Online Education vs. Traditional Classroom Education

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Computer use has increased all over the world. The whole planet is reliant on networked operating infrastructure. Because of advances in and acceptance of computer technology, there has been a substantial increase in the creative use of the online environment for learning purposes over the years. Individuals must distinguish between the different considerations to be weighed when deciding whether to learn online or in a classroom setting. This paper attempts to describe the legitimate reasons for studying online as opposed to in a conventional classroom setting. In addition to that, the paper will analyze the difficulties faced by those undertaking online studies and what remedies should be proposed to solve that. Also, the research paper will provide a sharp contrast on the employer acceptance of the online studies as compared to the traditional classroom setup. The main argument by those who support the online form of education claim that currently, high-quality education is not validated by the attendance of regular class with seminars and lectures. On the contrary, supporters of traditional education still claim that the system offers the lecturer-student relationship that is vital and cannot be provided on the online platform.

Which system is better?

Currently, many people want to study to better their education and work skills, but they are faced with many hurdles. These include the high costs of college education which makes the university education entirely unaffordable for some people. Virtual educational platforms initially were focused on giving platforms to those who require short courses. One most significant advantage of online learning is its relative cheapness as compared to traditional schooling. One of the most crucial determinants potential students look into when choosing a college is the costs of the tuition fees. Online programs offer cheaper remedies of study with the same quality of education. Kadvany Elena described how online learning has made education more economical and more affordable for the less fortunate. It is true that in an online education system, students choose what courses to undertake. However, the effectiveness of this education system is not so good as compared to traditional systems. There is room for improvement for the online education systems. (Kadvany).

In addition to that, issues such as the availability of time also come in place. David Smith, in his essay, discusses the value of time flexibility in the online educations systems. Some of the potential students are employed elsewhere and cannot afford the luxury of traveling to class every day. Right from enrollment to having course outlines, the online programs don’t require students to go to their respective universities. This includes to enroll and submit high school diploma transcripts. Everything is accessed online, and all one needs is a device that can connect to the internet to access the resource database of their respective institutions. Also to emphasize on that, traditional forms of education requires the attendance of class regularly. These classes are set up in a typical lecture hall with a lecturer, desks and other students. For this system, students have the resource of their peers when studying. Nevertheless, the supporters of this systems claim that the construction of knowledge is not only gained by studies but also by life experiences. However, despite the time factor, online students may lose out if they are not good time managers. (Smith).

Traditional set up is structured in a classroom environment with an invigilator manning the integrity of students in the exam rooms. Lisa Emerson in her journal article compared online learning to traditional education format. She compared the results of the teaching and examination formats of the two systems of learning and concluded that the paper-based learning system might be more efficient. (Emerson).

Students are expected to pass their exams to be qualified by the pass mark to be admitted to the next level. However, when students are subject to such examination culture, they tend to develop extra pressure which may lead to failure or memorizing of studies. The online systems solve this problem by reducing the structured examination set up. These online systems are structured to better the learning experience of the students. Online lecturers offer lots of assignments and research tasks that enable the students to continue their learning by engaging in research activities. With such assessments, students are not subjected to the torturous sitting examinations but somewhat continuous frequent evaluations using marked researches, essay and better instructional approaches to education.

However, according to Dennis Jancis, in the article “Problem-Based Learning in Online vs. Face-to-Face Environments, the effectiveness of social learning cannot be ignored. The outcome of the social learning format in class cannot be neglected. The article goes ahead to claim that with face to face learning systems, students get to learn things faster and do not easily forget them. (Jancis) This means that some students learn through their interaction with other students and lecturers. This communication faces the face and can be extended to the libraries. It is argued that the social constructivist approach cannot be learned away from human interaction. This is because with live view and direct feedback students can appreciate discussions in their social interaction. This is one of the approaches that is left out when students prefer the online educational platform. Also with the social interaction in class, this education system offers improvement in the interpersonal communication for such students. Although no one is taught interpersonal skills, students require this in their future working environments.

