Is online learning as effective as face to face learning?
As more and more time sis passing the scope of technology with its ever-widening parameters is only proving one thing- that it can replace everything! One cannot deny that online learning is the need of the hour, whether it is the ongoing pandemic, or various national conflicts, technology has surpassed the need for the teacher and the pupil to be in the same room to gain knowledge. All one needs a good internet connection and a computer.
The best part about online learning is the ease of convenience that it provides. It ensures that the student can learn from wherever they want. From the very comfort of their homes they can go through numerous classes and cover vast expanses of knowledge during the entire course of the day without having to worry about the transport safety or availability. The instant connectivity ensures that the only aspect of this entire process- education, is not lost. All the other external variables that are subjected to change due to any outside influence are removed.
The added flexibility that allows you to set your own pace can be extremely beneficial for professional who want to learn and work. It can also be advantageous for people who do not have access to education in their respective areas of residence. This statement means a whole lot more if you are coming from an area of conflict and the only source of knowledge is internet. Online learning then is literally your window to the outer world( Anderson 2004).
It also creates a sense of commitment in both the teacher and the students because each of these online classes have to be meticulously planned and carefully executed as per that plan. Face to face learning involves more spontaneity but it also involves the undeniable factor of influencing the success of a pupil. In an online learning environment, the pace and the framework make the teacher and the pupil extremely accountable where they can both adequately understand the extent of their progress (Collison 2000).
Online learning actually demands students’ feedback for further advancement- this implies that a teacher cannot keep proceeding without ensuring and understanding if the students are on the same page as them. It is necessary for the student to understand what has been taught because the nature of the facilitation can be quite overwhelming at first. In contrast with traditional teaching method, online learning is completely dedicated to process of learning instead of the age-old objective of just “completing the syllabus “(Pallof 2010)
This helps in building a more informal, comfortable and personal space for learning where the facilitator ahs an exact idea about the progress of their student. Online learning has another discernible advantage of limiting distractions. Unlike traditional learning methods where the learning takes place amongst a group, in an online learning classroom, the only distraction is yourself. There is singular objective of expanding your mind without having to worry about the class clown wasting your time. It can be assumed that in the near future, the seamlessness of an online class will actually be able to help students understand and learn more than they ever could in traditional classroom setting simply because of the amount of time that is wasted in the latter.
Students are now under no obligation to follow a certain pace in order to “keep up “and they get the personalised attention to help them understand better. The sense of accountability and importance of focus helps them become better learners and reduces the wastage of time that would otherwise disrupt traditional classroom experiences.
Because of the complexities that are involved in understanding the virtual environment, online classes will actually help students become more flexible with virtual communication and collaboration. Infact one of the first dilemmas of first dilemmas associated with online learning was the lack of personal touch and loos of understanding about group dynamics. As more and more work settings and company requirements shift to the imminent need for virtual work hours, it becomes crucial for a student to understand the intricacies of the same. The working population of today and tomorrow is expected to be extremely well versed with all the arenas of technology so as to create a smooth working environment online learning classes is where students can pick this up and become more and more comfortable with working remotely.
Participating in discussion panels with your classmates online demonstrating presentations online learning coding and various other skills will make you extremely efficient and improve your overall communication process as you will try to make the most of the time you get( DD Curtis, 2001)
Whether we consider the aspects of globalization or improving your own understanding of cross-cultural differences, the scope and extent of online learning classes has no boundaries. Students from all over the world are able to get access to a plethora of perspectives simply because of the boon that is online learning. Yes, the personalized dynamic objective of the face to face learning cannot be replaced, understanding the need of the hour to create the best of learning situation is of paramount importance( Anderson, 2008)
Students are no longer limited to their immediate group for interactions and insight and can actually knowledge from anywhere in the world and this can be extremely helpful in development of your collaboration methods and critical thinking skills as you cannot help but think out of the box. The constant need for skill development or upgradation will also keep the spark of curiosity blazing through the months where you get exposure to what is being taught around the world and understand your capacity to innovate and become more culturally aware.
Online learning has been around since 1982, and the incremental pace at which it has been increasing only elaborates the significant overhaul in creation of virtual learning and writing spaces. The flexibility, the lower costs the increased skills are an unbelievable range of advantages that will not only equip the students of today to become better worker of tomorrow, but it will propel them towards a level of accountability that makes them more creative and valuable to any organisation they choose to work for.
Anderson, Terry, ed. The theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca University Press, 2008.
Curtis, David D., and Michael J. Lawson. "Exploring collaborative online learning." Journal of Asynchronous learning networks 5.1 (2001): 21-34.
Collison, George, et al. Facilitating online learning: Effective strategies for moderators. Atwood Publishing, 2710 Atwood Ave., Madison, WI 53704, 2000.
Anderson, Terry. "Towards a theory of online learning." Theory and practice of online learning 2 (2004): 109-119.
Palloff, Rena M., and Keith Pratt. Collaborating online: Learning together in community. Vol. 32. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.
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