Open and Distance Learning during Malaysian Movement Control Order 2020: Reflections from University Students

  • Fadzilah Abdol Razak Faculty of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Perak Branch, Tapah Campus, Perak, Malaysia.
  • Nor Rashidah Paujah @ Ismail Faculty of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Perak Branch, Tapah Campus, Perak, Malaysia.


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has prompted universities in Malaysia to take a step to implement online teaching and learning in line with the instruction of the Ministry of Higher Education not to conduct face-to-face lectures but to take advantage of Online and Distance Learning (ODL) method starting from April 2020. Since this instruction needs to be implemented immediately, the question arises as to whether students are ready to pursue their studies remotely. Hence, the purpose of this study is to determine the readiness of university students to continue their studies using the ODL method.  The study also aims to investigate students’ reflection after completing the ODL process and to list the factors that contribute to the student’s survival in the ODL courses. This study utilized both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the data obtained.  Key findings revealed that reflection of students towards the implementation of ODL can be categorized into three main categories which are positive, negative and neutral reflections. Overall, negative reflections given by the students can be categorized into four main issues which are adaptability struggle, unconducive learning environment, lack of readiness for self-directed learning and technical issues. Among the four issues, adaptability struggle is the major concern for students as 55.2% of students remarked the ODL as difficult, hard, tough and stressful especially for a course that involved calculation. The outcomes from the study suggest that many students are still in the process of adapting to the implementation of ODL. Even after experiencing the ODL, 30.3% of the students still prefer the traditional face-to-face learning compared to the ODL method. The lecturers and university administration should motivate students on the implementation of ODL and work to solve the four main issues raised by students if they want this method to be implemented successfully in the future.


[1] J. Crawford et al., "COVID-19: 20 Countries' Higher Education Intra-Period Digital Pedagogy Responses," Journal of Applied Learning & Teaching , vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 9-28, 2020.
[2] R. N. Kibuku, D. O. Ochieng and A. N. Wausi, "e Learning Challenges Faced by Universities in Kenya: A Literature Review," Electronic Journal of e-Learning, vol. 18 no.2, pp. 150-161, 2020.
[3] N. S. Bogadi, and B. L. Morolong, “A Trend Analysis Of Opportunities And Challenges of Open And Distance Learning Provision In Dual-Mode Institutions,” Distance Education vol. 39, no 4, pp. 495-510, 2018.
[4] Garis Panduan Pembangunan Program Akademik Universiti Awam, Bahagian Pengurusan Pembangunan Akademik Jabatan Pendidikan Tinggi, Edisi kedua, 2018. Accessed: Nov 2020. [Online] Available:
[5] A. Ali, “Issues & Challenges in Implementing E-Learning in Malaysia”, Open University Malaysia, 2008.
[6] A. H. Ma'arop and M. A. Embi, “Implementation of Blended Learning in Higher Learning Institutions: A Review of the Literature,” International Education Studies, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 41-52, 2016.
[7] K. M. Nuhu, F. A. Owononi, S. N. A. Adedokun, & A. J. K. Shittu, “Challenges Faced and the Coping Strategies Used in the Use of Online Tools for Learning among Undergraduates of National Open University in Southwest, Nigeria,” Proceedings of the 2018 Association for Innovative Technology Integration in Education Conference: Blended Learning: Integrating Technology into Instruction, 2018, pp. 173 –182.
[8] A. Niwaz, Q. A. Waqas, S. Kamran. “An Exploration of Issues and Challenges Faced by Students in Distance Learning Environment,” Global Social Sciences Review (GSSR), vol. IV, no. IV, 2019, pp. 77-83.
[9] M. Kara, F. Erdoğdu, M. Kokoç & K. Cagiltay “Challenges Faced by Adult Learners in Online Distance Education: A Literature Review,” Open Praxis, vol. 11 issue 1, pp. 5–22, January-March 2019.
10] D. K. Mohanachandran and S. S. Ramalu, “Work and Schooling Challenges of Open Distance Learning: Case Study,” Research Journal of Social Science & Management, vol. 02, no. 10, pp. 198-207, 2013.
[11] O. T. S. Au, K. Li and T. M. Wong, “Student Persistence in Open and Distance Learning: Success Factors and Challenges,” Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, vol. 13 no. 2, pp. 191–202, 2018.
[12] M. C. C. Musingafi, B. Mapuranga, K. Chiwanza & S. Zebron, “Challenges for Open and Distance learning (ODL) Students: Experiences from Students of the Zimbabwe Open University, ” Journal of Education and Practice, vol. 6, no.18, pp. 59-66, 2015.
[13] F. Moretti, L. van Vliet, J. Bensing, G. Deledda, M. Mazzi, M. Rimondini, C. Zimmermann, and I. Fletcher, “A Standardized Approach to Qualitative Content Analysis of Focus Group Discussions from Different Countries,” Patient Education and Counseling, vol. 82, no. 3, pp. 420-428, 2011.
[14] U. H. Graneheim, B. M. Lindgren and B. Lundman, “Methodological Challenges in Qualitative Content Analysis: A discussion paper,” Nurse Education Today, vol. 56, pp. 29-34, 2017.
[15] Y. Ghilay, “ODL: Online Distance Learning of Quantitative Courses in Higher Education," Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal, vol. 4, no. 18, pp. 62-72, 2017.
How to Cite
ABDOL RAZAK, Fadzilah; PAUJAH @ ISMAIL, Nor Rashidah. Open and Distance Learning during Malaysian Movement Control Order 2020: Reflections from University Students. Mathematical Sciences and Informatics Journal, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 1, p. 31-39, may 2021. ISSN 2735-0703. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 apr. 2024. doi:

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.