In response to the global COVID-19 situation, quarantine measures have been implemented at the educational institutions around the world. This paper aims to determine the antecedent factors predicting the university students’ satisfaction with e-learning systems during the COVID-19 situation. We used structural equation modelling (SEM) and evaluated a conceptual model on the basis of a sample of university students from Finland (n = 131) and South Korea (n = 114). The SEM results showed that the COVID-19 related factors, i.e., COVID-19 awareness, perceived challenges during COVID-19 and the educational institutions’ preparedness indirectly influence the satisfaction with e-learning systems. Moreover, we found a statistically significant moderating effect of course design quality, and instructor’s teaching style between the COVID-19 related factors and the satisfaction with e-learning systems. The implications of these results for the management of e‐learning systems are discussed.