E-Learning in Times of Crisis: An Incidental or Facilitative Event?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic that erupted in 2020 the various higher education institutions in Israel, as elsewhere, were compelled to embrace E-Learning at short notice. This was a revolution that appeared with no preparation and that put on the agenda the efficacy of E-Learning from pedagogical aspects and the implications of the lecturer’s functions and the act of teaching for the quality of students’ learning as well as for the meaning of the learning expanse (campus—home) in teaching and learning processes. The current study examined the opinions of students and lecturers regarding the advantages and disadvantages of E-Learning from various aspects in a systemic, multi-institutional perspective. The study included 2015 students studying at various academic institutions: universities, academic teachers’ colleges, academic colleges, and private colleges. The study also included 223 lecturers. The research findings show that the respondents did not display a high preference for E-Learning: less than half the students and about one-third of the lecturers expressed a preference for E-Learning. Both groups noted the lack of personal, social, and emotional interaction with both students and lecturers as one of the main shortcomings of E-Learning. Most of the students and lecturers did not grasp E-Learning as providing them with better quality teaching and learning. The study illuminates the role of the lecturer in the digital era as a teacher, and particularly—the role of the professional elements in charge of teaching and learning at academic institutions, particularly in the pedagogical aspects. According to student evaluations, the use of technological platforms and tools does not improve teaching, as they are used by the faculty only technically with no matching pedagogy. In order to succeed, E-Learning requires other pedagogical educational approaches aside from copying frontal teaching patterns using the Zoom platform, as well as others: Weber, MS Teams, etc. In addition, the study indicates the need for perceptual changes, both by the students, who must take responsibility for their learning, and by the lecturers, who must reexamine the teaching and learning processes and adapt their role and areas of responsibility to the new opportunities afforded by the technological tools. The research findings also indicate that effective teaching is teaching that arouses in student’s inquisitiveness, motivation, and learning experiences, and note that learning products must be adapted to include essential skills in addition to knowledge. Further, the study illuminates the thorough discussion that must be held by leaders of higher education and of the academic institutions concerning the new effective designation of the campus after the COVID-19 crisis, including distinguishing between the virtual and the realistic in academic teaching and challenges and ways of dealing with the new circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of operations research and management science in higher education
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Series in Operations Research and Management Science


  • COVID-19
  • Crisis
  • E-Learning
  • Higher education
  • Pedagogical aspects
  • Questionnaire
  • Regression
  • Technology

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Applied Mathematics


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