Technology and education has given students many choices in how they obtain their education such as online classes. There have been numerous discussions recently about the success of online learning. The success of the online classes versus traditional classes is based upon the uniqueness of each individual way of learning. Online classes and traditional classes provide flexibility, direct communication and course materials. Studies have shown that online classes can be successful and that on average most students perform better than being in a traditional classroom.
The argument of online classes and traditional classes; which is better than the other has many exceptional differences. One is the discussion of how does a person learn: is he a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner? A visual leaner needs written materials, exercises and graphics. An auditory learner has to hear it, repeat it and needs to have a discussion. A kinesthetic learner needs real life simulations, hands on demonstration and needs to see how the principle works. Visual learners and kinesthetic learners most likely would be more successful in online courses because of the atmosphere it provides. Auditory learners would need to have traditional classes which would provide the best learning opportunity for their learning style. There are cases that individuals do not know how they learn best; an assessment should be given in the situation.
The second discussion is flexibility. Online classes and traditional classes both can be just as flexible as the other. Online classes may seem more flexible but depending on the class the deadlines of each assignment may be very time consuming. Online classes sometimes provide more work than traditional classes. Traditional classes can be flexible due to the times that you select to take the classes. Schools are providing more night classes and early morning classes for the working and family-oriented students. Traditional classes provide more lecturing and sometimes more hands on in order to teach the concepts.
The third discussion is communication. Online classes communicate by sending and receiving emails. Some classes have chat rooms for discussions which provide the students opportunities to enrich their understanding of the course or subject being discussed. It also allows those individuals that normally would not speak in discussions to express their thoughts. The instant transfer of material is convenient for the students and professors to communicate. A traditional class allows students to verbally exchange ideas and ask questions directly to the professors. Sometimes this environment does not allow the students to fully express themselves due to time constraints. Some people feel that there are communication barriers in a face to face classroom setting due to time and class structure. (Anderson)
One of the most important debates between the two classes is the course materials. The question has been asked if the online course is giving adequate material to teach an individual a lesson. Studies show that online professors give more than enough resources to express the subject and also gives practice graded material to ensure that the student understands. Traditional classes have been accused of doing the opposite and taking for granted that the students are in their presence and extra resources are sometimes a rarity.
Online classes allow a person to minimize their distractions and it gives them the ability to fully concentrate on the material they are presented with. A person that enrolls in an online course should be self-motivated in order to be in an environment that requires the individual to monitor themselves and be responsible to handle the course as if it was a traditional course. (Kassop) Online courses provide the ability to be accessible at all times but the work that is required should be quality work. The students’ writing ability will enhance because this is their only form of communication. (Kassop) The professors do not expect students to procrastinate because of the accessibility but the possibility is there. The professors of these courses expect more from the online students since there are not time restraints. Online students have the ability to form small groups to relate to because the workload in online course is difficult. The workload is believed to be difficult because of the apparent reason of teaching themselves.
Traditional classes allow students social interaction which is a vital piece for many students. There is a set amount of time in a classroom setting and there is limited one on one interaction with the professor. Professors have the ability to read their students body language to assure them if the material or concept is being understood by his or her students. Traditional classes also allow students to get behind if they miss a day or an assignment. The traditional classroom allows the students to strengthen various areas of their social skills such as verbally expressing themselves in classroom discussions.
There are differences and similarities in online courses and traditional courses. Throughout are reading and research there can be two conclusions:
1. Online courses are better than traditional courses if the individual is discipline to take the course.
2. Online courses and traditional courses are just as good as the other because they both have the same goals and are achieving the goals to the students that are willing to receive.
Anderson, Terry, & Elloumi, Fathi Theory and Practice of Online Learning (eds.) (2003)
Angiello, Roanne. “Study Looks at Online Learning vs. Traditional Instruction.” Education
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Kassop, Mark. The Technology Source. May/June 2003. 6 August 2011