Difficulties in the online educational context ‒ perception of students, parents and teachers

Узданица XVIII 2 (2021), (стр. 67-82)

АУТОР(И): Daliborka R. Popović, Mirjana M. Beara, Milena D. Belić

Е-АДРЕСА: daliborka.popovic@pr.ac.rs

Download Full Pdf 

DOI: 10.46793/Uzdanica18.II.067P


The aim of this paper is to analyze the difficulties of distance education from the perspective of different actors of education (students, teachers, parents) in Serbia and to identify opportunities for overcoming or mitigating them. A qualitative research was conducted in primary and secondary schools in the wider area of Kragujevac, by interviewing students (N = 23; 7th and 8th grade of primary school and 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade of secondary schools), parents (N = 25) and teachers (N = 26). The research questions were aimed at assessing difficulties of all groups of respondents, and the obtained answers were analyzed by categories and presented within three topics: difficulties faced by respondents in the field of IT skills, learning difficulties caused by online teaching and communication difficulties among education actors. The results show that the most common difficulties are related to the organization of time and space for synchronous learning, lack of digital competencies (especially among “older teachers” and most parents), use of additional literature and learning materials, evaluation problems, as well as lack of physical activity. The most numerous and most important difficulties are the application of active learning and the realization of the expected achievements of students. The implications of the research show how to overcome or mitigate difficulties and thus improve distance and online learning and teaching, and make recommendations for post-COVID education based on these experiences.


online education, difficulties, students, teachers, parents.


  • Azorín (2020): C. Azorín, Beyond COVID-19 supernova. Is another education com- ing?, Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 5(3‒4), Murcia, Spain: Emerald Publishing Limited, 381–390, https://doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-05-2020-0019.
  • Byun, Slavin (2020): S. Byun, R. E. Slavin, Educational responses to the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea, Best Evid Chin Edu, 5(2), 665‒680.
  • Donnelly (2010): R. Donnelly, Harmonizing techology with interaction in blended problem-based learning, Computers and Education, 54(2), 350‒359. DOI:10.1016/j.com- pedu.2009.08.012
  • Doyumğaç, Tanhan, Kiymaz (2021): I. Doyumğaç, A. Tanhan, M. S. Kiymaz, Understanding the Most Important Facilitators and Barriers for Online Education dur- ing COVID-19 through Online Photovoice Methodology, International Journal of Higher Education, 10(1), 166‒190.
  • Fendler, Ruff, Shrikhande (2011): R. Fendler, C. Ruff, M. Shrikhande, Online Ver- sus In-class Teaching: Learning Levels Explain Student Performance, Journal of Financial Education, 37(3), 45‒63. DOI: 10.2307/41948666
  • Friedrich Naumann fondacija za slobodu ‒ Kancelarija za Zapadni Balkan (2020): Stavovi mladih o onlajn nastavi u Srbiji – rezultati istraživanja (Attitudes of youth on on- line teaching in Serbia), Retrieved in August 2021 from http://zadecu.org/wp-content/up- loads/2021/02/Rezultati-istrazivanje-o-stavovima-mladih-o-onlajn-obrazovanju-u-Srbiji-1.  pdf.
  • Kovač-Cerović, Mićić, Vračar (2021): T. Kovač-Cerović, K. Mićić, S. Vračar, A leap to the digital era ‒ what are lower and upper secondary school students’ experiences of distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia?, European Journal of Psychology of Education, Springer, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-021-00556-y.
  • Jesus, Gomes, Cruz (2017): A. Jesus, M. J. Gomes, A. Cruz, Blended versus face-to- face: Comparing student performance in a therapeutics class, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 11(3), 135‒140. DOI: 10.1049/iet-sen.2016.0190
  • Mahyoob (2020): M. Mahyoob, Challenges of e-Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic Experienced by EFL Learners. Retrieved in August 2021 from https://www.re- searchgate.net/publication/347918560.
  • Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (2020a): Stručno uputstvo za organizaciju i realizaciju obrazovno-vaspitnog rada u osnovnoj školi u školskoj 2020/2021. godini [Instructions for organization and realization of education in primary school in 2020/2021 school year]. Retrieved in June 2021 from http:// www.mpn.gov.rs/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/strucno-uputstvo.pdf.
  • Ministry of Education, Science, and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia (2020b): Ostvarivanje obrazovno-vaspitnog rada učenjem na daljinu za učenike osnovnih i srednjih škola [Distance learning during the state of emergency for students in primary and secondary schools]. Retrieved in June 2021 from http://www.mpn.gov.rs/wp- content/uploads/2020/03/Nastava-na-daljinu-uvanrednom-stanju.pdf.
  • Miražić-Nemet, Surdučki (2020): D. Miražić-Nemet, T. Surdučki, Učenje na daljinu iz ugla nastavnika, učenika i roditelja (Distant learning from the angle of teachers, students and parents), Pedagoška stvarnost, 66(2), 169‒178. DOI 10.19090/ps.2020.2.
  • Nguyen (2015): T. Nguyen, The effectiveness of online learning: Beyond no signifi- cant difference and future horizons, MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 11 (2), 309‒319.
  • Pellegrini, Uskov, Casalino (2020): M. Pellegrini, V. Uskov, N. Casalino, Reimagin- ing and Re-Designing the PostCOVID-19 Higher Education Organizations to Address New Challenges and Responses for Safe and Effective Teaching Activities, Law and Economics Yearly Review Journal, 219‒248. Retrieved in July 2021 from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/ papers.cfm?abstract_id=3659062.
  • Ping, Fudong, Zhang (2020): Z. Ping, L. Fudong, S. Zhang, Thinking and Practice of Online Teaching under COVID-19 Epidemic, 2020 IEEE 2nd International Conference on Computer Science and Educational Informatization (CSEI), Xinxiang. DOI: 10.1109/ CSEI50228.2020.9142533
  • US Department of Education (2010): Evaluation of Evidence-based practice in on- line learning: A meta analysis and review of online learning studies. Retrieved in May 2021 from https: //www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf.
  • Woltering, Herrler, Spitzer, Spreckelsen (2009): V. Woltering, A. Herrler, K. Spitzer, Spreckelsen, Blended-learning positively affects students’ satisfaction and the role of the tutor in the problem-based learning process: Results of a mixed-method evaluation, Advances in Health Sciences Education, 14(5), 725‒738, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459- 009-9154-6.
  • Zavod za vrednovanje kvaliteta obrazovanja i vaspitanja (2021): Onlajn i hibridno učenje – dugoročna stremljenja i kratkoročne smernice (Online and hybrid learning ‒ long- term aspirations and short-term guidelines) Retrieved in July 2021 from https://ceo.edu.rs/ wp-content/uploads/2021/03/SMERNICE-%D0%9EnlajnHibridnaPripremnaNastava.pdf. Zhao (2020): Y. Zhao, COVID-19 as a catalyst for educational change, Prospects, 49(1‒2), 29–33, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11125-020-09477-y.