Online education vs traditional education – the debate over the superiority of one over the other has been ongoing for more than a decade now. With the advent of technology, information exchange and accessibility became overly simplified. Today, data communications and networking is at its peak, enabling access to a wide variety of knowledge and offering numerous modes of information exchange.
Technology plays a significant role in education today. Almost every major & minor educational institution harnesses the benefits of technology in one way or the other, utilizing it to enhance its operations. Education & technology possess a symbiotic relationship with one another. Extensive researches led to astounding technological developments, and these advances spread knowledge & education all the better. The Internet is probably the best example of knowledge exchange, helping millions learn more.
But, has technology made conventional education obsolete? Is technology indeed a boon to education, or does it actually cause harm in the long run? The answer to all such question lies ahead.
The Undeniable Advantages of Traditional Education
Since the dawn of literacy, education has been an indispensable part of human life, dispersed from the learned to the learners. From the ancient libraries of the Sumerian Civilization and the rudimentary schools of the Roman Empire to today’s modern classrooms, knowledge has been handed from teacher to students in classes.
The traditional classroom setup has been the norm for centuries and offers numerous advantages:
Disciplined Learning Environment
Schools and classes offer a controlled and disciplined environ for studying, free of distractions & disturbances. Supervision and discipline helps one focus and goes a long way in personality development.
Learning the traditional way amongst their peers develops a competitive nature in students and wills them to push further. A regular class improves a student's educational proficiency through friendly competition and careful supervision.
Instructor - Driven Teaching
Teachers are the conductors of traditional classrooms and the fulcrum of knowledge dispersal. Their presence instills a sense of urgency & control in the minds of their wards, fixating them on the tasks ahead.
The advantages of having a guide & mentor are truly undeniable. You get to clear all your doubts, ask them questions and avail their guidance while solving problems. Such advantages of traditional education are the main reasons why classroom learning will never be obsolete.
Traditional education creates an environment that spreads harmony & equality. Educational institutions treat everyone the same way, and the concepts of equality & fraternity get imbibed in young minds. The social aspects of educational institutions go a long way in one’ personality development. Students learn the vitality of respect & tolerance as they build bonds with their peers. All in all, it can be said that traditional modes of learning not only help develop knowledge but also one’s character & personality.
Yet, certain drawbacks of conventional learning do exist and have been a matter of discussion for years. Some of the most prominent one, such as:
- Focus on grades rather than learning
- Limitations of the teacher
- A restricted learning process
- Lack of variety and access to limited information sources,
Surprisingly, online learning boasts certain advantages that act as the perfect remedies for every one of these drawbacks. Read on and find out how online learning exactly does so.
The Multifaceted Advantages of Online Education
One of the most renowned authors of all time George Bernard Shaw once said: "Progress is impossible without change…" As humanity progresses, change was inevitable. The key influence of them all was science & technology. Every aspect of our society’s infrastructure ushered in widespread changes as each adopted and benefitted from numerous technological marvels.
The educational sector embraced technology like its own. Today, technology has enabled educators to overcome the limitations of the prevalent learning methods. Electronic technology and data networking made it possible for seamless information transfer and changed the way we learn. Here’s a brief synopsis of the advantages of online education.
Ease of Access
One of the most prominent advantages of online education is its easy accessibility. A stable Web connection and a Web-enabled electronic device are all one needs to access necessary learning resources. From live online classes to research archives to digital libraries, vast information sources are available at your fingertips at the blink of an eye. Compounded with fast access speeds and uninterrupted connectivity, online education is changing the landscape of learning at an unprecedented rate.
Easy accessibility and widespread availability is another major plus point of online learning. Students get to learn at their own leisure, learn from different sources of information the way they want to. Online learning courses offer all a convenient method of learning from any corner of the world. You get to choose your own learning schedule, study materials and mode of dispersal. Such ample freedom and flexibility offer numerous benefits to people of all ages, enabling both the young and old to learn as they wish.
Nowadays, single mothers pursue masters in education courses online, and full-time job goers enroll in online programming courses. The flexible nature of online learning truly changed the demographic of academics.
A Viable Alternative Mode of Learning
The COVID -19 disaster brought human society to a standstill. With schools & colleges shut indefinitely, online learning remains the only viable source of imparting education. Teachers and professors around the world are using the Internet and online classroom applications such as Virtual Classroom, BrainCert, Google Classroom etc. with increasing frequency. Lectures, assignments, projects and assessments—teachers are delivering all with success through these apps.
As the global lockdown extends indefinitely, online classes remain the only viable means of education right now.
Access to copious amounts of information
Whether via online learning courses or through virtual classrooms, information is widely available at every juncture. Even those who undertake self-learning have an ocean of information available at a click, courtesy the Internet.
Students access the digital versions of their school libraries, get to learn from expertly written study materials and get in touch with their contemporaries from around the world. All such possibilities make online learning one of the best methods of imparting education.
Yet, like every single thing on God’s green Earth, digital learning has its own set of debilitating drawbacks. A brief mention of those disadvantages and how both methods complement each other's disadvantages are discussed in the following section.
Key Differences between Online Education & Traditional Education
Online learning is increasingly becoming the preferred mode of education across all ages. As time goes by, people of all ages and from walks of life are availing digital education, using it to realize their potential and achieve their unfulfilled dreams. But the significant drawbacks of online education can be quite damaging as evident from the points below:
- Procrastination and indiscipline are flaws that might creep in due to excessive freedom flexibility.
- Poor time management hampers learning.
- Online education removes the social aspect of learning which leads to a myriad of problems.
- Lack of a proper mentor causes serious impediments to one’s learning outcomes.
Whether you are pursuing an online education degree or trying to learn through virtual classrooms during the quarantine, the drawbacks of online education have the potential to disrupt your learning process.
Yet, the very features of online learning make it the most suitable alternative to its traditional counterpart.
Summing up the differences between online education & traditional education, we can say,
- Online education removes the limitation of traditional education, yet is void of the social elements that help our minds learn better.
- Traditional methods offer a controlled & disciplined environment but limited access to information sources.
- Online courses offer ample freedom of learning, a freedom that has the potential for misuse.
- The traditional education system involves a dedicated mentor guiding students in a classroom. Accessibility and affordability are major constraints that anyone can face anytime.
Hence, a healthy blend of traditional and technological methods goes a long way in resolving their particular limitations. Blended learning is an up & coming mode of learning that offers the perfect balance of both the systems; students attend traditional schools on a part-time basis and complete their classes online.
As we progress into the future, a healthy dose of both traditional education & online education is the best way of administering comprehensive education.
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