Online Degrees Vs Traditional Degrees
For a long time, humans preferred the traditional mode of learning. It has produced great thinkers, scientists, and people who have changed the world with their contribution. But with the advent of the internet, the world witnessed the rise of online learning. This new model of learning is also known as online learning or e-learning. Many people argue about the pros and cons of both modes of learning. Some are in favor of traditional learning, while others prefer online learning. Let’s dive deep into this discussion and analyze online degrees vs traditional degrees.
For later Reading: CAN ONLINE LEARNING REPLACE TRADITIONAL LEARNING?
Online Degrees Vs Traditional Degrees: Pros and Cons
Online Degree Pros
Online degree programs have many benefits over traditional degree programs. One of the benefits is that it offers flexibility to online students. Due to this flexibility, professional employees or housewives can easily pursue their education via online learning. They can manage their family commitments and work along with their education. Online degree programs don’t have a fixed timetable and schedule. Students can delegate their time to online learning whenever they are free. Moreover, these programs are always available and accessible at any time of the day. Thus, online degree programs provide a self-paced learning opportunity for students.
2) Better Time Management
Online degree programs let students manage their time for learning. It requires self-motivation, a strong will, and time-management skills. There is no pressure on students to take online classes at a fixed time. A student has to be disciplined and committed to take classes and complete his degree program. Moreover, online programs help students learn how to manage their time and complete their time. They also learn how to balance their daily routine and learning process. Thus, online degrees make students more responsible and determined. Students who don’t have time-management skills lag behind other students.
3) Reduced Costs
One of the pros of online degrees is its low tuition cost as compared to traditional degrees. Getting an online degree is way cheaper than getting a traditional degree. A typical online degree course costs several hundred dollars, while a traditional degree course costs thousands of dollars. Moreover, there are many free of cost online programs which are offered by universities and online platforms. Thus, online degrees provide students with an opportunity to obtain a quality education by time in less money. Besides tuition costs, many other costs like accommodation cost, traveling cost, stationary cost, and energy cost are minimal in an online degree program.
4) Quick Delivery of Lessons
Another benefit of online degrees is their quick delivery of lessons. Lectures in online learning are given in a quick delivery cycle. According to studies, courses in online learning are completed faster than in traditional learning. Moreover, all courses are provided at the same time allowing the students to learn at their own pace. Besides lectures, exams and assignments are wrapped up quickly as well. Thus, online degrees save a lot of student’s time. Other than quick delivery, students don’t have to visit campus which leaves them with extra time to do other activities. Thus, online degrees save students precious time whilst imparting quality education.
5) Immediate Evaluation
Online degrees provide an immediate evaluation of students’ performance. In traditional degree programs, once an exam is taken, a student’s evaluation usually takes months. This not only increases the workload but also wastes student’s time. Students remain in stress until their result is announced. On the other hand, course instructors in online learning give results of quizzes and assignments within weeks. Which saves students time and gives them instant relief from stress. Moreover, once a student’s evaluation is complete, he may enroll in another course without waiting for courses to be announced. All these are obvious advantages of online degree programs over traditional degree programs.
Traditional Degrees Pros
One of the advantages of a traditional degree over an online degree is that it provides immediate and instant feedback to students. Feedback is essential in keeping the students on the right track. In a classroom environment, whenever a student faces a problem in the course, he asks the instructor. The instructor provides immediate feedback by solving his problem or ambiguity, which is not the case in online learning. Moreover, traditional classrooms allow face-to-face interaction, which is a prerequisite for learning. A student’s concern is given immediate attention, and his mind becomes clear of doubts.
Improves Communication & Interpersonal Skills
One of the pros of traditional learning is that it develops and improves the communication and interpersonal skills of students. Students daily interact and communicate with fellow students and instructors. They become social, learn etiquette, and know about people from different backgrounds. Traditional classroom setting allows students to make interpersonal relationships with each other. Moreover, it improves their communication skills when they interact daily with classmates and teachers. These skills can help a student in his professional life when he graduates and joins an organization.
Offers Courses in Wide Range
Another advantage of traditional degree programs is that they are inclusive and offer courses in a wide range. Almost all courses on earth can be taught in a traditional classroom. Be it related to science, maths, history, arts, languages, management sciences, or religion, etc. Whereas online classes are exclusive, and many courses related to science cannot be taught via an online platform. Because certain courses require the physical presence of the instructor to effectively teach the course. Thus, this difference gives an edge to traditional classes over online classes.
Requires Punctuality & Discipline
As we all are aware of traditional classrooms, it follows a schedule and time table. It makes students punctual and disciplined. This punctuality and discipline are important for succeeding in life. Traditional classes give a sense of responsibility to students, which is essential for their personal development and growth. Moreover, this sense of responsibility helps them in their professional life as well. If a student is not punctual and disciplined, not only will he fail in class but will face difficulties in life as well. Thus, traditional classes make individuals responsible, punctual, and disciplined.
Access to Libraries & Other Material
Another advantage of traditional learning is that provides access to libraries and other research material. Libraries have rare and unlimited books. A student can easily get benefit from books and research papers on campus. These books and research papers may not be available to online students. Moreover, a professor or lecturer can give students his notes or research papers that can benefit a student in his learning process.
