Several folks may hold the belief that, based on the various ways used in teaching students, there is one medium of teaching that is best and superior to the other. But as technology changes and develops, the connection with people globally has been enhanced via various applications such as WeChat and Zoom. Just like communication and interaction, education has also experienced an evolution that connects students and instructors in a virtual classroom (de Oliveira Dias, Lopes, & Teles, 2020). It is evident that things have changed and they don’t seem to be exactly the way they were in the past. However, many have also enhanced debates regarding the best learning channel between in-person and e-learning.
The difference between e-learning and traditional learning is that e-learning is the learning process that is conducted via online apps such as Zoom. Subject matter and materials for learning are covered virtually, while in-person learning refers to the learning channel where there is a face-to-face interaction between the students and the instructors. Regardless of all this, there are merits and demerits associated with the two types of learning techniques.
Advantages of online learning
Since the emergence of COVID diseases, there has been an increased number of students enrolling in online programs. Based on the research conducted by Insidehighered, women and African Americans were found to have a preference for online learning. Sixty percent of black Americans were found to be sufficiently confident in the quality of online education and a higher number of women would wish to pursue online studies as compared to in-person studies. Several people opt to pursue online degrees as compared to the physical attendance of universities.
Online classes enhance learners’ accessibility (Dumford, and Miller, 2018). Many people who want to study online do not have the financial means to attend in-person classes; they want to study but are unable to do so for various reasons. E-learning is a great opportunity, especially for single parents, military employees, and full-time employees. It is regarded as the best because it offers opportunities to a large number of people who wish to pursue formal education.
Traditional learning tends to enable self-paced learning as well as scheduling flexibility (Dumford, and Miller, 2018). It enables learners to learn and work at distinct paces. It also provides students with the ability to follow their schedules because, with a flexible structured schedule, students and professors can mold the classroom and pursue what works best for them. On the other hand, e-learning is seen as cheaper compared to traditional learning. Learning in-person seems to be somehow more expensive than eLearning due to the existence of some personal experience costs that are incurred by learners. The costs include, but are not limited to, curricular activities, and meeting halls. The existence of these costs is compulsory for students to pay for, but as the pandemic continues, the desire to pay for the amenities has declined significantly. Students now need to learn online to at least assist them in the reduction of this extra cost and obtain their lessons with enough accessibility and convenience. It is therefore clear that online learning is ranked best due to its relevance in the education sector.
Disadvantages of online education
As much as online classes are viewed as the best, they still lack some important aspects that in-person learning has. It’s relevant to state that eLearning consists of distinct downsides that are in comparison to online classes that have experienced a rapid shift as a result of the COVID pandemic.
There is a rise in fatigue as a result of online classes (Dumford, and Miller, 2018). After a long time of experience with online meetings, the feel of it may be established. Each live meeting usually creates fatigue associated with little simulation. Additionally, online classes tend to lack engagement in virtual classrooms. It’s due to the unavailability of maintaining virtual learner instructor relationships. It is hard and tedious to try to get to know people online via calls and without an appropriate connection. Similarly, students may lose focus and concentration during class hours because they are less concerned about it (Dumford, and Miller, 2018). It also makes students reluctant to attend lectures as they believe they just have to watch and memorize as classes continue. However, even if students have the desire to establish a good relationship with instructors, they will always encounter some technicalities like crunchy mic sounds and awkward lags. Lastly, it is difficult to teach and accommodate some complex subjects online.
Subjects such as chemistry and nursing have a difficult time being translated into an eLearning method because the subjects are hands-on. Thus, instructors in these fields faced extreme challenges because they were not prepared for the abrupt changes that were brought about by the pandemic. Hence, it was difficult for them to come up with appropriate ways of teaching learners via screens. While students also experienced difficulties in understanding because they lacked the needed materials for learning. The challenges experienced in online learning thus reduces the chances of several people enrolling in it.
Advantages and disadvantages of traditional learning
Being in an in-person class eases instructors’ abilities to conduct class discussions, case studies, and role-plays. When students engage in conversations that create enthusiastic minds, the learning mood is automatically generated (Harton, Aladial, and Gordon, 2019). Additionally, traditional learning enables the creation of a strong relationship between instructors and learners, and lastly, destruction cases seem to be minimal in traditional learning compared to online learning. Some of the challenges of traditional learning are that some students’ learning styles do not correspond with their physical existence in the classroom. It can be time-consuming for one to travel and attend lectures on time, and in some circumstances, students’ local colleges may not offer their desired field of study.
In conclusion, based on the pros and cons of both systems, it is difficult to state that one is more superior or more proficient than the other. However, with the rise of technological advancements, it is difficult to avoid traditional learning completely. Due to the impact of COVID in the world, everyone seems to be impressed with the idea of online classes. However, considering both, all the education channels are great and relevant.
de Oliveira Dias, M., Lopes, R. D. O. A., & Teles, A. C. (2020). Will virtual teaching replace classroom teaching? Lessons from COVID-19 virtual classes via Zoom, Journal of Advances in Education and Philosophy, 4 (05), 208–213.
Dumford, A. D., and Miller, A. L. (2018). Online learning in higher education: exploring advantages and disadvantages for engagement. 30(3), 452-465, Journal of Computing in Higher Education.
Harton, H. C., Aladial, S., and Gordon, A. (2019). Faculty and student perceptions of cheating in online and traditional classes 22(4), n4 of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration.