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Online vs In Person Classes
Introduction
Online vs In Person Classes
What is Online Learning?
Online vs In Person Classes
What is Traditional Learning or In Person Learning?
Online vs In Person Classes
Online vs In Person Classes
Online vs In Person Classes
Why is Online School Better?
Online vs In Person Classes
Online Teaching vs Classroom Teaching
Online vs In Person Classes
Online vs In Person Classes – which is better?
Online vs In Person Classes
Additional Resources

Online vs In Person Classes

Online vs In Person Classes

The debate between Online vs In Person classes has been ongoing for quite some time now. Each type of class has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before deciding which one is right for you. In this article, we will take a closer look at both online and traditional classes so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. 


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What is Online Learning?

Online learning is a type of remote learning that takes place over the internet. It might be teacher-led at a set time (synchronous) or student-led and unguided exploration of the content (asynchronous). Text, pictures, and video are all viable options for providing the content. Additionally, components like online evaluation and interactive activities can be incorporated into online classes. 


What is Traditional Learning or In Person Learning?

Traditional education occurs in a classroom with a teacher who develops and delivers a lesson on a particular topic. The teacher can employ a variety of pedagogical methods, including chalk or whiteboard presentations, student presentations, group or partner work, and individual exercises or activities. Quizzes in class or informal assessments might be held, as well as homework tasks. 


Online vs In Person Classes – Key Differences

I. Location  

Students may not have a wide range of educational opportunities if they live in a tiny town in a developing country. Similarly, if a student wants to study a specific subject or learn from a particular teacher, they may need to relocate to the city or town where the school is located. This issue is addressed through online learning. The same information is available at all locations – from a village to a metropolis, provided there is internet connectivity. This makes the geographic area a key differentiator between online and traditional classes. 

II. Interaction 

The interaction with the teacher and fellow students is one of the key highlights (and advantages) of a traditional classroom setting. Social learning encompasses informal chats, group work, and classroom interactions. Teachers can use forums or breakout rooms for group work to imitate comparable interactions in an online learning environment, but informal meetings in classrooms, corridors, or break rooms are difficult to replicate online. It is not uncommon for some students to report feeling lonely when taking online classes since studying via a screen and browser at home or work does not require human contact. 

III. Self-Discipline 

A typical classroom setup provides a well-structured, well-organized lesson plan and schedule. Students must attend a class at a specified hour or miss the lesson and the teacher’s material. The teacher, whose job is to provide material to students entertainingly and engagingly, and fellow students, who may debate course content before or after class, motivate each other. 

On the other hand, online students set the learning speed and must be self-disciplined enough to devote time each day to completing course material. They may be required to complete all components of an online course by a specific date. This is open-ended in other circumstances. While there may be online discussion boards or the option of video conference or instant communication with other students for students taking an online course, students must motivate themselves to continue and finish their online education. 

IV. Flexibility  

In most cases, traditional classes are held at a fixed time and location. Students are given a weekly schedule of their classes, and the teachers expect them to show up for a class at the designated hour. If a student has missed a class, there may be an opportunity to catch up on some work, but it will almost certainly be of lower quality than the lesson initially delivered. Also, if a student misses too many scheduled classes, they may be denied the opportunity to write the final exam. For some students with outside commitments, such as family or career, this time dependency makes traditional schooling problematic. In situations like these, online education offers much-needed headroom and flexibility. Students can access a course at any time of day or night and work through the material at their own pace. They will get the same lesson content as other students who finish the course, and they will not be penalized if they do not log in at the same time. 

Furthermore, asynchronous classes are easier to take up in an online learning environment. Students can complete courses whenever they have time because there is no specific completion date. Most online courses have established completion requirements, such as reading or watching all content and completing an online evaluation, rather than set online time restrictions. Therefore, students who work full-time or need to care for a family member will benefit from the flexibility given by online learning. 

V. Cost 

The rising costs of master’s degrees have become a chief deciding factor for most students. Although there are scholarships and grants available for the taking, the cost of higher education can be prohibitively high, with student boarding, lodging, meals, transport, general living expenses, etc., to consider. Online classes take away most such costs in that students can sit in the comfort of their homes and not have to worry about commuting to college or living in a dorm. Generally speaking, online programs tend to cost less than their traditional counterparts. So, while conventional schooling can be an excellent choice for many students, those for whom cost is a critical factor would most likely prefer online schooling. 


