The unforeseen transition to online learning (OL) due to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries has left learners with inconsistent and unequal access to digital learning opportunities. The present study was aimed at evaluating the effectiveness and improvements in OL amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of Pakistan. The findings of the study revealed that the majority of higher education students have serious reservations about the effectiveness of OL in Pakistan. However, students have reported productivity improvements in their online classes amid the second wave as compared to the first wave of the COVID-19. Lack of access to a reliable internet connection, lack of classroom socialization, lack of self-motivation, and ineffective online teaching methodologies were some of the major OL challenges reported by Pakistani higher education students. The findings of the present study have the pedagogical implications for OL in developing countries.