It’s a common question that educators have been asking for years: what’s better, online education or traditional education? As new technologies make themselves known over the years, the method through which teaching takes place changes drastically. Today, more than ever, it’s possible to provide a full degree of education entirely online.
But is one better than the other? We’d argue that both of them have pros and cons, and that neither is superior when used alone. In fact, using them together is likely the most efficient way to educate students in the modern age. Still, there are several factors to take into consideration when making the comparison between the two.
A big difference between traditional and online learning is how students are motivated to maintain discipline. In a traditional classroom, it is up to the teacher to motivate students and keep them disciplined, so much more weight falls on the teacher to ensure that things get done, and that students keep up with their work.
But in an online setting, much more leeway is given to the students instead. Unlike the traditional classroom, students are mostly responsible for their own learning pace and discipline. One could argue that improved freedom is a boon, but only for students who are capable of self-motivation and maintaining their own discipline. If they lack those things, an online learning environment may be detrimental to them.
Traditional classroom settings have fixed schedules and times. Students are required to build the rest of their life schedule around those times if they want to get their education. Needless to say, there are almost no conceivable upsides to this particular facet of traditional learning, as having a strict, non-flexible schedule often creates complications for students.
On the other hand, online education provides a great deal of flexibility for students, as, other than scheduled online meetings between students and teachers, most course content can be handled at a pace the student dictates, as mentioned previously. While this does provide a problem for students who lack self-discipline, it does offer great freedom to students who have tight or conflicting schedules.
Some students who would not be able to attend a traditional classroom setting would be able to attend the same class online. The value of this kind of availability cannot be overstated.
Socialization or Lack Thereof
A major strength of traditional classrooms is the ability for students and teachers to closely and personally interact with one another. In an online environment, some students may feel isolated due to the separation from fellow students and the teacher.
However, it’s worth noting that this is not necessarily. Instead, it really depends far more on the student. Some students are the type to really need the presence of other people around to get the most out of their education, and they may have trouble being invested in learning when they are sitting alone on a computer.
At the same time, there are students who would probably prefer isolation, and actually learn more effectively when they don’t have to worry about other people. Not to mention, it’s easier for students to get distracted by their classmates when they are all in close physical proximity to one another.
Still, this is mostly a case-by-case thing, and there could be an advantage or disadvantage for both types of teaching environments, depending on each student.
Ease of Access to Supplemental Materials
There is one thing that online education has compared to traditional education, that being the ease of access to supplemental materials. Almost every student has a computer these days. And with those computers, they have access to pretty much the entirety of the internet, which includes audio, videos, and a whole slew of information that would be otherwise inaccessible in a classroom environment where the same technology was not being used.
Supplemental materials can go a long way in facilitating effective learning from students, so this is not a boon to be taken lightly. In an online course, the teacher has great leeway to provide students with links to all sorts of valuable resources.
On an even more basic level, students who have access to their computer during online courses also have access to just about any tool they need: calculators, thesauruses, dictionaries, timelines, translators, and much more. In a traditional classroom that is not using computers or internet access at all, these resources are not as readily available.
Of course, at the same time, access to the breadth of the internet also provides a great many distractions for students. It wouldn’t be all that hard for students to do things on their computers unrelated to classwork while doing online classes. However, that issue goes back to personal discipline and self-motivation.
Ultimately, neither traditional education nor online education is objectively superior to the alternative, as they both have many pros and cons, and some aspects that can be either advantageous or problematic depending on particular situations or students. Just as there are many styles of learning, there are many types of students: some may benefit more from a traditional classroom, while others may benefit more from an online course.
There are even multiple types of teachers, and they perform better in one environment or the other. But neither teaching system is perfect, and they all have their pitfalls that can be problematic. That said, the best strategy would be to integrate aspects of both teaching methods into one method as the situation calls for it. Neither option will be the right choice in every scenario, so a degree of flexibility is required to make the most out of both traditional and online learning.
If you as a student find yourself with a writing assignment on a topic such as this one, Affordablepapers.com is a great service to go to receive professional assistance in writing essays, research papers, dissertations, and all manner of academic projects at a cheap price.