Why is Online School Better?

There are several advantages of online classes, some of which are:

  1. Flexibility of Schedule – As previously mentioned, one of the direct contrasts between traditional and online education is flexibility. It is also one of the most significant advantages for students who, for example, must work or are unable to attend classes at a specific time or location. This freedom also allows students to choose courses they are passionate about but may not wish to pursue as a career and schedule courses and learn at their own time and pace. 
  2. Cost Benefits – Online education is frequently less expensive than traditional or in-person education. This cheaper cost is due to the lower physical infrastructure required and the fact that institutions do not need to hire a full-time teacher to run a program. Nevertheless, an increasing number of online programs are being offered at a cost comparable to a typical traditional college or high school degree. 
  3. Availability of Choice – Students who enroll in an online course have a much more comprehensive range of topics to choose from than in a traditional classroom setting. This means one can study things that are not offered to students in one’s city or town or specialty subjects that are only offered at specific schools. 
  4. Notes & Material – With online learning, class notes and readings can be made digitally available to students for re-use, customization, and enhancement as needed by the student to aid their learning. Digital materials can be updated with new or more relevant content as needed, ensuring that students have access to the most up-to-date information in their field. 
  5. Recordings & Archives – Online students have the option to record online lectures and make them available for themselves to view again. This is especially useful for those who may have missed a live lecture or for playback to reinforce concepts and lessons.   
  6. Special Classes (Value ADD) – In a traditional setup, institutions must make several arrangements to invite an expert or professional to conduct a lesson for a specific class or classes, which can greatly inconvenience this guest lecturer. It is far easier to ask them to deliver a lecture online, where they can take time out of their day while remaining at their desk. This also permits instructors from all around the country or the world to share their knowledge with students. Additionally, special classes and guest lectures can be frequent and add value to one’s education. 
  7. Options for Interaction – If the instructor or teacher is experienced with digital communication tools, the student may have more opportunities to ask questions or participate in discussions with the teacher. Email, instant messaging apps, online forums, and discussion groups are all options for contact, where peers, teachers, and experts can meet as they like. This facilitates doubt-clearance, and healthy discussions, debates, and deliberations. 
  8. Location – One of the most significant advantages of online classes is that students can attend classes from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection.  
  9. Parity with Traditional Degrees – One of the best things about online programs is that the degree they lead to is on par with a degree from traditional learning. Employers do not distinguish between offline and online programs, which is a huge plus point for those who have opted for online classes.

What are the Disadvantages of Online Classes?

So, what are the disadvantages of online classes? Some disadvantages are:   

  1. Lack of Self-Motivation – Self-motivation and time management skills are essential for online learning because there is no established schedule. In some situations where there is no teacher, online students require to motivate themselves even more than usual to complete their course obligations.   
  2. Lack of Dedication – Compared to traditional students, online students may find it challenging to be dedicated to their educational commitments. It is not uncommon for students to procrastinate, which is a traditional student trait of putting anything off until the last minute. It is much easier to delay participating in an online class or fall behind in submitting assignments because most online programs have no enforced rules or clear deadlines. 
  3. Time Constraints – Many professors and teachers create extended lessons that result in students having to deal with additional reading or watching of reference material. Teachers tend to do this to reinforce concepts because they cannot gauge the ‘pulse’ of their online students, unlike in a traditional classroom. This results in a student’s time commitment being greater than that of a student in a regular classroom setting. 
  4. Social Isolation – Some students, especially those who do not work or participate in other activities, may feel socially isolated while taking an online course. Even while there are opportunities to communicate with other students online, it is difficult to mimic the informal chats and discussions that take place in a typical classroom setting. 
  5. Poor Communication – Interpersonal communication skills can be honed by paying attention in class, participating in discussions, advocating for one’s own stance, and being open to the points of view of others. Because these abilities are more difficult to learn in an asynchronous online course, traditional classrooms have an edge here. 
  6. Cheating – Students in both online and brick-and-mortar schools have been known to cheat on exams. Keeping track of an online assessment is tough for a teacher since students may open a browser to search for answers or message other students for assistance. This puts diligent and honest students at a disadvantage. 
  7. Health Hazards – Online classes that may take up several hours a day can pin students to one spot, giving little room for basic movement and activity. Consequently, students can end up with repetitive strain injuries, stiffness in joints, irritable eyes, and other health complications. Therefore, online students need to ensure they get some exercise and take frequent breaks from their screens. 

