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Traditional Learning vs. Online Learning Essay

Which type of learning is better, traditional or online? As we all know, attending a college or university is nothing new. For the longest time the biggest issues for students were which school to attend and how to pay for it. However, with new and constant developments in modern technology these students are faced with a new problem: which type of learning is better, traditional or online? Students are not the only ones dealing with this dilemma; schools are also presented with the same issue. Not only do schools have to be concerned with which type of learning is best for their students but also which type of learning is best for their faculty as well. There is much controversy over which type of learning/teaching is better. It can be difficult to decide on one or the other when both traditional and online learning are effective. There are those how believe that traditional learning is the way to go. These people favor this way of learning because students have more access to resources, it is easier and more rewarding for teachers, and finally employer’s value degrees earned the traditional way from traditional schools.

Those who feel that traditional learning is better justify their position by citing many claims. Some of these claims include there are more resources and interactions available to students. For example, students are physically separated from the campus which effects the interaction a student can have with faculty and/or peers and campus offices. A student without these advantages can suffer academically. Social integration is considered an important part of school life. Some other claims these supporters of traditional learning may have are that face-to-face learning in more personal and fulfilling for teachers and students and can also be less perturbing for teachers. Teachers won’t have to rework the material they teach for online learning which can be time consuming.

Teacher could also be unfamiliar with technology and tools needed for online learning. This could make it more difficult to develop concrete teaching practices. Online learning can be impersonal and relationally unrewarding for teachers. The interaction that teachers have with students can provide job satisfaction. Students can get to know their instructors because they see them before and after class, this and build a relationship and teachers can become mentors. Online learning can cause teachers to miss out on sharing and experiencing the excitement and passion a student can have for the class. For example, a student’s facial expressions and the reaction they have to an instructors lecture can be rewarding.

Finally, supporters of traditional learning claim that an employer will prefer someone with a traditional degree over an online one. Employers tend to look for applicants that can demonstrate good public interaction and a mastery of communication. How can online learning provide this? Studies show employers also prefer candidates with traditional degrees over online ones. Given the choice between two equal can for a job, employers have indicated that they would hire the person with a traditional degree over someone with a degree from a virtual institution (Carnevale 1). Online courses can create a disadvantage when a student is looking for work. In addition to this, there have been some online institutions that have been found to be fraudulent establishments or non-accredited. Employers can often question a student’s training and the education they have received if their degrees are from unfamiliar schools.

I agree with the opposition’s point of view on the way an employer will look at a student’s educational background. Some employer’s will almost certainly judge an applicant on the school they have attended. I also agree that if a student is physically separated from a campus this can result in a lack of opportunities for academic success and social integration which are important for students. However, I believe that online learning is just as good if not better in many ways and should not affect a student. I feel that the education you receive from online learning is the same material that is taught in the traditional way. This material is just presented in a way that is better for modern students. Traditional learners however, may also lack the skills to be effective learners. For students who take traditional classes over online classes may lack motivation to be independent learners. In spite of these differences it is safe to assume that both sides want students to enjoy and excel in school no matter if it is traditional or online. Both sides are obviously concerned about the importance of education. Otherwise the argument over whether traditional or online learning is better would not be a debatable issue.

There are others, like myself, who feel that online learning is better. The supporters of this back their claim by stating that online classes can be more beneficial for teachers and students. For example, fewer distractions in a classroom like other students disrupting class. Students can come into class late after the teacher has already started class and cause a disruption or talk during the class. With online classes the student can control their environment. Also, a teacher can provide in writing just the basic information a student needs for an assignment. This way there is less of a chance for the student to get confused on the assignment when the topic gets off track in an open discussion. Getting information directly from the teacher to the student is more convenient and easier. Many teachers provide their contact information online so if a student gets off track they can personally email, call, or meet with their instructor with any questions they may have. With online learning more students can attend a class without it affecting the classroom as a whole. Normally having too many students in an actual classroom is a negative thing. However, with online classes it does not matter. There is a higher student to teacher ratio without affecting the overall classroom. In addition to this, schools no longer need the same amount of classroom space.

Online classes are more effective because they are more challenging. A student does not have peers to interact with and has to actively search for answers to an assignment. A student has to use their own resources and discussion boards to find these answers. All of this independent learning can help a student to remember more of the information they found on their own instead of having it handed to them. Students who took all of their classes online performed better than those who took the same course via traditional face-to-face learning (Visser 177).

The final reason that makes online learning better than traditional learning is it is much more convenient or easier to attend. It is a fact that not everyone can make it class every day. Just like not everyone can make it to work every day. Missing class may not be on purpose but sometimes things can come up. Some people have kids and cannot afford to get a babysitter, some may not have a vehicle, or some students might have a job in addition to school and their job might keep them from attending class. Keeping this in mind there are also students that are disabled and online classes are easier for them to attend. Whether it is because they are unable to drive, afraid of other students making fun of their disability, or they are unable to leave their house due to medical reasons. Online classes allow students to attend class on their schedule and not have to worry about missing too many days.

We must be careful not to draw a broad conclusion on the effectiveness of online learning and traditional learning. For now we can safely say that online course work for some students in some subjects and traditional course work works for other students in other subjects. (Casement 17) Keeping this in mind, I purpose a compromise in which hybrid learning is an accepted norm. There will always be students who will prefer traditional learning just like there will always been students who prefer online learning. Some form of hybrid learning can work with some restrictions. I feel that teachers should provide each individual student with the option of attending the class traditionally or online. By having each individual teacher offer the student the choice the teacher can still have job satisfaction and the student can not only enjoy school more but also choose the type of learning that best suits them. For example, the student must be present for the first day of class so the teacher can know who is in his or her class. After the first day the student can choose which way they would prefer to learn.

The instructor can make it mandatory for students to come to class for major quizzes or tests to prevent cheating if they wanted. The instructor could also post all the grades for all students online to make it easier on the teacher and so the students can have access to their grades at any time. With this method students can get the best of both worlds and it can help to further their education. I also believe this can help make work less stressful for teachers. By working out so sort of hybrid learning, it allows teachers the initial interaction with all of their students but then allowing their students to choose which type of learning works best for them. I feel that when a teacher sees that their students is doing well in their class, no matter which type of learning the student prefers, it can be rewarding for the teacher. I believe that hybrid learning can be a fair compromise that can benefit everyone more than it could inconvenience them.

Works Cited

Agosto, Denise E., Andrea J. Copeland, and Lisl Zach. “Testing the Benefits of Blended Education: Using Social Technology to Foster Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing In Face-To-Face LIS Courses.” Journal Of Education For Library & Information Science 54.1 (2013): 94-107. Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. Carnevale, Dan. “Employers Still Prefer Traditional Degrees Over Online Learning, Study Finds.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 5 (2005): General OneFile. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. Casement, William. “Will Online Learning Lower The Price Of College?.” Journal Of College Admission 220 (2013): 14-18. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Apr. 2014. Visser, Lya. Trends And Issues In Distance Education: International Perspectives. Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Pub, 2012. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

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