In this age of digitalization and technology, educational institutes are adopting new modes of learning. This new model of learning is also known as e-Learning or online learning. Through online education, students can complete their education from their homes. It has made obtaining education easy for many people. However, most people still prefer the traditional mode of learning. This situation raised various questions like will online education replace classroom education anytime soon? Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of online class vs traditional class to understand better.
For Further Reading: ONLINE DEGREES VS TRADITIONAL DEGREES: PROS AND CONS
Pros And Cons
Online Class Pros
Gives Real-World Skills
One of the advantages of online classes is that it gives you real-world skills. For example, when you attend online classes, you are asked to research material for assignments and quizzes. When you search for material, it develops your web browsing skill. Moreover, you write emails to your instructor when you face any problem during your coursework. These technical skills are useful in professional life and give you a competitive edge. Besides these skills, you become familiar with online platforms like Zoom and MOOC platforms like Coursera, Udemy, etc. which offer online courses. Thus, online classes give skills that can be used in the future.
Promotes LifeLong Learning
Another advantage of online classes is that it promotes lifelong learning. Usually, when we learn something, it is forgotten after a few weeks. Online classes teach you how to find information online. If you are interested and know how to find information on the internet, you can learn anything at any time. Searching and browsing the internet for information is also a skill, as it ensures that your learning never stops and information is always available to you. Therefore, students who have taken online classes have already developed this skill. They can easily find, digest, synthesize information, and formulate answers to queries.
Provides Financial Benefits
This is one of the best advantages of online classes. They give financial benefits to students, which they don’t notice. First and foremost, they can attend an online class from anywhere. Whereas for a traditional class, they will have to go to campus. Students spend a lot of money on daily commuting to attend school. On the other hand, students attend online classes from home, so there is no commuting cost. Moreover, students buy books, notes, and stationery for traditional classes, while online classes don’t require such items. Thus, a student saves money here too. Another financial benefit is eating at home during online classes while eating out can be expensive. Lastly, when you leave home for classes, you will have to pay someone for child care or pet care, while it is not the case with online classes.
Another advantage of an online class is that teaches self-discipline and makes a person responsible. It is part of our human nature that we procrastinate. We do things at the last moment, even in our education. When you’re enrolled in an online degree, you’re on your own. No one tells you what to do, and you have freedom and convenience. To complete the online course, you have to take responsibility and be self-disciplined. You must have that self-realization of completing the course successfully, which makes you self-motivated to attend classes on time and study for your exam. In short, you become an active learner. This is what online classes teach a student, and it is one of the pros of online classes.
Offers Individual Attention
Every online student can connect with their instructors via e-mail. They can reach their instructor anytime they want. When they face any problem during the course, they can ask the instructor by sending an email. Most of the time, we don’t ask questions during a class, because we either don’t dare to ask questions or we think the question is stupid. However, the internet has removed all these obstacles. Now one can reach his instructor and ask him any questions online. The instructor provides undivided attention to questions received and try to respond with answers. Thus, students receive attention in online classes.
Traditional Class Pros
One of the benefits of traditional class is the active learning of students. A student in traditional classes has a full community to support him. Students interact daily with their teachers, and they discuss their study-related problems and concerns with them. Teachers recommend books and study notes to them for increasing their knowledge. Moreover, students help each other during their studies and motivate each other during difficult times. Lastly, they take part in experiments and group activities during class. Thus, active learning is the main advantage of traditional classes.
Another advantage of traditional learning is that it follows a fixed timetable and schedule. It is an advantage in the sense that everything happens at a specific time, and it is expected from everyone to follow the strict schedule. Failure to comply with the schedule may result in problems for a student. Traditional classes require students to be disciplined and punctual. This punctuality is important so that students don’t waste their precious time, and be a little responsible in their lives. Moreover, it will also help them in the future. Hence, scheduled learning is one of the pros of traditional learning.
Broad Support System
Traditional public schools and colleges have a broad support system for students. For example, they help students with a support system like speech therapy, counseling, special education, inclusive education, financial aid, and other services. These services are free of cost for students, and it saves a lot of their parents’ money. Moreover, states also fund such institutions to provide equal education opportunities to all. Whereas such a support system is not available for online students, which is its disadvantage. Thus, it gives an edge to traditional education over online education.
Another advantage of a traditional class is that it conducts extracurricular activities along with academic activities. Extracurricular activities are activities that are usually carried out outside the classroom. For example, sports, field trips, clubs, school activities, etc. These activities are important for the overall development of a student. Students learn such life experiences from these activities that are not taught them in a classroom. Moreover, they learn how to cooperate, and how to support each other. These experiences help them become better people in the future. That is not provided by online learning? Thus, traditional classes provide life experiences to students which are one of its pros.
