The urgent transition to online distance learning imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic in higher education institutions (HEIs) has proved to be a huge challenge for most of them. Yet the most affected group were the students, many of which were dissatisfied by their online learning experience. Over the last 2 decades e-learning has proven to have many strengths and advantages over face-to-face learning, most of which depend on the appropriate pedagogy approaches and their relevance to the technologies used by the teachers. On the other hand, many of e-learning proved weaknesses and limitations are related to technological issues. In our previous study we explored how Sofia University (Bulgaria) teachers' experience in e-learning before and during the pandemic affects their perspectives on the benefits and limitations of e-learning and as a sequel, in this study we attempted to identify the impact of experience of students in the same university (SU) during the emergency online education on their views about e-learning strengths and weaknesses. The study is focused on three main aspects – 1) students’ experience in online learning during the pandemic; 2) students’ views on pros and cons of e-learning; and 3) the impact of their experience on their views and attitudes. As a research method we used an online survey, conducted after the first period of pandemic in 2020 with 1239 students from all 16 SU faculties. Findings from data analysis revealed the existence of statistically significant dependencies between students’ experience in online learning and their recognition of proven in the theory and practice advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. It appeared that far more positive attitudes were formed in students with extensive experience in contrast to the more negative attitudes in students with poor experience, which has affected their judgment of pros and cons that e-learning provides. The results demonstrated that the emergency online education has revealed some e-learning benefits, but also has discredited its quality for some students. The conclusions suggested that students’ experience depends strongly on the design of e-courses, which in turn raised questions related to teachers' competences for e-learning design and delivery.

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