What are the Advantages of Traditional Classes?

As with online classes, there are several advantages of traditional classes, too, some of which are:  

  1. Ability to Work in Groups –  A traditional classroom experience entails the interaction between students and working together on group projects. Students have the opportunity to build relationships with their professors and classmates. Although online students do interact and work with others, they lack the social connection and informal learning opportunities that a classroom setting provides. 
  2. Effective Communication – Critical interpersonal skills are developed by sitting in a classroom with other students and learning to engage with a teacher. These abilities are helpful in a variety of settings in both students’ personal and professional lives. Furthermore, having to ask questions in front of an entire class or discuss one’s point of view in front of a teacher helps students gain confidence in their public speaking abilities. These skills are harder to develop through online learning. 
  3. More Confidence – In a classroom setting, where a group of students collaborates with a teacher to solve a problem, pupils gain intellectual confidence in their abilities to tackle new subjects. In turn, this makes it easier to stay motivated when taking a traditional class. 
  4. Better at Handling Pressure – In a traditional classroom, work is completed according to a defined schedule with deadlines and timings. Students must learn to work under high-pressure situations – meeting deadlines, managing independent and group activity, etc. – a talent that can be applied to various aspects of their lives. 

What are the Disadvantages of Traditional Classes?

Some of the disadvantages of traditional classes would be:  

  1. Higher Costs – Conventional classroom-based classes usually have higher costs than online ones. Traditional learning may usually come with additional costs of transport, meals, domicile, materials, etc. Students who were working and needed to quit to finish their studies would feel the pinch of high fees and notional income loss almost immediately.  
  2. More Rigidity – Traditional learning does not allow much flexibility for students who may need to work or care for their families because of a defined timetable, assignment deadlines, mandatory study hours, and tests scheduled on specific days. Similarly, a student’s course options would be limited in a traditional school structure. It is also impossible to take up a class remotely from any part of the world, unlike online learning. Class times can be inflexible and difficult to work around. 
  3. Limited Support – Depending on the class size, subject, and the lecturer or teacher, students may have limited direct engagement with them. This could be a problem for pupils who require remedial help or want to participate in extracurricular activities. Students will usually have to wait for a teacher’s schedule to clear up for extra assistance or clarify doubts. 


Online Teaching vs Classroom Teaching

Both online and classroom training have been beneficial in various settings. Online learning may even be more effective in some cases. This is dependent on the student, the technology infrastructure, and the subject studied. Student participation is one of the most important aspects of a successful online learning experience. In a traditional classroom, the teacher regularly monitors student involvement and asks specific students for feedback or questions about a topic.  

Student participation is critical to online learning success. New concepts are connected to real-world applications through original project work that focuses on engaging content, community and peer involvement, instructor presence, synchronous meeting capabilities, enhanced video production, and social learning opportunities. 


Online vs In Person Classes – which is better?

The choice is clear for working professionals who grasp the benefits of online classes. Online programs are an excellent way to develop one’s career since they offer flexible scheduling, 360-degree learning, and job-ready skills.  On the other hand, students who prefer a more in-person, face-to-face interaction and a traditional approach to teaching and learning would do well to choose traditional classes. Ultimately, it boils down to one’s learning style, personal preferences, convenience, costs, and time. 


Additional Resources for Online and In Person Students

If this article has addressed the similarities, differences, advantages, and disadvantages of online and traditional classes, be sure to read up on some of our other resource pages. Online Masters Colleges has a selection of interesting, informative topics, including Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning, Online College Courses, Why Online Master’s?, MA vs. MS, and more. Don’t forget to check our site frequently for updates on everything related to education that students must know. 


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