We are now in age of the fourth industrial revolution – Technology. As it transforms major industries, life has become more interconnected, blurring the lines between the personal and professional with a growing number of sectors and companies becoming operationally mobile. The education industry has also slowly but surely attempted to accommodate these shifting demand trends, bringing with it a unique set of challenges. As Covid-19 changed the world and the education landscape with it, distance education and online learning became proliferated by necessity, raising questions about the differences between them. This articles covers the 5 differences between online learning vs classroom learning.
- Online Learning vs Classroom Learning #1: No Human Interaction: The most obvious difference someone thinks of when comparing the two is the perceived lack of human interaction, however this isn’t technically true. The correct way to phrase this would be ‘no physical interaction’. Classroom Learning involves physical interactions with a teacher and peers, while online learning transfers this component to a virtual environment. So while there is human interaction, it happens online via virtual lectures, virtual discussions, face-to-face video workshops etc.
- Online Learning vs Classroom Learning #2: 24/7 access to learning materials: With online courses, students can always access learning materials such as module contents, assignments, lecture materials, podcasts and recorded sessions anytime during the course of their studies. For postgraduate courses module tutors are always there to assist with any questions through emails, messages and Skype calls. With Classroom Learning, be it for a school or university courses, a student has to visit the physical location to speak with tutors face to face, during assigned hours. This can be limiting, especially for working professionals.
- Online Learning vs Classroom Learning #3: Practice while you study: For University courses, Online Learning students can fit studies around their work schedules, and can immediately practice new concepts learned by applying them in their current scope of work. With classroom learning university courses, this is not often the case. Since students have to leave their job and social commitments to complete a degree programme, they will only be able to practice the new knowledge once they have re-joined the workforce. When it comes to schools and younger learners, a lot of Online Learning tools and apps help students understand concepts on a deeper level by providing problems they can interact and solve with in different ways. For example, logic puzzles or math puzzles that aren’t the cut and dry ‘solve for x’ prevalent in classroom learning.
- Online Learning vs Classroom Learning #4: Assessments: The Classroom Learning method of assessing a student’s capabilities is usually through quizzes and exams, most often one in a physical setting invigilated by an examiner. Covid-19 has made this method of assessment (temporarily) redundant. In Online Learning, assessments are undertaken via assignments, which can be either individual or group-based, providing an opportunity for students to form study groups that support each other and learn from their differing experiences. In rarer cases, online, open-book exams are also used as an assessment medium, however the latter is more popular.
- Online Learning vs Classroom Learning #4: Agility: Course materials can be accessed from anywhere in the world, regardless of differences in time zones, the location of the student, or their current status. From a busy working professional studying online in the late hours of the evening, to a stay at home mum brushing up their knowledge before getting back on the job market, online learning provides the much needed flexibility to study and finish a degree at each one’s own pace.
As universities recognise the need of the modern workforce for education, learning and development, online programmes were developed with various specialisations to cater to professionals from different fields, industries and experiential backgrounds. It is no longer an absolute requirement to travel to a campus to study the programme, as our partner UK universities have a global reach, providing their distance learning courses to various countries worldwide.
The online mode of learning also inculcates a sense of discipline amongst students as they have to beself-motivated to finish their assignments and degree requirements to graduate on time. With student support always available to online students, they are guaranteed to successfully finish their degree course with a little commitment and dedication. At Stafford, we endeavour to assist students with choosing the right programme and help them successfully apply in joining thousands of students, all studying the same qualification worldwide.