Implications of the Digital Divide for the Learning Process During the COVID-19 Crisis

  •  Gila Cohen Zilka    
  •  Idit Finkelstein    
  •  Revital Cohen    
  •  Ilan Daniels Rahimi    


With the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, higher education institutions organized for online learning. The aim of the present study was to examine the implications of online learning for students with limited access to information and communication technology (ICT), content infrastructures, and digital environments, assuming that such limited access may impair their ongoing learning process when instruction moves online, and cause situations of stress and frustration, as well as a desire to drop out of school. The mixed-method study involved 639 students studying at institutions of higher education in Israel, who completed a questionnaire containing open and closed questions. The findings show that 13% of participants reported that they had limited access, difficulties, and malfunctions resulting from a weak connection to the Internet, and numerous disconnects, especially during synchronous lectures. They reported having difficulties downloading content from the Internet and uploading materials. It has been shown that limited access to the Internet has implications for the learning process, motivation, self-efficacy, as well as for feelings and emotions. It is liable to lead to the widening or the creation of gaps between students who have full and those who have limited access to the Internet. The findings show that little use is made of forums (10%). A more extensive use of the forums is recommended in courses where students have limited access to the Internet, to create a supportive learning community.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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