Online Degrees Cons
Lack of Accreditation
Many online degree programs have no accreditation because accrediting agencies don’t consider them a source of providing quality education. Accrediting agencies offer accredited status to those institutes which fulfill their criteria. Therefore, it is advisable to check the status of an online degree program before enrolling in it. Moreover, you need to verify it from the accrediting agency. All of this can be done online. So if anyone is serious about pursuing education via an online program, he must check its accreditation. Otherwise, he will have a worthless degree, which won’t guarantee him a job. Thus, one of the cons of an online degree is that in many cases it lacks quality and accreditation.
Little Face-to-Face Interaction
For obtaining a quality education, a healthy relationship between a student and instructor is a must. However, this is not the case in online education. Online education is delivered completely online, with little or no face-to-face interaction between a student and an instructor. In reality, it creates a monologue instead of a real dialogue. The impact of face-to-face interaction is huge and should never be underestimated. Moreover, a student doesn’t have the support of other students because they don’t interact. Thus, a student is on his own in his journey, which is one of the cons of an online degree.
As surprising as it sounds, online degree programs require more work for course completion than a traditional degree program. Instructors in online education expect students to read a lot of material for doing assignments and quizzes. To improve the quality of its online courses, institutes want students to study more to clear the course. Moreover, assignments of an online course require a lot of writing and research. It usually takes weeks to submit a single assignment. Lastly, a student spends around 15 hours on a single online course. Hence, it is a drawback of online degree programs.
Lack of Feedback & Attention
Another disadvantage of online degrees is its lack of student attention and feedback. Feedback is a prerequisite for education. Without it, there is no chance of individual improvement. However, the structure of online classes is designed in a way that doesn’t allow a two-way feedback system. An instructor delivers a lecture online, but he doesn’t give attention or feedback to each individual. Moreover, there is less interaction between a student and an instructor. Therefore, students feel isolated in online classes. To solve this problem, many universities now offer blended classes that combine traditional classroom teaching with online learning.
More Freedom to Students
One of the main drawbacks of the online degree program is that it gives freedom and allows students to be independent. In a way, it’s a good thing, but most students don’t know how to handle this freedom. Thus, they end up getting flunked miserably. Moreover, students become responsible for their learning, which is not a good thing, especially if a student is immature. Furthermore, online classes require self-direction and self-discipline, which the majority of students lack. Hence, the result doesn’t paint a bright picture.
Traditional Degrees Cons
One of the disadvantages of a traditional degree program is its strict scheduling and time table. For regular students, it is still feasible, but people who are doing jobs or business it becomes difficult to get enrolled in a program that follows a fixed timetable. Moreover, once you miss a class, you cannot attend it again because there is no simple mechanism available. Therefore, you will always be present for a class, or else you will miss important lectures. Hence, the traditional degree offers less flexibility and convenience, which is its biggest drawback.
Another disadvantage of traditional degree programs is its high cost. For admission to a traditional degree program, students will have to pay a huge amount, which makes it unattractive to many people. Most people don’t continue their education because they cannot afford it. Instead, they start doing jobs and earn money for themselves and their families. Moreover, people who want to get an education in a college or university out of state often take student loans from the government or banks. However, the traditional degree program is less expensive for in-state admission. Besides expensive tuition fee, students pay extra money on buying stationery, daily commuting to college, and sometimes accommodations. Thus, a traditional degree is an expensive choice.
Limited Personal Attention
In traditional learning, limited personal attention is given to students. There is no concept of one-on-one instruction in a traditional setting. In many universities, lecture halls are filled with over 100 students which makes it difficult for a professor to respond to every student’s query and concerns. A lecturer just delivers his lecture and leaves the class without any concern for each student. Moreover, a student’s difficulty in learning and understanding of topics remains unsolved in traditional learning. Thus, this lack of personal attention can sometimes fail a student.
Another drawback of traditional degree programs is its general education. As we know every student is unique, in terms of intelligence, interests, and capabilities. Despite their uniqueness, traditional schools offer one single curriculum to every student in the class. That does not serve the true purpose of education. Moreover, every student has to study every subject regardless of their interests and understanding. For example, if a student wants to become a doctor, he has to study English, Maths, and History subjects as well. Why that is so is beyond any, because these subjects are useless for a medical student. This general education is one of its drawbacks.
In traditional degree programs, students are at the mercy of teachers. They learn and understand what a teacher tells them. This is a drawback, because a teacher may be wrong. Students in traditional learning generally learn from two sources, which are books and teachers. Besides these sources, students don’t make any effort to learn new things and ideas on their own. Moreover, they don’t even cross-check what their teacher says about a certain topic, which makes students passive learners, because they are bounded by four walls of the classrooms and they don’t search for knowledge themselves.
Both online degrees and traditional degrees have their own set of pros and cons. Therefore, it all depends on the requirements and circumstances of the students. A student should weigh the pros and cons of both the options, and decide which mode of learning will suit him.