational institutions due to the spread of COVID-19 has adversely affected the smooth running of classroom teaching forcing the universities and colleges to adopt online mode to ensure continuity in learning. Considering that the pandemic is likely to impede class teaching and also that the market for e-learning is growing in India, the need to research on students’ transitions to online learning becomes an important contribution to the development and implementation of e-learning systems in higher education institutions in India.
Keywords: COVID-19, online learning, students, remote learning, motives, learning experience, perception