Online education, also well-known as distance learning, is rapidly gaining traction in today’s world. In fact, the number of learners taking at least one online course has been increasing for the sixteenth consecutive year.
The reason is that online learning tends to offer a more affordable and agile approach to studying than traditional models. Getting a professional degree without leaving home isn’t just a dream anymore – it’s the perfect balance for anyone struggling with studies, work and personal life.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for traditional on-campus education. While attending an in-person class, students grow their interpersonal communication and practical skills that can be beneficial for their future careers.
Everyone has their own expectations and experiences with online and traditional classes, so it’s up to you to make a choice based on your personal preferences. Both options come with their fair share of challenges. It all comes down to finding an option that serves your educational needs the best.
Recent research shows that 77% of academic leaders consider online education to be equal or superior to traditional education – and it’s no wonder why. Beyond doubt, online education has a number of benefits. Online classes aim to make studying more convenient, cost-effective, and accessible for everyone looking to get a degree or certificate.
However, only 26% of students perform better with online education. This means that the remaining 74% (or 3 of 4 students) still have a preference towards a traditional classroom setting.
Whether it's just a trend of an established education system, or students just haven't gotten a taste of online learning yet –this article aims to review three considerations on both approaches that will help you to decide.
The most clear and obvious difference between online and traditional education is the level of flexibility you get. Undoubtedly, online is leading.
This is especially beneficial for those who have time commitments like work and/or family - as online classes can easily be adjusted to your personal schedule. You know your final destination and your goal, but when to study, for how long, and when your deadlines are - only you can define what works best.
With a traditional class format, there is often a lack of flexibility. Although, it’s a good option for non-working students to feel the true embodiment of student life.
Online education tends to offer more cost-effective and affordable options over traditional for a few reasons. The main is that they have fewer administrative expenses to incur, like campus amenities, buildings and equipment.
Moreover, many online platforms like Coursera, Udemy and LiveCarta offer free options for books and study materials.
Is cheaper better? It depends. There isn’t always a direct correlation between the price and quality of education. It’s important to consider other factors aside from economical, like admission, employment and graduation rates – regardless if it’s a traditional or online school.
During the pandemic, the entire world came to realize that interpersonal communication really affects our overall well-being.
Some people have felt completely isolated, only being able to communicate via smartphones and laptops, while others found harmony in solitude.
Depending which side you are on, or how intro- or extraverted you are, you can choose which model is better for you.
Online education allows teachers and students to interact using video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype and other online learning platforms. With screen sharing options, online classes can still have an in-person feel without face-to-face communication.
On the other hand, attending traditional classes develop interpersonal communication skills like verbal and non-verbal communication, emotional intelligence, and team-work. While the digital world is expanding, there will always a place for face-to-face human interactions.
On the Internet, your options are limitless! From Nutrition and Cognitive Science to Osteoarchaeology to Hypnosis, you can find a class on almost anything. While traditional schools will vary in their offerings, it’s definitely more limited and very much dependent on where you go.
It also takes more time to piece together a curriculum to implement in educational institutions. Whereas online, information appears as soon as it’s ready to be shared.
However you still need to take into account that practical aspects of some specializations like Medicine & Health or Construction cannot be studied online.
Another consideration is to combine both approaches to enrich your educational experience with on-campus and online courses.
If you choose online-learning, be ready for temptations to distract you! Taking too many breaks, watching tv, checking your phone– the list is endless!
To successfully study online, you have to possess enough motivation and self-discipline to stay on path. Your results in an online program hugely depend on your ability to manage time effectively, plan your study routine and stick to a schedule, communicate well with classmates and professors, minimize distractions, and get things done.
So if you feel like you would perform better in a controlled environment with more supervision, consider traditional studies which offer a fixed structure.
As you see, both educational options – online education and traditional education – have their nuances. Which learning approach is right for you depends on many factors: what budget are you working with? Are there educational institutes where you live that offer the field you want to enter? Is your chosen course theoretical or practical? How much time can you allocate? Are you disciplined enough?
In the end, no matter what you choose, your persistence and hard work will be the most important factors in achieving your goals.