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There are different ways to access higher education, either through online education or traditional education. For centuries, online education could not compare to traditional education. Today, online education competes with traditional education in many ways. Though online education has become very popular, how does one know which is best for him or her? Identifying the pros and cons through flexibility, communication, interaction, skills development, and affordability will help the student decide the best option. Although online education seems to be taking over the traditional means of education, both are great options in different ways.
The bottom line is that the world is becoming technologically smart. For one juggling home, school, and a job, it can be difficult commuting to class every day. Online education eliminates the need to attend class. Online courses allow the student to access coursework from an Internet site. Motivated, responsible, independent learners can work at their own pace, whenever is suitable for them. This allows the flexibility that a traditional classroom setting does not provide. However, one who struggles to be self-motivated may fall quickly behind. In a traditional classroom setting the student has to attend class on campus.
Traditional education is for a learner who needs more lecturing to understand and also needs to be able to ask questions as he or she learns. A student who is enrolled at a traditional university gets the chance to take advantage of the university’s facilities. These facilities include places like the student union and the gym. If the student chooses online education, the student has to make sure he or she has a computer, Internet usage, and a backup plan in case he or she has a computer failure. Though flexibility is important in choosing which option is best, there are many other things that should be taken into consideration.
Communication and interaction is an important factor in learning. Online education does not offer the face-to-face interaction traditional education offers. Online courses provide interactions between the student and the content, interactions with other students, and interactions with the instructor using different forms of computer- mediated communication. These interactions take place through e-mail, chat, and discussion threads. Traditional education allows the student to have direct contact with the instructor to ask questions with instant feedback.
An online student is in a class with instructors and students from all over the world whom they will never meet face-to-face. Traditional education allows the student to interact and to meet new people, which results in a growth in contacts and networking opportunities. For the student who strives on the quick exchange of ideas between the instructor and the student, the classroom environment may be a better option. On the other hand, a student who experiences anxiety when called on to speak during class may prefer the time given to reflect on his or her responses offered by online courses.
Communication provided by both online education and traditional education allows a convenient way for the student to communicate with the instructor and classmates, thus producing a great learning environment. The main reason a student is enrolled in school is to learn and develop new skills. Though online education allows a student to learn in a comfortable, quiet environment, without being distracted by others, online education may be difficult for a learner who has a hard time learning without direct, face-to-face interaction with the instructor.
Traditional education allows teacher-student interaction and instant feedback that online learning cannot provide. Depending on the interaction level in a classroom setting, a shy student may attend class without providing communication ideas, which forces the student to learn by a vocal exchange with the instructor. This may limit one’s ability to learn. Online education is not for a student who struggles learning from books or other written material. Online courses involve a lot of writing practice because there is little opportunity for questions to get answered verbally.
In a traditional classroom setting, the students have the ability to exchange ideas and information with each other, as well as directly with the instructor. Questions are answered immediately, as opposed to waiting for an online response. The instructor is also able to focus on a particular subject, inspiring the student in a way that learning through an online course cannot. However, online courses offer some unique opportunities for learning and developing skills, but it is important to be familiar with computers before deciding on online schooling. One of the most crucial factors about achieving higher education is cost.
Both online and traditional education can incur a lot of debt. Online education, in most cases, is less expensive. Traditional education is more expensive, especially considering tuition fees, accommodations, and transportation. Enrolling in an online course eliminates the money that has to be spent on gas, parking, or childcare. There is no need for expensive housing, since the student does not live on campus. Another pro of schooling online is textbooks can be downloaded to the computer instead of spending money to purchase them. There are options for paying for schooling.
Online education and traditional education both offer financial aid packages, including loans and grants. There are different types of loans a student may qualify for, which has a time frame of when it has to be paid back. Overall, before the student decides which option is suitable for him or her, he or she must know the cost of enrolling and have a plan in place to repay to avoid a lot of debt. The choices of online education and traditional education are both excellent options to pursue higher education. Online education programs can be an awarding experience for a student wanting to earn a degree at his or her own pace.
Studies have shown that a student who is mature, independent, and self-motivated becomes very successful in the online classroom. Studies have also shown that a student who is a dependent learner may find it challenging to take on the responsibility of an online program, thus making an extremely successful student in a traditional classroom setting. Ultimately, the student makes the final choice as to which educational program suits him or her by carefully identifying the pros and cons through flexibility, communication, interaction, skills development, and affordability.