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Learning is a process of acquiring new experience, knowledge, behavior, or skills. In humans, learning starts from birth and continues throughout their lives. Learning brings the change in an existing behavior of an individual. With massive digitalization across all spheres, our society is currently caught in the middle of the online learning vs classroom learning debate. Many scholars, educationists and teaching advocates across the world have participated in the debate and favored either one of these teaching modes based on their experience and observations.
We all are aware of classroom learning, isn’t it? We sit in a classroom, listen to the teachers, raise our hands, attend to our roll calls, interact with classmates and ask our queries.
Do you know the difference between online learning vs classroom learning?
For online learning, also known as e-learning, you need your laptop/desktop/smartphone/tablet with a web connection. These days people are preferring e-learning compared to classroom learning as it is new and inexpensive.
Due to the impact of the internet, more and more people are choosing to stray from outmoded classrooms and take their courses online. Online education and traditional classes each suit a particular requirement. Each option will provide its own benefits. However, online learning vs classroom learning is debatable as both have their unique features. Some like real–time interaction while others like the versatility that e-learning offers.
In this article, we will try to understand how e-learning is different from traditional classroom teaching. Now, let’s talk about e-learning vs traditional learning;
Classroom learning involves face to face interaction among students, instructors and colleagues. Students in classroom learning, actively participate in asking questions and getting their queries resolved. It provides the dynamic learning experience. Dialogues among individuals lead to flow of conversations and provide opportunity to share their experiences.
On the other hand, in e-learning this kind of interaction is not there but it is possible through emails, chats, forums and webinars. In e-Learning, students study in confinement and need to be self-motivated. An online course provides lessons, and the student learns terms, acronyms, definitions, and the methodological side of some tools.
What goes missing, is any practical experience such as activities or illustrations, which are evaluated and practiced real-time. When it comes to attending the courses on the internet, you will not be in a discussion environment. It is likely that you will not often have any interaction with peers. Therefore, if you have a query, it is more of self learning, you will need to go back and find the solution on yourself, or ask a trainer via email or chat.
Time and Place where you learn
School/college days remind us when we did not want to get up early in the morning but we had no choice. To attend a class requires a lot of time in getting ready and reaching college or school.
Therefore, in e-Learning vs classroom learning, the major difference is the presence of a physical classroom in a traditional set up. While in e- learning you can sit in any corner of your house and start/stop or replay the study material whenever you want.
E-learning provides us a lot of time as we don’t have to go anywhere, so it saves a lot of time in travelling. Students can utilize that time in other extra-curricular activities in turn it helps them to maintain a balance between academic and non-academic sides. Further, it will prevent them from feeling burdensome.
Flexibility in learning
In e-learning v/s classroom learning, another difference is that e-learning provides flexibility to students across the globe. In addition, e-learning appears to be organized with more and smaller parts which are easier to consume and operate on a busy schedule as well.
Students can study at their own pace and give tests at their selected timings. There is no pressure for students to stay in class. If an individual, who is in an e-learning medium, having any issues with a method or understanding a course material. They can always go through their course material or replay the video recording to find a solution of any query.
While traditional learning has fixed timings and one teacher manages limited numbers of students at a particular location.
- Consistency in Delivery
Another important aspect in online learning vs classroom learning is that in the traditional way of teaching, teachers come with their own teaching style and content, to be delivered. Content and consistency can be a concern for classroom learning.
In e-learning, the course design and implementation is exactly the same every time. Further, the process is simplified and consistent in the delivery of content which may be difficult to achieve in the traditional way of learning. But classroom learning can be fun by arranging group activities, assignments where students work together. Such exercises, provide a chance to actively engage in the process of learning. Students may exchange ideas among themselves and thus make the learning process more interesting, which is not possible in an e-learning medium.
Medium for instructions in online education and traditional education
Let’s discuss another feature of online learning vs traditional learning. In classroom learning, a professor delivers the lecture verbally or with help of their visual aids/PowerPoint presentations. On the other hand, in e-learning wide range of tools are used like videos, graphs, presentations and various visuals to make the instructions clear to the students.
The traditional classroom requires a physical presence of teacher/student but virtual set up demands tech-savviness. Online learning vs traditional learning has another aspect which is closely monitoring students’ progress. In traditional learning, tracking is done manually and verbal instructions are given.
On the other hand, online learning can be done by Learning Management Systems (LMS). Though it’s very difficult to monitor the learner in a virtual environment as they attend lectures online while listening to music, playing games, etc. These things are difficult to happen in the traditional classroom due to the physical presence of both.
Difference in Cost of Online Learning and Classroom Learning
In education one of the most important factors is cost. In e-learning vs classroom learning, e-learning is more cost effective than traditional ways of learning. Due to decrease in travel costs and logistics requirements. Traditional classroom requires a teacher, each and every time when the course is supposed to be delivered. Further, in formal education school or college fee is split into several categories like tuition fee, library fee and other costs.
Debate on online learning vs traditional learning will perhaps never end. While there are still some people that have a preference for traditional approaches to learning, others appreciate the online or virtual environment, due to ease and suitability.
E-learning is more flexible, consistent and cost effective. If the student has time, budget can take the classroom training for hands-on practical exposure. If the student is lacking in time and budget may use the virtual set up. Traditional way of learning has many benefits like teacher-student interaction which plays an important role in the process of learning.
Well, it is important for institutions to adopt the blended learning approach where they can include traditional learning along with the online mode of teaching.
Now, let’s summarize the key points we have discussed in the article-
These are a few differences between online education and traditional education. There are many more but it depends on the student which suits them. Both Online Learning and Classroom Learning have their benefits. One can choose as per their need.
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