Covering the Standards
Traditional schools follow state-approved standards in their curriculum. These standards are set by experts. Almost all state institutions follow the same curriculum standards, which guarantees that every student in one state is learning exactly what other students learn in another state. These standards cover every area in a subject, to ensure that nothing important is left out. This is not the case in online education. Every online platform follows its curriculum without any check and balance from states.
Online Classes Cons
Requires More Time
Online classes require more time as compare to traditional learning. It is surprising, but it is true. The reason behind it is that online learning is text-based. You have to type responses and queries. Then wait for your instructor to respond to you. Contrary to that, traditional classes are done face to face in presence of teacher and student. Moreover, in online classes, you have to read a lot which is effective but time-consuming than listening to an instructor in class. In short, you will learn effectively, but it will require a great deal of effort from you.
Easier for Students to Procrastinate
One of the drawbacks of online classes is that it gives freedom to students. There is no check and balance mechanism in online learning. No one tells you what to do, and what not to do. No one puts pressure on you for submitting your assignment on time or study for your exam. This freedom makes many students procrastinate because neither there is any pressure on them nor they’re motivated. Online classes demand a high level of self-direction and self-motivation from students. However, it is difficult for the majority of students, especially for those who are not responsible. Thus, it is easier for them to procrastinate, which leads to failure and disappointment in the end.
Creates a Sense of Isolation
Another disadvantage of online classes is creating a sense of isolation in students. In traditional learning, students have companions in the form of teachers, students, and friends. Whenever they face any problem, they help and motivate him to face the problem. But in online classes, it is not the case. The only companion you have on your computer. If you have any difficulty or problem, you’re on your own. You will be lucky if your instructor is aware of your problem; otherwise, you have to suffer alone. Thus, this is one of the biggest drawbacks of online learning.
Online classes require intense self-direction from online students. They want students to be proactive in choosing their study path. In traditional learning, counselors and advisors help students plan their study path. While in online learning a student is on his own. He has to be hyperactive in seeking information about what courses he needs to study for his degree plan. If a student fails to choose the right direction, it will be devastating for his academic career. Thus, it should be kept in mind before enrolling for an online class.
Lack of Communication Skills Development
Another drawback of online classes is that it does not help in developing communication and interpersonal skills of students. On the other hand, traditional schooling helps in developing students’ communication skills. It is because they meet each other and interact daily. But online learning focuses on imparting knowledge to students without considering their all-round skills development. Students don’t communicate with teachers and other students, which doesn’t improve their skills. Therefore, they may have theoretical knowledge but they won’t be able to pass their knowledge on to others.
Traditional Class Cons
One of the disadvantages of traditional classes is that it follows a curriculum that is often outdated. The books and other material remains the same throughout the years. Things that were being taught 10 years ago are still taught in schools. The curriculum doesn’t upgrade with time. It is a disadvantage for students because they don’t get to learn new things. Moreover, the teaching methods and tools used also remain the same without much innovation. Therefore, it is a drawback of traditional classes that needs immediate attention. Lastly, traditional classes need constant improvement every year to keep pace with the world.
Kills Creativity & Critical Thinking
Our schools are based on a system that follows a set pattern and curriculum. They don’t allow students to critically analyze things or do something out of the box. It is expected from students to memorize things instead of questioning, evaluating, and analyzing things. Traditional schools focus on passing exams, which is why many students only study to pass the exam. They don’t become creative and innovative because they’re not encouraged to do so. Hence, students don’t generate any new ideas and their in-born creativity is also killed. This is a drawback because traditional classes are not producing great thinkers but mass-producing robots.
Lacks Practical Work
Another disadvantage of the traditional class is the lack of practical work. Most schools and colleges focus on theory. They teach students concepts and topics. Students learn and memorize those concepts. But due to a lack of practical work, they don’t know where to implement their knowledge. Especially in science subjects, experiments and practical work is essential. Without carrying out experiments, their education is limited to theoretical knowledge only. This is of no use in the practical world. Hence, students learning are limited to class only.
Bullying & Harassment
Bullying and Harassment is a common practice in our traditional classes. Students are being bullied and harassed by some trouble makers. This can make the lives of those students miserable who are subject to bullying. Moreover, it declines their academic performance as well. Whereas bullying doesn’t happen in online learning. In online classes, students don’t interact face-to-face with others and that’s there are fewer chances of confrontation. Thus, bullying is one of the cons of traditional classes.
Favoritism is also one of the problems in traditional schools. Many teachers and professors unfairly favor some students because they like them. It may leave a negative impression on the left out students, and they may feel inferior. This practice of favoritism is not a healthy one, and it is unfair to other competent students. Online classes don’t have such a culture because students don’t meet instructors in person. Moreover, they are marked for how they perform in assignments and exams.
The above-mentioned discussion is about online class vs traditional class: pros and cons. Both have certain advantages and disadvantages. The choice between the two depends on an individual. Before selecting one mode of learning, he needs to study its pros and cons.