Differences and Benefits of Classroom vs. Online Learning
Just a couple of decades ago, online education was a hardly imaginable concept for many. Most of those in their 30s or older spent much of their childhood in school, attending classes while sitting in front of the old blackboard. Today, things are not so simple. Distance education, better known as online learning, started a revolution in the school system. The 21st century offers us numerous learning possibilities, inside and outside the classroom, for both children and adults.
Both systems have their pros and cons. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which one is right for you, and unfortunately, in some cases, you have no other choice. Let’s look at some important differences between classroom education and online education that can help you make the best choice.
The main benefits of classroom education
Classrooms remain the most popular educational environment, and not without good reason. Even in poorly equipped classrooms, this type of education has many benefits. One of the biggest advantages that most experts highlight is being in the same physical environment with your colleagues. Being in direct contact with both teachers and other students and experiencing face-to-face communication has social, psychological and physical benefits, not just educational. Students learn to interact with other people, to feel part of the group, and to find themselves in different social situations.
Another benefit of classroom education that online learning cannot replace is the acquisition of knowledge through the “hands-on” use of techniques and tools. In well-equipped classrooms, students have access to computers and other useful devices, and teachers are there to encourage them to actively learn and discover new skills. As students have direct contact with teachers, they can quickly engage in communication and get immediate feedback and answers to their questions. This also makes things easier for teachers as they can meet their students in person, assess their learning skills, and adapt to them.
Possible downsides of classroom education
Schooling in the classroom can also have certain disadvantages. Some classrooms are not well equipped for students with certain medical conditions and are not suitable for those who are geographically isolated. Furthermore, the shortcomings of different teaching methods become more visible than in distance education. Most teachers opt for one of these two strategies: cooperative or competitive learning which has its drawbacks (increased competitiveness, inability to assess individual student work, frustration of students not progressing as fast as their peers) .
What can we gain from online education?
Although it has been widely introduced recently, online education has been around for some time. It exists in various forms (e-learning, virtual training, mobile learning, etc.) and offers different study options for those who are unwilling or unable to participate in classroom education. Distance education is the only option for students with certain medical conditions that prevent them from attending traditional classes. In addition, it is the most suitable option for those who live in remote and isolated areas.
Direct exchange of ideas in traditional education can be replaced by online forums where people can discuss various topics. The only difference is in the method of expressing your opinions and asking for comments; Instead of doing it in person, students do it indirectly, which helps develop their writing skills. Improving time management skills and having more flexibility are considered other advantages of online learning. Most of the employed students are unable to attend classes due to their work hours. Additionally, the results for success rates among online and offline college students are striking, favoring online students who scored better on tests than offline students.
What can we lose with online education?
The pros of online education probably outweigh the cons, but they still need to be mentioned. Attending a massive open online course will not contribute much to a student’s socialization process. Regardless of the age of students, networking in the classroom can be crucial to landing a job after earning a degree. Problems due to unreliable technology, the high costs of certain online programs, distractions at home, and the lack of a variety of study tools are other factors that can pose obstacles to successful online learning. Additionally, increased flexibility can be a double-edged sword: some people find it difficult to maintain discipline and the dropout rate is higher than in face-to-face courses.
What can we conclude by analyzing the differences between face-to-face schooling and online education? Both have their pros and cons and it is up to you to decide which form of learning suits your personality, budget and current situation. Regardless of what you choose, take advantage of your opportunities and keep in mind that you are also responsible for the positive outcome.