Conference Paper

Towards Developing a Viable Learning Model in the Higher Education Sector Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak in UAE Context


March, 2021


I. Health, Education, and Welfare

The COVID-19 outbreak spread in a rampant manner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) from February 2020 (World Bank,2020) Over a year, the massive ravaging impact was observed in the UAE and across the globe. Like some GCC companies, UAE was already facing the heat of lowering oil prices, and the pandemic outbreak aggravated the worsening situation (World Bank. 2020a). More than 11,000,000 cases were identified until July 2020, and the reported cases were 50, 857. In UAE, instructions from the government came to restrict students' movement to the institutions and universities continued to be shut down from physical operations from March 2020 onwards. The sudden virtual mode of learning and teaching delivery was not without its bottlenecks because the country’s public universities faced more challenges than private universities or colleges. Even though the private institutions responded better than the public ones in implementing the virtual learning platform, there were associated issues that had to be battled.  The pandemic demonstrated the challenges of the education system in the context of digitalization. According to Bates (2020), the pandemic situation has opened a whole new pandora’s box of the uneven system of access and affordability. Rodrigues et al. (2019) has further elaborated the virtual learning system as internet and digital-based. The learning system's primary purpose is to impart an individualized, fruitful and interactive learning environment and dynamics. Garrison (2017) has referred to the e-learning system as an apt illustration of disruptive technology.  The research problems identified from the gap are related to
  • Student perception of the effectiveness of the virtual learning environment initiatives.
  • Other Stakeholders’ (faculty, parents, family members) their perception of professional satisfaction achieved.
  • Challenges faced by the University authorities.
  • Lack of a viable Virtual learning framework.
Based on the gaps identified, the following research questions were posited:
  • Are the virtual learning initiatives effective in accomplishing set goals from the student perspective?
  • What is the stakeholders’ perception of the teaching delivery in the Virtual environment?
  • What should the government’s support/assistance be in streamlining and assisting in the virtual learning processes?
  • How can a viable virtual learning model be developed in the UAE context?
Towards Developing a Viable Learning Model in the Higher Education Sector Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak in UAE Context


Deepanjana Varshney

Full Professor, Business Administration, City University College...