Many higher educational institutes are forced to the online mode of lecture delivery without fully understanding students’ perspectives of remote study during COVID-19, and the resource limitations of students to engage successfully in remote learning. The present study aimed to understand this gap and the students’ perspective. We collected and analysed the devices, which used by the students to connect to remote learning in a developing country. It was found that the majority of students are dependent on the laptop-smartphone combination to engage in remote learning, particularly the students in rural areas. The results highlighted the importance of smartphones in the online learning experience, considering their affordability, relatively long battery life, inbuilt internet capabilities, and portability. Although students indicated their willingness for remote learning, they clearly recognised the need for face-to-face teaching return to avoid some of the challenges and disadvantages they face as a part of remote learning.


Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/)

Cite as

Perera, E. & Gamage, K. 2021, 'Learning remotely during a pandemic: are students in a developing country fully equipped with tools for swift changes?', Sustainability, 13(15), article no: 8635. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su13158635

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Last updated: 19 May 2023
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