With an abundance of technology surrounding us, online learning has become the norm for students, especially for those in higher education. Now as we reflect on events that followed March 2020, when the world was forced to go virtual, it was inevitable that everyone would have to adapt. Businesses and schools had to find ways to make virtual work for them. It was quite an adjustment, and at times posed unprecedented challenges, but it was not as bad as people originally anticipated.
I, for one, completed my Masters of Education online. It was strange at first, as I was used to travelling to campus for lectures, tutorials, or meetings with professors. However, I slowly realized online learning can be just as fun and rewarding. In this post, I’ll highlight some similarities and differences between both modes of learning: classroom and online learning. Though my reflections pertain more to university and college students, you’ll see some applied to elementary and high school students as well.
So, let’s dive right in!
Communication and socializing
With classroom learning, you can ask your professors or teachers for help and collaborate with fellow students on projects. It’s also easy to meet with teachers or tutors during assigned hours. Additionally, you can interact with your friends in a social setting in between classes. Online learning, on the other hand, still allows you to communicate with your teachers, classmates, and friends but in a virtual environment. It also allows teachers to produce innovative learning materials that applies to different learning styles. This is beneficial nowadays as many people learn in different ways or have a multi-modal learning styles.
24/7 access to learning materials and textbooks
Having unlimited access to various learning materials is undeniably a benefit while online learning, especially when you’re working on research essays, opinion-writing pieces, and more. Your teachers and tutors are also easier to communicate with via emails, messages, or video calls. With classroom learning, however, most of your readings might come from a textbook, while any additional readings or resources are posted online by your teacher or tutor.
Flexibility to study
Online learning allows you to study at your own pace in between work and other responsibilities. Sometimes your job goes hand-in-hand with your studies, which will allow you to apply practical concepts at the same time. Furthermore, online tools such as interactive apps or games enable younger students to learn math concepts in a different way. It makes the experience of learning difficult problems more enjoyable. With classroom learning, your time is spent mostly at school, in lectures, or commuting, so you’re not able to immediately apply new concepts if you’re studying full-time.
Assessments and assignments
Classroom learning calls for frequent assessments in the form of pop quizzes, tests, exams, group projects, assignments, and essays. These assessments allow your teachers to gauge how you’re understanding the material. The pandemic removed some of these assessments, because teachers felt they could not properly evaluate their students’ comprehension. As a result, open-book exams and group assignments have become more common, allowing students to support one another and learn to engage interactively.
With course materials readily available online, students can access them from wherever they are no matter what time zone they’re in. Online learning provides you the flexibility to study and pursue the degree you want at your own pace. It’s convenient and works with different lifestyles. Online learning also gives students in high school a taste of what is to come when they go to university or college.
As you can see, classroom and online learning are both beneficial and cater to many of your learning needs. With online learning, you’re able to have an appreciation for the extra time and flexibility to study, while still being able to assist your parents or guardians with housework and other responsibilities. It expands your learning and gives you the continual support you need from your teachers and tutors. You also become more responsible with online learning as technology is so prevalent nowadays that it requires you to complete work on time and independently. The skills you learn from learning online also transfer to other areas of your life, as you learn to be more adaptable and independent.