Attending college is no longer a one-alternative path. While in the past, you could only adapt to a schedule set by universities, it has come the time that you can now create your own schedule of lectures.
Hence, there are now two options of learning which are proving to work just fine, whether alone or blended. However, no method works the same for everyone. The same theory applies when choosing a plan that best suits you when absorbing knowledge. So let’s dig a little bit deeper into online learning vs traditional learning, and the perks of both of these educational methodologies. After, maybe you can decide which one to choose to contribute towards building your career.
What Is Brick and Mortar Education?
You can basically understand the context of brick-and-mortar education by its own name. Brick and mortar is the traditional way to attend college, with students coming to campus and attending class in physical classrooms.
Being still the most dominant form of pursuing an education, brick-and-mortar colleges allow students to interact with one another and discuss with teachers face-to-face. Probably this is what keeps this form of traditional learning still so much in demand, as students can communicate with others or ask questions personally to the lecturer. They feel more responsible regarding their exams, towards every deadline that comes their way, and commit to regular attendance.
However, this kind of college lifestyle does not suit the mindset of some other students. Attendance, location, lack of flexibility, and campus life are exactly the components that they find disturbing; therefore, they choose to withdraw. They know that them being late or absent is something that can be held against them later on in exams. Or maybe the schedule of lectures does not comply with their part-time job and makes their attendance in the class impossible. Overall, campus life sounds overwhelming, and little to no flexibility may as well feel like a threat to their willingness to learn. Luckily, technology made other options available to them.
What Is Online Learning?
Online learning is known as the education that takes place over the Internet. Often referred to as “eLearning”, or “distance learning” – online learning involves the umbrella term for any learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom.
Colleges nowadays use LMS (Learning Management Systems) such as Moodle, Blackboard, or similar software as a replacement for classes. Assignments are submitted online, discussions are in a forum format, and emailing professors is very prompt. This excellent learning methodology comes along with convenience, greater flexibility, and greater accessibility. Lessons can be completed around your schedule without leaving home or having to relocate depending on the rain, snow, or sunshine.
Even the costs are shorter as most online programs cost less than brick and mortar. That’s because room and board, parking, books, and attendance fees are not necessary. Still, you get the same benefits and level of knowledge as you would from traditional classrooms. For instance, our online degree programs here at Potomac University are designed and taught by industry professionals. We are dedicated to ensuring that the quality, relevance, and discipline of our online programs are the same as our on-ground programs. The online course presentations are updated regularly, taking into consideration the world’s constant academic evolution in online education.
Some of the cons of online programs may involve a lack of determination, low retention rates, and less social interaction. This is most likely the reason why fewer degree choices are offered online than through traditional learning. But if you have the willingness and commitment, you shouldn’t be discouraged.
Statistics on Online vs. Traditional Learning
Online and traditional learning institutions both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, one thing is for sure: online education is here to stay, and its demand is on the rise. These statistics on how online learning stacks up when compared to traditional learning were gathered in early 2014. Enrollment in online universities continues to increase year after year. But how do these programs compare to traditional, face-to-face education?
Advantages & Disadvantages of Online Learning
- Fewer expenses – Perhaps the greatest perk of online learning is the low cost. Enrolling in an online program means you do not have to commute to class every day or even move to a different state to attend classes. By eliminating travel or moving expenses you automatically save a lot of money on food, books, and school supplies.
- Time-saving – This is kind of a given considering the lack of commute. By simply turning on your computer and joining an online class you save yourself the time it would take to get ready and go to class physically.
- Using technology – Attending online classes means you get to use technology more—thus automatically becoming more tech-savvy.
- More chances for interaction – Although this might sound contradictory, online learning can be great for increasing interaction in a class. An online class creates an environment where even students who are usually shy in traditional classes can participate.
- Isolation – Though it might be great for more reserved students, online classes can create a feeling of isolation for those who thrive by physically interacting with their peers.
- Lack of discipline – Remote learning can be counterproductive for students who lack self-discipline and require constant guidance from their teachers or peers.
- Requires training for instructors – For an online class to go smoothly and carry out its purpose, the professor needs to be trained in how to use the technology required to teach. In addition, instructors need to discover ways to get the best out of their students without them being physically present.
- Technical difficulties – Last but not least, in online learning there are more scenarios when something might go wrong due to technical problems such as loss of audio, video, or even overall connectivity.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Traditional Learning
- Increased interaction – It goes without saying that professors can get more interaction from their students if they are physically present in the classroom as opposed to remote learning.
- Hands-on learning – Traditional learning gives students a sense of security and control over their learning because they are present.
- Experience campus life – A big part of learning in college is being able to interact with all the students on the campus. While this is possible online, traditional classes certainly offer more opportunities.
- Networking – To add on the last advantage, more interaction with other students means you will be able to create a wider network that will help you in the future when you enter the workforce.
- Expensive – Enrolling in a traditional program means you will have to spend more on commute or relocation, food, supplies, etc.
- No flexibility – Unfortunately, if you are also working while studying, in-person classes offer virtually no flexibility in regards to attending classes.
- Time-consuming – Having to physically attend classes will take more of your time than online classes. This includes getting ready and possibly commuting to class.
The enrollment rate in Online Learning
- The total number of students enrolled in online courses: 6,700,000
- Current number of accredited online universities: 275+
- Amount of college students who have enrolled in at least one online course: 30%
- Whether online or in a traditional institution, 67% of college instructors believe video, blogs, podcasts, and other online media are necessary teaching tools.
What are students studying?
Most Popular Bachelor’s Degrees for Traditional Learning
- Elementary Education
Most Popular Bachelor’s Degrees for Online Learning
- Elementary Education
- Health Administration
Student’s perception of online education
- 77% of educators believe that online learning is just as good as traditional learning, if not better.
- Nearly 70% of all students claim online instruction to be as good as or better than in a traditional classroom setting.
- 26% of online students claim to learn better online than in a classroom.
Why is online learning more effective?
Although online learning has some minor disadvantages, the need for online learning, especially during the pandemic, has led to major improvements. Online classes are certainly more inclusive because even those that aren’t that well-off financially, or have other commitments can attend online classes.
Online learners’ score on standardized tests
- The average score of classroom learners: 50th percentile
- The average score of online learners: 59th percentile
- There is a 5:1 ratio by which learners differ
- A 5:1 ratio by which learners differ means that the slowest student takes 5 times as long to learn as the fastest student.
- 90% of these learners will successfully reach higher levels, but only if given enough attention.
- Face-to-face instruction is the best approach to providing these levels of attention.
- Fortunately, 97% of online institutions’ courses offer student/faculty ratios of 25:1 or better.
Online learning vs traditional learning costs
- Online degrees cost as little as 80 times less than traditional degrees
- Total average cost of traditional degrees: $85,000
- Total average cost of online degrees: $30,000
Did all of these stats make you feel determined enough? If so, contact us for more information about our online and classroom-taught degree programs.