The traditional system is structured with a unique format that makes the lecturer take control of class programs. This is not the same with the online system. These are some of the feedback that the business class and the employers pass to educational institutions to better the students. With such issues needed online courses would not provide needed solutions. This gives an edge to traditional education system over the upcoming online system. Jonathan Castanos did extensive studies on the result of online vs. traditional class education and came up with models and charts about the two. He concluded that regarding the employer acceptability traditional system is still favored. With that, an older student pursuing online education might earn less than a younger student in traditional education. (Castano-Munoz).

For classroom set up, lecturers might choose to give students time to do presentations and speeches. This enables the students to improve their presentations skills that will be typically useful once they are out of the learning environment. This might be some of the reasons as to why typical employers prefer structured classroom education.

The traditional education system also offers a broader course outline as compared to online educational courses. Online courses have been structured only to cover the relevant courses the students enroll for. Traditional classroom set up offers the courses the students registered for together with additional resources. Lecturers provide extra information other than the course content needed to pass exams. There is also lack of lab practice thus making it difficult for science-related courses. These courses require a practical approach to study and lab skills. Courses such as medicine and engineering still require the pragmatic approach of both labs and workshops. Although most of the needed information can be found in resources such as books and scholarly articles, some of the skills required for the working environment are better appreciated in the labs and classrooms.

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Comparison between the different systems

The traditional educational platform still edges out the online forms of education. However, there can be room for improvement in the online educational system. This position is validated by the issues of affordable education and the flexibility and the learning environment. No matter the emphasis on the importance of classroom social interaction, there are several interaction platforms for the online study systems that can be improved. The online education system is still under continuous improvements with advancements of technology. Currently, the use of social media can be utilized for class discussions and group discussions. In addition to that, the length and amount of time wasted in a traditional classroom is enormous. There is also a gradual acceptance of the online study graduates by the employers although the regular class set up is still preferred. As mentioned earlier courses such as medicine and engineering are better learned in a typical school environment for the benefits of labs, workshops, and clinical. However, there is a preference by employers on online affiliated courses such as those of computer science, information technology, and computer system. This acceptance is primarily based on their effectiveness an experience on online platforms.

Possible solutions

With the difference and similarities in these forms of education, there is need to start up a better-integrated module of both kinds of studies. A blended educational model that would integrate the benefits of both types of learning would be beneficial for the students. For the format, students will be required to attend some classes physically while also subscribing to some online lessons. Course instructors may be required to offer real class lessons only once a week while covering the contents of the online platform. Assignments, projects, and other tasks can be provided on an online platform to allow students to complete their jobs on their own.


In conclusion, the choice of whether to enroll in online courses or traditional learning method solely lies with the student. This is by choosing the system that best fits your needs. There are several factors lead to the determination of which format to enroll. Apparently, there are multiple motivations and drawbacks for both systems. When time, costs, reliability, flexibility and comfort is looked at, online education programs have an edge. With that in mind, it is important to note that online education is an equally accredited education systems are accredited and trusted.

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Works Cited

Castano-Munoz, Jonatan, et al. “Estimating the Economic Payoff to Virtual University Education: Case Study of the Open University of Catalonia.” Higher Education (00181560), vol.3doi:10.1007/s10734-015-9935-1.

Emerson, Lisa and Bruce MacKay. “A Comparison between Paper-Based and Online Learning in Higher Education.” British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 42, no. 5, Sept. 2001, pp. 727-735. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01081.x.

Dennis, Jancis. “Problem-Based Learning in Online vs. Face-to-Face Environments.” Education For Health: Change in Learning & Practice (Taylor & Francis Ltd) 16, no. 2 (July 2003): 198. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2017).

Kadvany, Elena. “Online Education Needs Connection.” Practical Argument, 3rd ed., Edited by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017, pp.231-232. David, Smith. “Reliance on Online Materials Hinders Learning Potential for Students.” Practical Argument, 3rd ed., edited by Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2017, pp. 228-229.

September 11, 2021


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