The online education trend has skyrocketed over the last several years, as more and more individuals are signing up for digital courses. The benefits involved are significant and visible: flexibility, cost-effective, ability to learn from people who have already accomplished something big, and diverse multimedia content such as text, video, audio, and graphics that’ll improve the learner’s retention and study experience.

Nevertheless, despite eLearning’s huge popularity in the present days, many individuals can’t manage to see the end of their courses. Unlike the traditional education (high-school, college, university) which implies strict rules, restrictions, and penalizations, the eLearning education doesn’t bring the same type of pressure.

If you drop-out, the only thing you’ll be losing is the money you’ve previously invested. And since eLearning is a convenient and cost-effective way of studying, the consequences are small enough to make people abandon their courses due to various reasons.

In today’s post, I’m sharing 7 common reasons for eLearning course drop-outs. Sit tight, pay attention, and make sure you don’t commit the same mistakes!

1.    False Expectations About the Effort Involved

One of the common reasons why students drop out from eLearning courses is that they have false expectations about the work involved.

Most of us are starting projects and goals with optimistic visions about the end result. We count the time, the effort, and the resources required, and we create certain expectations in our minds.

Once the task or project begins, the fear of failure, the comfort zone, and the lack of uncertainty often give us second thoughts. Once our subconscious mind has already associated the work involved with pain, we’ll do our best to find excuses to quit. As far as I see it, this is the leading cause of most eLearning drop-outs.

2.    Poor Communication from the Instructors

Unlike traditional education, eLearning involves solitude, silence, and minimalistic socializing. For some students, the eLearning experience is isolating and dark.

Due to these reasons, many students are afraid to ask questions and so they decrease the quality of their studying experience. If the instructors aren’t encouraging communication, things will get even worse.

“A good eLearning course or seminar must be developed and taught by good communicators that understand their students’ fears and concerns. Communication is key in every area of activity, especially in learning.” – John Has, CEO at EssayOnTime.

3.    The Lack of Knowledge, Skills, and Prerequisite Experience

Every single online educational material should clearly state the knowledge, skills, and prerequisite experience that’s required from prospective students. If the course fails to provide that, many people will immediately quit.

Whenever students enroll in a digital course, they’re generally paying close attention to the requirements and expectations. A beginner that signs-up for a beginners’ course will stand no chance when presented with advanced educational material.

For those who miss these important details, continuing their studies might be impossible. Also, it’s important to note that not all beginners start with the same aptitudes. For example, if a beginners’ video creation course demands Photoshop skills and that detail isn’t mentioned, a lot of people might be in trouble.

4.    Bad Pacing and Lack of Feedback

Some courses are more difficult than others and some people learn faster than others. For a course to be effective, the learning pace must be carefully adapted and aligned with the students’ progress.

Complex topics should be split into more digestible lessons. After the end of each lesson, every student should receive the proper feedback. Instructors must pay close attention to how each student is progressing, otherwise, their pace might put the “slow” learners into big difficulty.

5.    Unexpected Requirements or Content

When people sign-up for something, they expect that something to be present. Simply put, the marketing presentation of an eLearning material should always be detailed and precise. There’s no room for surprises in this industry, as most people are seeking specific educational information.

It goes the same with the requirements. As I’ve mentioned earlier, additional requirements will often turn-off most students and make them consider quitting.

If the learners expect a lot of practical knowledge and receive theoretical one, they’ll lose their faith in the course and will most likely abandon it. For these reasons, great communication proves to be essential again.

6.    Technical Glitches and Bugs

In certain instances, technical glitches and bugs might sabotage both the learner’s experience and the instructor’s. Technological issues involve software issues, computer bugs, and all sorts of trouble that are related to the functionality of the course itself.

This is a common reason why many people get frustrated and drop-out. The consequences are bad for both the student and the course owner, as many complaints involve the requests of refunds.

To avoid these problems, course owners and instructors should leverage the right technological systems. Besides that, they should ensure that they have a backup plan. A computer technician that’s always ready to solve the bugs and glitches is probably the best way to deal with this sort of issues.

7.    Low Motivation & Work Ethics

Lastly, the low motivation and the poor work ethics represent another common reason why learners drop out of courses. Let’s differentiate laziness and the lack of motivation because they’re not the same.

For the reasons explained above, some people (that aren’t lazy) might lose their faith. Social isolation, information overload, technical issues – these are all good reasons to feel that the course you’re enrolled in is not suited for you. When the learner’s expectations aren’t fulfilled, motivation drops, and the thought of dropping out is getting closer and closer as the problems continue.


If you’re a student, an employee, or a professional and you’re currently assessing whether to quit or to continue your digital course, make sure that you count all the factors and that you don’t rush your decision.

Think about it. Will you be better off if you quit, or you’re simply looking for excuses to get into your comfort zone again? The key to making a wise decision is being totally honest with yourself.

Author Bio:

Serena Dorf is an enthusiastic content writer. She is passionate about writing, personal development, psychology, and productivity. In her free time, she is reading classic American literature and learning Swedish. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter.