Is online education good or bad? And is this really the right question?
Associate Professor, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester
From 1995-2002, Eric Fredericksen was a Principal Investigator for grants received from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for ALN (Asynchronous Learning Environments). Eric is a member of the Board of Directors for the Online Learning Consortium (formerly Sloan Consortium), the professional society in higher education focused on quality online education. In 2013, he was honored as a Sloan-C Fellow.
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For the past twenty years, I’ve heard this question asked many times about online education. It might be tempting for enthusiasts to say “of course it is good,” but I see this as a kind of “trick question.” We should consider asking this question in the context of the traditional classroom.
Have our experiences in traditional classroom been stellar? All of us have had great classes in traditional settings and perhaps some that were not. I would suggest that quality and effectiveness of learning are not tied to “mode” of instruction.
In the same way that we can have good (and not so good) traditional classroom courses, we can also have good (and not so good) online courses. Further, re-conceptualizing and converting a traditional classroom course to an online course doesn’t necessarily make it better or worse.
What does the research tell us? And what are the lessons for teaching – and learning – in the future?
Research about online education
An abundance of studies have examined online education. They explore effectiveness through a number of criteria including satisfaction, retention and achievement.
An objective review published by the American Educational Research Association ( How Does Distance Education Compare with Classroom Instruction? A Meta Analysis of the Empirical Literature ) examined the literature between 1985 and 2002.
The authors analyzed 232 studies at all academic levels (K-12 and higher education) examining achievement (based on 57,019 students), attitude (based on 35,365 students) and retention (based on 3,744,869 students) outcomes. This meta-analysis highlighted that some applications of online education were better than classroom instruction and some were worse.
Another notable analysis was published by the US Department of Education in 2010. The Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies found that, on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.
What should we conclude from this?
I believe it tells us that online learning can be effective – but that alone is not a guarantee that it will be effective. It is not predetermined that online education is better (or worse) than a physical classroom.
Perhaps a more important question to ask is, “ How can online education be effective?”
Developing an online course
After two decades of work in and dedication to this field, I believe that we can positively impact the learning experience for students in online courses. A vital aspect of this is the support and assistance provided to faculty who are designing online courses and that we openly discuss the advantages and constraints of this “type of classroom”.
Effective online courses are developed through the systematic design of instruction with emphasis on the achievement of course learning objectives. This rigorous approach to course development and the creation of learning activities (which vary by course) is fundamental to create an effective learning environment and increases the potential for student learning and their construction of new knowledge.
Thoughtful course planning takes best practices (e.g., consistency of course interface and similarly structured course modules) into account and should be complete prior to the start of the course. In one research study it was interesting to note that faculty who go through the process acknowledge that this conscientious approach to pedagogical review also has positive impact in traditional classrooms.
Admittedly, one great advantage of online learning is the enhanced access for students: removing the constraint of commuting to a specific location at a certain time. Annual studies document that millions of students are able to enroll in online courses. But what are the educational advantages of the online classroom?
A common misperception of online education has been that it is an isolating experience for students. In fact, research studies that I have conducted with colleagues show quite the opposite.
Through asynchronous discussion boards, there can be increased interaction, both in quantity and quality, with and among students. These class discussions are not constrained to a small window of time but can transpire over a week or two. This environment allows all students to engage and actively participate in the discussion.
Compare this to a traditional classroom where the discussion might be dominated by a subset of students, while the rest of the class is passive. Every online student can have a voice and be heard. In addition, expanding the time for discussion permits students to reflect and explore additional information, thoughtfully consider the views of their classmates, and then take the time to construct their own contribution, which can lead to higher quality responses.
Another advantage is the ability to facilitate peer review – a beneficial instructional strategy for learners to share their individual views and knowledge with their classmates regarding papers or projects. This feedback benefits the student author and the student reviewer. Managing peer review is significantly easier in my online classroom (a discussion board enables exchanges) compared to my physical classroom with the corresponding constraints, where students would need to bring hard copies of their work to distribute to their classmates and then need to create an additional event to somehow exchange feedback.
Focus on learning
This is not meant as a criticism of the traditional classroom. I have enjoyed teaching in physical spaces for more than 25 years and found the experience rewarding and valuable. I will continue to do so. But I believe we need to be careful not to romanticize the traditional classroom.
Not all traditional learning experiences are equal. There is a significant difference between a lecture in a large auditorium with hundreds of students and a small seminar room with 15 students.
The physical classroom has one advantage – the “spontaneity” of the discussion that can occur. These occasions can be wonderful learning opportunities. This lack of spontaneity has been a constraint in online classes due to the limitations of required bandwidth for live (synchronous) web conferencing. However, some of the technological challenges have recently been alleviated and I am able to complement my online courses with class discussions where students can see and hear each other, regardless of their physical location.
So what’s the future for online classes? My hope is that we continue to evolve different models of online learning. The spirit of “blended” or “hybrid” online courses strives to capture the best of online with the best of traditional classroom experiences.
Ultimately, I believe we will progress and develop instruction to the point where these historically based distinctions and categorical terms will blur and become less meaningful, and we will simply just focus on learning.
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Is Online Learning Effective?
A new report found that the heavy dependence on technology during the pandemic caused “staggering” education inequality. What was your experience?
By Natalie Proulx
During the coronavirus pandemic, many schools moved classes online. Was your school one of them? If so, what was it like to attend school online? Did you enjoy it? Did it work for you?
In “ Dependence on Tech Caused ‘Staggering’ Education Inequality, U.N. Agency Says ,” Natasha Singer writes:
In early 2020, as the coronavirus spread, schools around the world abruptly halted in-person education. To many governments and parents, moving classes online seemed the obvious stopgap solution. In the United States, school districts scrambled to secure digital devices for students. Almost overnight, videoconferencing software like Zoom became the main platform teachers used to deliver real-time instruction to students at home. Now a report from UNESCO , the United Nations’ educational and cultural organization, says that overreliance on remote learning technology during the pandemic led to “staggering” education inequality around the world. It was, according to a 655-page report that UNESCO released on Wednesday, a worldwide “ed-tech tragedy.” The report, from UNESCO’s Future of Education division, is likely to add fuel to the debate over how governments and local school districts handled pandemic restrictions, and whether it would have been better for some countries to reopen schools for in-person instruction sooner. The UNESCO researchers argued in the report that “unprecedented” dependence on technology — intended to ensure that children could continue their schooling — worsened disparities and learning loss for hundreds of millions of students around the world, including in Kenya, Brazil, Britain and the United States. The promotion of remote online learning as the primary solution for pandemic schooling also hindered public discussion of more equitable, lower-tech alternatives, such as regularly providing schoolwork packets for every student, delivering school lessons by radio or television — and reopening schools sooner for in-person classes, the researchers said. “Available evidence strongly indicates that the bright spots of the ed-tech experiences during the pandemic, while important and deserving of attention, were vastly eclipsed by failure,” the UNESCO report said. The UNESCO researchers recommended that education officials prioritize in-person instruction with teachers, not online platforms, as the primary driver of student learning. And they encouraged schools to ensure that emerging technologies like A.I. chatbots concretely benefited students before introducing them for educational use. Education and industry experts welcomed the report, saying more research on the effects of pandemic learning was needed. “The report’s conclusion — that societies must be vigilant about the ways digital tools are reshaping education — is incredibly important,” said Paul Lekas, the head of global public policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a group whose members include Amazon, Apple and Google. “There are lots of lessons that can be learned from how digital education occurred during the pandemic and ways in which to lessen the digital divide. ” Jean-Claude Brizard, the chief executive of Digital Promise, a nonprofit education group that has received funding from Google, HP and Verizon, acknowledged that “technology is not a cure-all.” But he also said that while school systems were largely unprepared for the pandemic, online education tools helped foster “more individualized, enhanced learning experiences as schools shifted to virtual classrooms.” Education International, an umbrella organization for about 380 teachers’ unions and 32 million teachers worldwide, said the UNESCO report underlined the importance of in-person, face-to-face teaching. “The report tells us definitively what we already know to be true, a place called school matters,” said Haldis Holst, the group’s deputy general secretary. “Education is not transactional nor is it simply content delivery. It is relational. It is social. It is human at its core.”
Students, read the entire article and then tell us:
What findings from the report, if any, surprised you? If you participated in online learning during the pandemic, what in the report reflected your experience? If the researchers had asked you about what remote learning was like for you, what would you have told them?
At this point, most schools have returned to in-person teaching, but many still use technology in the classroom. How much tech is involved in your day-to-day education? Does this method of learning work well for you? If you had a say, would you want to spend more or less time online while in school?
What are some of the biggest benefits you have seen from technology when it comes to your education? What are some of the biggest drawbacks?
Haldis Holst, UNESCO’s deputy general secretary, said: “The report tells us definitively what we already know to be true, a place called school matters. Education is not transactional nor is it simply content delivery. It is relational. It is social. It is human at its core.” What is your reaction to that statement? Do you agree? Why or why not?
As a student, what advice would you give to schools that are already using or are considering using educational technology?
Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.
Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate these prompts into your classroom.
Natalie Proulx joined The Learning Network as a staff editor in 2017 after working as an English language arts teacher and curriculum writer. More about Natalie Proulx
Department of Education
How effective is online learning what the research does and doesn't tell us.
Susanna Loeb, Professor of Education, on the effectiveness of online learning for K-12 students.
In the fifth essay of the Education Week series "Weighing the Research: What Works, What Doesn't," Professor of Education Susanna Loeb explores the effectiveness of online learning in K-12 education. "It is not surprising that in-person courses are, on average, more effective. Being in person with teachers and other students creates social pressures and benefits that can help motivate students to engage. Some students do as well in online courses as in in-person courses, some may actually do better, but, on average, students do worse in the online setting, and this is particularly true for students with weaker academic backgrounds."
How Effective Is Online Learning? What the Research Does and Doesn't Tell Us — Education Week
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Students’ experience of online learning during the COVID‐19 pandemic: A province‐wide survey study
1 Centre for Learning Analytics at Monash, Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University, Clayton VIC, Australia
2 Portfolio of the Deputy Vice‐Chancellor (Education), Monash University, Melbourne VIC, Australia
3 Department of Computer Science, Jinan University, Guangzhou China
4 College of Cyber Security, Jinan University, Guangzhou China
Guanliang chen, associated data.
The data is not openly available as it is restricted by the Chinese government.
Online learning is currently adopted by educational institutions worldwide to provide students with ongoing education during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Even though online learning research has been advancing in uncovering student experiences in various settings (i.e., tertiary, adult, and professional education), very little progress has been achieved in understanding the experience of the K‐12 student population, especially when narrowed down to different school‐year segments (i.e., primary and secondary school students). This study explores how students at different stages of their K‐12 education reacted to the mandatory full‐time online learning during the COVID‐19 pandemic. For this purpose, we conducted a province‐wide survey study in which the online learning experience of 1,170,769 Chinese students was collected from the Guangdong Province of China. We performed cross‐tabulation and Chi‐square analysis to compare students’ online learning conditions, experiences, and expectations. Results from this survey study provide evidence that students’ online learning experiences are significantly different across school years. Foremost, policy implications were made to advise government authorises and schools on improving the delivery of online learning, and potential directions were identified for future research into K‐12 online learning.
What is already known about this topic
- Online learning has been widely adopted during the COVID‐19 pandemic to ensure the continuation of K‐12 education.
- Student success in K‐12 online education is substantially lower than in conventional schools.
- Students experienced various difficulties related to the delivery of online learning.
What this paper adds
- Provide empirical evidence for the online learning experience of students in different school years.
- Identify the different needs of students in primary, middle, and high school.
- Identify the challenges of delivering online learning to students of different age.
Implications for practice and/or policy
- Authority and schools need to provide sufficient technical support to students in online learning.
- The delivery of online learning needs to be customised for students in different school years.
The ongoing COVID‐19 pandemic poses significant challenges to the global education system. By July 2020, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2020) reported nationwide school closure in 111 countries, affecting over 1.07 billion students, which is around 61% of the global student population. Traditional brick‐and‐mortar schools are forced to transform into full‐time virtual schools to provide students with ongoing education (Van Lancker & Parolin, 2020 ). Consequently, students must adapt to the transition from face‐to‐face learning to fully remote online learning, where synchronous video conferences, social media, and asynchronous discussion forums become their primary venues for knowledge construction and peer communication.
For K‐12 students, this sudden transition is problematic as they often lack prior online learning experience (Barbour & Reeves, 2009 ). Barbour and LaBonte ( 2017 ) estimated that even in countries where online learning is growing rapidly, such as USA and Canada, less than 10% of the K‐12 student population had prior experience with this format. Maladaptation to online learning could expose inexperienced students to various vulnerabilities, including decrements in academic performance (Molnar et al., 2019 ), feeling of isolation (Song et al., 2004 ), and lack of learning motivation (Muilenburg & Berge, 2005 ). Unfortunately, with confirmed cases continuing to rise each day, and new outbreaks occur on a global scale, full‐time online learning for most students could last longer than anticipated (World Health Organization, 2020 ). Even after the pandemic, the current mass adoption of online learning could have lasting impacts on the global education system, and potentially accelerate and expand the rapid growth of virtual schools on a global scale (Molnar et al., 2019 ). Thus, understanding students' learning conditions and their experiences of online learning during the COVID pandemic becomes imperative.
Emerging evidence on students’ online learning experience during the COVID‐19 pandemic has identified several major concerns, including issues with internet connection (Agung et al., 2020 ; Basuony et al., 2020 ), problems with IT equipment (Bączek et al., 2021 ; Niemi & Kousa, 2020 ), limited collaborative learning opportunities (Bączek et al., 2021 ; Yates et al., 2020 ), reduced learning motivation (Basuony et al., 2020 ; Niemi & Kousa, 2020 ; Yates et al., 2020 ), and increased learning burdens (Niemi & Kousa, 2020 ). Although these findings provided valuable insights about the issues students experienced during online learning, information about their learning conditions and future expectations were less mentioned. Such information could assist educational authorises and institutions to better comprehend students’ difficulties and potentially improve their online learning experience. Additionally, most of these recent studies were limited to higher education, except for Yates et al. ( 2020 ) and Niemi and Kousa’s ( 2020 ) studies on senior high school students. Empirical research targeting the full spectrum of K‐12students remain scarce. Therefore, to address these gaps, the current paper reports the findings of a large‐scale study that sought to explore K‐12 students’ online learning experience during the COVID‐19 pandemic in a provincial sample of over one million Chinese students. The findings of this study provide policy recommendations to educational institutions and authorities regarding the delivery of K‐12 online education.
Learning conditions and technologies.
Having stable access to the internet is critical to students’ learning experience during online learning. Berge ( 2005 ) expressed the concern of the divide in digital‐readiness, and the pedagogical approach between different countries could influence students’ online learning experience. Digital‐readiness is the availability and adoption of information technologies and infrastructures in a country. Western countries like America (3rd) scored significantly higher in digital‐readiness compared to Asian countries like China (54th; Cisco, 2019 ). Students from low digital‐readiness countries could experience additional technology‐related problems. Supporting evidence is emerging in recent studies conducted during the COVID‐19 pandemic. In Egypt's capital city, Basuony et al. ( 2020 ) found that only around 13.9%of the students experienced issues with their internet connection. Whereas more than two‐thirds of the students in rural Indonesia reported issues of unstable internet, insufficient internet data, and incompatible learning device (Agung et al., 2020 ).
Another influential factor for K‐12 students to adequately adapt to online learning is the accessibility of appropriate technological devices, especially having access to a desktop or a laptop (Barbour et al., 2018 ). However, it is unlikely for most of the students to satisfy this requirement. Even in higher education, around 76% of students reported having incompatible devices for online learning and only 15% of students used laptop for online learning, whereas around 85% of them used smartphone (Agung et al., 2020 ). It is very likely that K‐12 students also suffer from this availability issue as they depend on their parents to provide access to relevant learning devices.
Technical issues surrounding technological devices could also influence students’ experience in online learning. (Barbour & Reeves, 2009 ) argues that students need to have a high level of digital literacy to find and use relevant information and communicate with others through technological devices. Students lacking this ability could experience difficulties in online learning. Bączek et al. ( 2021 ) found that around 54% of the medical students experienced technical problems with IT equipment and this issue was more prevalent in students with lower years of tertiary education. Likewise, Niemi and Kousa ( 2020 ) also find that students in a Finish high school experienced increased amounts of technical problems during the examination period, which involved additional technical applications. These findings are concerning as young children and adolescent in primary and lower secondary school could be more vulnerable to these technical problems as they are less experienced with the technologies in online learning (Barbour & LaBonte, 2017 ). Therefore, it is essential to investigate the learning conditions and the related difficulties experienced by students in K‐12 education as the extend of effects on them remain underexplored.
Learning experience and interactions
Apart from the aforementioned issues, the extent of interaction and collaborative learning opportunities available in online learning could also influence students’ experience. The literature on online learning has long emphasised the role of effective interaction for the success of student learning. According to Muirhead and Juwah ( 2004 ), interaction is an event that can take the shape of any type of communication between two or subjects and objects. Specifically, the literature acknowledges the three typical forms of interactions (Moore, 1989 ): (i) student‐content, (ii) student‐student, and (iii) student‐teacher. Anderson ( 2003 ) posits, in the well‐known interaction equivalency theorem, learning experiences will not deteriorate if only one of the three interaction is of high quality, and the other two can be reduced or even eliminated. Quality interaction can be accomplished by across two dimensions: (i) structure—pedagogical means that guide student interaction with contents or other students and (ii) dialogue—communication that happens between students and teachers and among students. To be able to scale online learning and prevent the growth of teaching costs, the emphasise is typically on structure (i.e., pedagogy) that can promote effective student‐content and student‐student interaction. The role of technology and media is typically recognised as a way to amplify the effect of pedagogy (Lou et al., 2006 ). Novel technological innovations—for example learning analytics‐based personalised feedback at scale (Pardo et al., 2019 ) —can also empower teachers to promote their interaction with students.
Online education can lead to a sense of isolation, which can be detrimental to student success (McInnerney & Roberts, 2004 ). Therefore, integration of social interaction into pedagogy for online learning is essential, especially at the times when students do not actually know each other or have communication and collaboration skills underdeveloped (Garrison et al., 2010 ; Gašević et al., 2015 ). Unfortunately, existing evidence suggested that online learning delivery during the COVID‐19 pandemic often lacks interactivity and collaborative experiences (Bączek et al., 2021 ; Yates et al., 2020 ). Bączek et al., ( 2021 ) found that around half of the medical students reported reduced interaction with teachers, and only 4% of students think online learning classes are interactive. Likewise, Yates et al. ( 2020 )’s study in high school students also revealed that over half of the students preferred in‐class collaboration over online collaboration as they value the immediate support and the proximity to teachers and peers from in‐class interaction.
Learning expectations and age differentiation
Although these studies have provided valuable insights and stressed the need for more interactivity in online learning, K‐12 students in different school years could exhibit different expectations for the desired activities in online learning. Piaget's Cognitive Developmental Theory illustrated children's difficulties in understanding abstract and hypothetical concepts (Thomas, 2000 ). Primary school students will encounter many abstract concepts in their STEM education (Uttal & Cohen, 2012 ). In face‐to‐face learning, teachers provide constant guidance on students’ learning progress and can help them to understand difficult concepts. Unfortunately, the level of guidance significantly drops in online learning, and, in most cases, children have to face learning obstacles by themselves (Barbour, 2013 ). Additionally, lower primary school students may lack the metacognitive skills to use various online learning functions, maintain engagement in synchronous online learning, develop and execute self‐regulated learning plans, and engage in meaningful peer interactions during online learning (Barbour, 2013 ; Broadbent & Poon, 2015 ; Huffaker & Calvert, 2003; Wang et al., 2013 ). Thus, understanding these younger students’ expectations is imperative as delivering online learning to them in the same way as a virtual high school could hinder their learning experiences. For students with more matured metacognition, their expectations of online learning could be substantially different from younger students. Niemi et al.’s study ( 2020 ) with students in a Finish high school have found that students often reported heavy workload and fatigue during online learning. These issues could cause anxiety and reduce students’ learning motivation, which would have negative consequences on their emotional well‐being and academic performance (Niemi & Kousa, 2020 ; Yates et al., 2020 ), especially for senior students who are under the pressure of examinations. Consequently, their expectations of online learning could be orientated toward having additional learning support functions and materials. Likewise, they could also prefer having more opportunities for peer interactions as these interactions are beneficial to their emotional well‐being and learning performance (Gašević et al., 2013 ; Montague & Rinaldi, 2001 ). Therefore, it is imperative to investigate the differences between online learning expectations in students of different school years to suit their needs better.
By building upon the aforementioned relevant works, this study aimed to contribute to the online learning literature with a comprehensive understanding of the online learning experience that K‐12 students had during the COVID‐19 pandemic period in China. Additionally, this study also aimed to provide a thorough discussion of what potential actions can be undertaken to improve online learning delivery. Formally, this study was guided by three research questions (RQs):
RQ1 . What learning conditions were experienced by students across 12 years of education during their online learning process in the pandemic period? RQ2 . What benefits and obstacles were perceived by students across 12 years of education when performing online learning? RQ3 . What expectations do students, across 12 years of education, have for future online learning practices ?
The total number of K‐12 students in the Guangdong Province of China is around 15 million. In China, students of Year 1–6, Year 7–9, and Year 10–12 are referred to as students of primary school, middle school, and high school, respectively. Typically, students in China start their study in primary school at the age of around six. At the end of their high‐school study, students have to take the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE; also known as Gaokao) to apply for tertiary education. The survey was administrated across the whole Guangdong Province, that is the survey was exposed to all of the 15 million K‐12 students, though it was not mandatory for those students to accomplish the survey. A total of 1,170,769 students completed the survey, which accounts for a response rate of 7.80%. After removing responses with missing values and responses submitted from the same IP address (duplicates), we had 1,048,575 valid responses, which accounts to about 7% of the total K‐12 students in the Guangdong Province. The number of students in different school years is shown in Figure 1 . Overall, students were evenly distributed across different school years, except for a smaller sample in students of Year 10–12.
The number of students in each school year
The survey was designed collaboratively by multiple relevant parties. Firstly, three educational researchers working in colleges and universities and three educational practitioners working in the Department of Education in Guangdong Province were recruited to co‐design the survey. Then, the initial draft of the survey was sent to 30 teachers from different primary and secondary schools, whose feedback and suggestions were considered to improve the survey. The final survey consisted of a total of 20 questions, which, broadly, can be classified into four categories: demographic, behaviours, experiences, and expectations. Details are available in Appendix.
All K‐12 students in the Guangdong Province were made to have full‐time online learning from March 1, 2020 after the outbreak of COVID‐19 in January in China. A province‐level online learning platform was provided to all schools by the government. In addition to the learning platform, these schools can also use additional third‐party platforms to facilitate the teaching activities, for example WeChat and Dingding, which provide services similar to WhatsApp and Zoom. The main change for most teachers was that they had to shift the classroom‐based lectures to online lectures with the aid of web‐conferencing tools. Similarly, these teachers also needed to perform homework marking and have consultation sessions in an online manner.
The Department of Education in the Guangdong Province of China distributed the survey to all K‐12 schools in the province on March 21, 2020 and collected responses on March 26, 2020. Students could access and answer the survey anonymously by either scan the Quick Response code along with the survey or click the survey address link on their mobile device. The survey was administrated in a completely voluntary manner and no incentives were given to the participants. Ethical approval was granted by the Department of Education in the Guangdong Province. Parental approval was not required since the survey was entirely anonymous and facilitated by the regulating authority, which satisfies China's ethical process.
The original survey was in Chinese, which was later translated by two bilingual researchers and verified by an external translator who is certified by the Australian National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters. The original and translated survey questionnaires are available in Supporting Information. Given the limited space we have here and the fact that not every survey item is relevant to the RQs, the following items were chosen to answer the RQs: item Q3 (learning media) and Q11 (learning approaches) for RQ1, item Q13 (perceived obstacle) and Q19 (perceived benefits) for RQ2, and item Q19 (expected learning activities) for RQ3. Cross‐tabulation based approaches were used to analyse the collected data. To scrutinise whether the differences displayed by students of different school years were statistically significant, we performed Chi‐square tests and calculated the Cramer's V to assess the strengths of the association after chi‐square had determined significance.
For the analyses, students were segmented into four categories based on their school years, that is Year 1–3, Year 4–6, Year 7–9, and Year 10–12, to provide a clear understanding of the different experiences and needs that different students had for online learning. This segmentation was based on the educational structure of Chinese schools: elementary school (Year 1–6), middle school (Year 7–9), and high school (Year 10–12). Children in elementary school can further be segmented into junior (Year 1–3) or senior (Year 4–6) students because senior elementary students in China are facing more workloads compared to junior students due to the provincial Middle School Entry Examination at the end of Year 6.
The Chi‐square test showed significant association between school years and students’ reported usage of learning media, χ 2 (55, N = 1,853,952) = 46,675.38, p < 0.001. The Cramer's V is 0.07 ( df ∗ = 5), which indicates a small‐to‐medium effect according to Cohen’s ( 1988 ) guidelines. Based on Figure 2 , we observed that an average of up to 87.39% students used smartphones to perform online learning, while only 25.43% students used computer, which suggests that smartphones, with widespread availability in China (2020), have been adopted by students for online learning. As for the prevalence of the two media, we noticed that both smartphones ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 9,395.05, p < 0.001, Cramer's V = 0.10 ( df ∗ = 1)) and computers ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 11,025.58, p <.001, Cramer's V = 0.10 ( df ∗ = 1)) were more adopted by high‐school‐year (Year 7–12) than early‐school‐year students (Year 1–6), both with a small effect size. Besides, apparent discrepancies can be observed between the usages of TV and paper‐based materials across different school years, that is early‐school‐year students reported more TV usage ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 19,505.08, p <.001), with a small‐to‐medium effect size, Cramer's V = 0.14( df ∗ = 1). High‐school‐year students (especially Year 10–12) reported more usage of paper‐based materials ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 23,401.64, p < 0.001), with a small‐to‐medium effect size, Cramer's V = 0.15( df ∗ = 1).
Learning media used by students in online learning
School years is also significantly associated with the different learning approaches students used to tackle difficult concepts during online learning, χ 2 (55, N = 2,383,751) = 58,030.74, p < 0.001. The strength of this association is weak to moderate as shown by the Cramer's V (0.07, df ∗ = 5; Cohen, 1988 ). When encountering problems related to difficult concepts, students typically chose to “solve independently by searching online” or “rewatch recorded lectures” instead of consulting to their teachers or peers (Figure 3 ). This is probably because, compared to classroom‐based education, it is relatively less convenient and more challenging for students to seek help from others when performing online learning. Besides, compared to high‐school‐year students, early‐school‐year students (Year 1–6), reported much less use of “solve independently by searching online” ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 48,100.15, p <.001), with a small‐to‐medium effect size, Cramer's V = 0.21 ( df ∗ = 1). Also, among those approaches of seeking help from others, significantly more high‐school‐year students preferred “communicating with other students” than early‐school‐year students ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 81,723.37, p < 0.001), with a medium effect size, Cramer's V = 0.28 ( df ∗ = 1).
Learning approaches used by students in online learning
Perceived benefits and obstacles—RQ2
The association between school years and perceived benefits in online learning is statistically significant, χ 2 (66, N = 2,716,127) = 29,534.23, p < 0.001, and the Cramer's V (0.04, df ∗ = 6) indicates a small effect (Cohen, 1988 ). Unsurprisingly, benefits brought by the convenience of online learning are widely recognised by students across all school years (Figure 4 ), that is up to 75% of students reported that it is “more convenient to review course content” and 54% said that they “can learn anytime and anywhere” . Besides, we noticed that about 50% of early‐school‐year students appreciated the “access to courses delivered by famous teachers” and 40%–47% of high‐school‐year students indicated that online learning is “helpful to develop self‐regulation and autonomy” .
Perceived benefits of online learning reported by students
The Chi‐square test shows a significant association between school years and students’ perceived obstacles in online learning, χ 2 (77, N = 2,699,003) = 31,987.56, p < 0.001. This association is relatively weak as shown by the Cramer's V (0.04, df ∗ = 7; Cohen, 1988 ). As shown in Figure 5 , the biggest obstacles encountered by up to 73% of students were the “eyestrain caused by long staring at screens” . Disengagement caused by nearby disturbance was reported by around 40% of students, especially those of Year 1–3 and 10–12. Technological‐wise, about 50% of students experienced poor Internet connection during their learning process, and around 20% of students reported the “confusion in setting up the platforms” across of school years.
Perceived obstacles of online learning reported by students
Expectations for future practices of online learning – RQ3
Online learning activities.
The association between school years and students’ expected online learning activities is significant, χ 2 (66, N = 2,416,093) = 38,784.81, p < 0.001. The Cramer's V is 0.05 ( df ∗ = 6) which suggests a small effect (Cohen, 1988 ). As shown in Figure 6 , the most expected activity for future online learning is “real‐time interaction with teachers” (55%), followed by “online group discussion and collaboration” (38%). We also observed that more early‐school‐year students expect reflective activities, such as “regular online practice examinations” ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 11,644.98, p < 0.001), with a small effect size, Cramer's V = 0.11 ( df ∗ = 1). In contrast, more high‐school‐year students expect “intelligent recommendation system …” ( χ 2 (3, N = 1,048,575) = 15,327.00, p < 0.001), with a small effect size, Cramer's V = 0.12 ( df ∗ = 1).
Students’ expected online learning activities
Regarding students’ learning conditions, substantial differences were observed in learning media, family dependency, and learning approaches adopted in online learning between students in different school years. The finding of more computer and smartphone usage in high‐school‐year than early‐school‐year students can probably be explained by that, with the growing abilities in utilising these media as well as the educational systems and tools which run on these media, high‐school‐year students tend to make better use of these media for online learning practices. Whereas, the differences in paper‐based materials may imply that high‐school‐year students in China have to accomplish a substantial amount of exercise, assignments, and exam papers to prepare for the National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), whose delivery was not entirely digitised due to the sudden transition to online learning. Meanwhile, high‐school‐year students may also have preferred using paper‐based materials for exam practice, as eventually, they would take their NCEE in the paper format. Therefore, these substantial differences in students’ usage of learning media should be addressed by customising the delivery method of online learning for different school years.
Other than these between‐age differences in learning media, the prevalence of smartphone in online learning resonates with Agung et al.’s ( 2020 ) finding on the issues surrounding the availability of compatible learning device. The prevalence of smartphone in K‐12 students is potentially problematic as the majority of the online learning platform and content is designed for computer‐based learning (Berge, 2005 ; Molnar et al., 2019 ). Whereas learning with smartphones has its own unique challenges. For example, Gikas and Grant ( 2013 ) discovered that students who learn with smartphone experienced frustration with the small screen‐size, especially when trying to type with the tiny keypad. Another challenge relates to the distraction of various social media applications. Although similar distractions exist in computer and web‐based social media, the level of popularity, especially in the young generation, are much higher in mobile‐based social media (Montag et al., 2018 ). In particular, the message notification function in smartphones could disengage students from learning activities and allure them to social media applications (Gikas & Grant, 2013 ). Given these challenges of learning with smartphones, more research efforts should be devoted to analysing students’ online learning behaviour in the setting of mobile learning to accommodate their needs better.
The differences in learning approaches, once again, illustrated that early‐school‐year students have different needs compared to high‐school‐year students. In particular, the low usage of the independent learning methods in early‐school‐year students may reflect their inability to engage in independent learning. Besides, the differences in help seeking behaviours demonstrated the distinctive needs for communication and interaction between different students, that is early‐school‐year students have a strong reliance on teachers and high‐school‐year students, who are equipped with stronger communication ability, are more inclined to interact with their peers. This finding implies that the design of online learning platforms should take students’ different needs into account. Thus, customisation is urgently needed for the delivery of online learning to different school years.
In terms of the perceived benefits and challenges of online learning, our results resonate with several previous findings. In particular, the benefits of convenience are in line with the flexibility advantages of online learning, which were mentioned in prior works (Appana, 2008 ; Bączek et al., 2021 ; Barbour, 2013 ; Basuony et al., 2020 ; Harvey et al., 2014 ). Early‐school‐year students’ higher appreciation in having “access to courses delivered by famous teachers” and lower appreciation in the independent learning skills developed through online learning are also in line with previous literature (Barbour, 2013 ; Harvey et al., 2014 ; Oliver et al., 2009 ). Again, these similar findings may indicate the strong reliance that early‐school‐year students place on teachers, while high‐school‐year students are more capable of adapting to online learning by developing independent learning skills.
Technology‐wise, students’ experience of poor internet connection and confusion in setting up online learning platforms are particularly concerning. The problem of poor internet connection corroborated the findings reported in prior studies (Agung et al., 2020 ; Barbour, 2013 ; Basuony et al., 2020 ; Berge, 2005 ; Rice, 2006 ), that is the access issue surrounded the digital divide as one of the main challenges of online learning. In the era of 4G and 5G networks, educational authorities and institutions that deliver online education could fall into the misconception of most students have a stable internet connection at home. The internet issue we observed is particularly vital to students’ online learning experience as most students prefer real‐time communications (Figure 6 ), which rely heavily on stable internet connection. Likewise, the finding of students’ confusion in technology is also consistent with prior studies (Bączek et al., 2021 ; Muilenburg & Berge, 2005 ; Niemi & Kousa, 2020 ; Song et al., 2004 ). Students who were unsuccessfully in setting up the online learning platforms could potentially experience declines in confidence and enthusiasm for online learning, which would cause a subsequent unpleasant learning experience. Therefore, both the readiness of internet infrastructure and student technical skills remain as the significant challenges for the mass‐adoption of online learning.
On the other hand, students’ experience of eyestrain from extended screen time provided empirical evidence to support Spitzer’s ( 2001 ) speculation about the potential ergonomic impact of online learning. This negative effect is potentially related to the prevalence of smartphone device and the limited screen size of these devices. This finding not only demonstrates the potential ergonomic issues that would be caused by smartphone‐based online learning but also resonates with the aforementioned necessity of different platforms and content designs for different students.
A less‐mentioned problem in previous studies on online learning experiences is the disengagement caused by nearby disturbance, especially in Year 1–3 and 10–12. It is likely that early‐school‐year students suffered from this problem because of their underdeveloped metacognitive skills to concentrate on online learning without teachers’ guidance. As for high‐school‐year students, the reasons behind their disengagement require further investigation in the future. Especially it would be worthwhile to scrutinise whether this type of disengagement is caused by the substantial amount of coursework they have to undertake and the subsequent a higher level of pressure and a lower level of concentration while learning.
Across age‐level differences are also apparent in terms of students’ expectations of online learning. Although, our results demonstrated students’ needs of gaining social interaction with others during online learning, findings (Bączek et al., 2021 ; Harvey et al., 2014 ; Kuo et al., 2014 ; Liu & Cavanaugh, 2012 ; Yates et al., 2020 ). This need manifested differently across school years, with early‐school‐year students preferring more teacher interactions and learning regulation support. Once again, this finding may imply that early‐school‐year students are inadequate in engaging with online learning without proper guidance from their teachers. Whereas, high‐school‐year students prefer more peer interactions and recommendation to learning resources. This expectation can probably be explained by the large amount of coursework exposed to them. Thus, high‐school‐year students need further guidance to help them better direct their learning efforts. These differences in students’ expectations for future practices could guide the customisation of online learning delivery.
As shown in our results, improving the delivery of online learning not only requires the efforts of policymakers but also depend on the actions of teachers and parents. The following sub‐sections will provide recommendations for relevant stakeholders and discuss their essential roles in supporting online education.
The majority of the students has experienced technical problems during online learning, including the internet lagging and confusion in setting up the learning platforms. These problems with technology could impair students’ learning experience (Kauffman, 2015 ; Muilenburg & Berge, 2005 ). Educational authorities and schools should always provide a thorough guide and assistance for students who are experiencing technical problems with online learning platforms or other related tools. Early screening and detection could also assist schools and teachers to direct their efforts more effectively in helping students with low technology skills (Wilkinson et al., 2010 ). A potential identification method involves distributing age‐specific surveys that assess students’ Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at the beginning of online learning. For example, there are empirical validated ICT surveys available for both primary (Aesaert et al., 2014 ) and high school (Claro et al., 2012 ) students.
For students who had problems with internet lagging, the delivery of online learning should provide options that require fewer data and bandwidth. Lecture recording is the existing option but fails to address students’ need for real‐time interaction (Clark et al., 2015 ; Malik & Fatima, 2017 ). A potential alternative involves providing students with the option to learn with digital or physical textbooks and audio‐conferencing, instead of screen sharing and video‐conferencing. This approach significantly reduces the amount of data usage and lowers the requirement of bandwidth for students to engage in smooth online interactions (Cisco, 2018 ). It also requires little additional efforts from teachers as official textbooks are often available for each school year, and thus, they only need to guide students through the materials during audio‐conferencing. Educational authority can further support this approach by making digital textbooks available for teachers and students, especially those in financial hardship. However, the lack of visual and instructor presence could potentially reduce students’ attention, recall of information, and satisfaction in online learning (Wang & Antonenko, 2017 ). Therefore, further research is required to understand whether the combination of digital or physical textbooks and audio‐conferencing is appropriate for students with internet problems. Alternatively, suppose the local technological infrastructure is well developed. In that case, governments and schools can also collaborate with internet providers to issue data and bandwidth vouchers for students who are experiencing internet problems due to financial hardship.
For future adoption of online learning, policymakers should consider the readiness of the local internet infrastructure. This recommendation is particularly important for developing countries, like Bangladesh, where the majority of the students reported the lack of internet infrastructure (Ramij & Sultana, 2020 ). In such environments, online education may become infeasible, and alternative delivery method could be more appropriate, for example, the Telesecundaria program provides TV education for rural areas of Mexico (Calderoni, 1998 ).
Other than technical problems, choosing a suitable online learning platform is also vital for providing students with a better learning experience. Governments and schools should choose an online learning platform that is customised for smartphone‐based learning, as the majority of students could be using smartphones for online learning. This recommendation is highly relevant for situations where students are forced or involuntarily engaged in online learning, like during the COVID‐19 pandemic, as they might not have access to a personal computer (Molnar et al., 2019 ).
Customisation of delivery methods
Customising the delivery of online learning for students in different school years is the theme that appeared consistently across our findings. This customisation process is vital for making online learning an opportunity for students to develop independent learning skills, which could help prepare them for tertiary education and lifelong learning. However, the pedagogical design of K‐12 online learning programs should be differentiated from adult‐orientated programs as these programs are designed for independent learners, which is rarely the case for students in K‐12 education (Barbour & Reeves, 2009 ).
For early‐school‐year students, especially Year 1–3 students, providing them with sufficient guidance from both teachers and parents should be the priority as these students often lack the ability to monitor and reflect on learning progress. In particular, these students would prefer more real‐time interaction with teachers, tutoring from parents, and regular online practice examinations. These forms of guidance could help early‐school‐year students to cope with involuntary online learning, and potentially enhance their experience in future online learning. It should be noted that, early‐school‐year students demonstrated interest in intelligent monitoring and feedback systems for learning. Additional research is required to understand whether these young children are capable of understanding and using learning analytics that relay information on their learning progress. Similarly, future research should also investigate whether young children can communicate effectively through digital tools as potential inability could hinder student learning in online group activities. Therefore, the design of online learning for early‐school‐year students should focus less on independent learning but ensuring that students are learning effective under the guidance of teachers and parents.
In contrast, group learning and peer interaction are essential for older children and adolescents. The delivery of online learning for these students should focus on providing them with more opportunities to communicate with each other and engage in collaborative learning. Potential methods to achieve this goal involve assigning or encouraging students to form study groups (Lee et al., 2011 ), directing students to use social media for peer communication (Dabbagh & Kitsantas, 2012 ), and providing students with online group assignments (Bickle & Rucker, 2018 ).
Special attention should be paid to students enrolled in high schools. For high‐school‐year students, in particular, students in Year 10–12, we also recommend to provide them with sufficient access to paper‐based learning materials, such as revision booklet and practice exam papers, so they remain familiar with paper‐based examinations. This recommendation applies to any students who engage in online learning but has to take their final examination in paper format. It is also imperative to assist high‐school‐year students who are facing examinations to direct their learning efforts better. Teachers can fulfil this need by sharing useful learning resources on the learning management system, if it is available, or through social media groups. Alternatively, students are interested in intelligent recommendation systems for learning resources, which are emerging in the literature (Corbi & Solans, 2014 ; Shishehchi et al., 2010 ). These systems could provide personalised recommendations based on a series of evaluation on learners’ knowledge. Although it is infeasible for situations where the transformation to online learning happened rapidly (i.e., during the COVID‐19 pandemic), policymakers can consider embedding such systems in future online education.
The current findings are limited to primary and secondary Chinese students who were involuntarily engaged in online learning during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Despite the large sample size, the population may not be representative as participants are all from a single province. Also, information about the quality of online learning platforms, teaching contents, and pedagogy approaches were missing because of the large scale of our study. It is likely that the infrastructures of online learning in China, such as learning platforms, instructional designs, and teachers’ knowledge about online pedagogy, were underprepared for the sudden transition. Thus, our findings may not represent the experience of students who voluntarily participated in well‐prepared online learning programs, in particular, the virtual school programs in America and Canada (Barbour & LaBonte, 2017 ; Molnar et al., 2019 ). Lastly, the survey was only evaluated and validated by teachers but not students. Therefore, students with the lowest reading comprehension levels might have a different understanding of the items’ meaning, especially terminologies that involve abstract contracts like self‐regulation and autonomy in item Q17.
In conclusion, we identified across‐year differences between primary and secondary school students’ online learning experience during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Several recommendations were made for the future practice and research of online learning in the K‐12 student population. First, educational authorities and schools should provide sufficient technical support to help students to overcome potential internet and technical problems, as well as choosing online learning platforms that have been customised for smartphones. Second, customising the online pedagogy design for students in different school years, in particular, focusing on providing sufficient guidance for young children, more online collaborative opportunity for older children and adolescent, and additional learning resource for senior students who are facing final examinations.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
There is no potential conflict of interest in this study.
The data are collected by the Department of Education of the Guangdong Province who also has the authority to approve research studies in K12 education in the province.
This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (62077028, 61877029), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong (2020B0909030005, 2020B1212030003, 2020ZDZX3013, 2019B1515120010, 2018KTSCX016, 2019A050510024), the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangzhou (201902010041), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (21617408, 21619404).
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With larry ferlazzo.
In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.
What Students Are Really Thinking About Online Learning
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(This is the final post in a multipart series. You can see Part One here , Part Two here , and Part Three here .)
Here is the new question-of-the-week:
What has your online learning experience been as a student? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it? How does it compare with your experience as a student in a physical classroom? In the future, if you could choose, would you want to do more online learning? If so, why? If not, why not?
In Part One , five students from the high school where I teach in Sacramento, Calif., shared their reflections.
In Part Two , contributions come from students in Austin Green’s 1st grade class in Utah and others connected with the Kansas State School for the Blind.
In Part Three , contributors came from my class; Ryan Jakacki’s class in Plymouth, Minn.; and Anne Magnin’s class in France.
Today, several students from my classes “wrap things up” in the final post of this series.
“The temptations are REAL!”
Lee Xiong is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
School has been tough. Transferring to all online learning has been the biggest challenge this year for me. As a student, I’d say I’ve usually kept up with all my work for all my classes. The biggest change I’ve seen in myself is becoming less focused with my school work.
Being in a physical classroom is tremendously different from learning online. In a classroom, most of your focus is there, unlike virtually, the temptations are REAL! Yes, self-discipline is good to learn, but when having all this thrown at you, you can’t blame the student for not wanting to work... at least that’s my opinion.
This online learning has affected me personally because during this time, I found myself turning in assignments weeks late. It wasn’t because I was having trouble, it was because I had no motivation and energy to do them. This isn’t the norm for me. Without a routine schedule, I felt lost. That makes me sound like a robot, but I think it’s because it’s been that way since we were so small, change this big is affecting me to the max.
This has taught me that online learning will not be for me in the future! Maybe for one or two classes, but overall I plan for my school life to be set in a physical classroom for the most part. Although this has been a challenging time for school and out in the real world, remembering to stand tall will get us through this together.
“Learning at school is best for me”
Evelynn Vang is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
The online learning experience as a student for me has been fine. I sometimes find myself not interested in doing my assignments and I feel like I’m lazy. I still do the assignments, but I sometimes end up turning in my assignments late. It’s like I’ll do the assignments whenever I feel like doing it.
I can say that there is a reason for this, and that is where I am doing my school work. My home is not a learning environment like at school, where there are teachers, other students, learning tools, desks/tables, chairs, a library, lots of space, and those who you can get support from. At home is like a sleeping or resting environment. In a classroom, I can focus more on my assignments/work and get engaged in the subject. Whenever I’m in a classroom, I feel prepared to learn and get my brain pumped; at home, I feel like it’s very hard to be prepared because I’m always getting distracted. Whenever I need help, my teachers or classmates are there for me. When I have a question at home, I have to wait for a response.
I do have to say that whenever I’m at school, I always feel nervous in class. Now that I’m at home learning, I don’t feel nervous. From my online learning experience right now, I would not choose more online learning in the future because in a school, a classroom is a learning environment. Also, I feel like it’s easier to communicate with my classmates/groups for projects, teachers, counselors, and principal. Learning at a school is best for me.
“I have many responsibilities at home”
Diana Lopez is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
As a student, my online learning experience hasn’t been great. This new learning system has its perks, such as more time to do assignments in the comfort of your home, not having to wake up so early to go to school, and ensuring the safety of the staff as well as the students. Despite these benefits, there are downsides of this method of learning. For example, I have many responsibilities at home, such as taking care of my younger siblings, cooking meals, cleaning up after them, etc. I also find it harder to have any motivation when I’m doing school assignments. When I’m surrounded by all these other temptations like my phone or other electronics, I lose any will to do work.
The environment at home is different from the workspace students have at school. A classroom provides a quiet academic place to do work while a household can be loud and cause students to lose concentration or not even work at all. Additionally, I find that simply reading the instructions for an assignment or lesson isn’t as engaging as when it’s explained by a teacher. The information is much easier to retain when heard rather than simply rushing to read the directions. If I could choose, in the future I would not like to do more online learning because I like having a teacher physically there to help me when I need it. Having a teacher presence helps me focus more on school work, engages me into learning, and the teachers help guide me through the work and are there for any questions I have.
“Online learning has been difficult”
Isabella Sandoval is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
Online learning has been difficult. I feel pressured to try and hurry to finish and turn in all of my assignments on time. Most of my assignments are due at the same time, and a lot of them are time- consuming.
Though, for the most part it’s difficult to adapt to since I’ve had my education in person with my teachers and classmates, I like how I can do the assignments on my own time. I could divide the day and time I complete my work, I can sleep in a little longer, and overall just be comfortable while in my own home. I feel that online learning is nothing compared to physical learning. With physical learning, I can talk to my teachers one on one and visually see and interact with everything. Whereas online, when I have a question, I either have to email or text my teachers, and sometimes they don’t see my message and/or take forever to respond.
In the future, I honestly would not mind doing online learning. Just for a little bit though, because it’s not that bad, it’s just the fact that I can’t physically talk to my teachers in person when I need help or have questions. Communicating with teachers online is what I feel is the most difficult part about online learning.
“My online experience has been interesting”
Brenda Hernandez is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
As a student, my online experience has been interesting. What I like about this experience is that I have more time to talk to my family and call or text some friends. I get to do school work from home and I have time for self-care. I like that I kind of get to choose which classes I should work on first and which I could wait to do after.
What I don’t like about it is that I am on a screen all day. I like electronics, but school has kept me from staring at a screen for hours. I also don’t like that I have more distractions at home. I live in a small apartment with five other people and four dogs.
This experience is different from being in a physical classroom because I socialize less now. In school, I get to hear the opinions and ideas of my friends and classmates. Some of my teachers would tell us to talk to the people around us about the lesson. Now, not everyone’s online at the same time. I have anxiety, which prevents me from texting some friends and some of my classmates. And if I did, they’d take a while to respond. Same with communicating with teachers.
In the future, if I could choose, I’d like to do a bit of online learning and the rest in an actual classroom. Although it depends on the class. I have noticed that some of the classes I’ve been able to complete at home since there isn’t anyone asking questions or reading the directions to stall me from beginning my work. In other classes, it has been more difficult since I’m more of a visual learner for that subject, and my teachers keep me on task.
“My online learning experience hasn’t been the best but not worst experience”
Laitak Briand is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
Being an engaging student during quarantine has been difficult. There have been a lot things that happened during the first weeks since school was canceled. Stores began to close down, parks being shut down, and people told to stay in the house 24-7 unless they needed their necessities.
What I liked about it, though, is that I have more time to do things that I said I wanted to do if I only had time. Now I have time to do things like spend time with family and resting. What I don’t like about online learning is that I have to still do homework even though we are in a pandemic and can’t leave the house.
The experience from doing online learning and going to school physically are vastly different. With online classes, if you need help you have to ask your parents or google. But when you go to school, there is a teacher that can help you. Also, my friends I can’t physically see them when I’m at home, but if I went to school, I could. In the future, if I had to choose to continue online learning or not, I’d choose not because I like to be somewhere I can ask someone near me for help and see if I did something right or wrong. In conclusion, my online learning experience hasn’t been the best but not worst experience I have ever had.
“There is nothing that I liked about it besides how supportive the teachers have been”
Na Lee Her is a junior at Luther Burbank High School:
My experience with online learning is very stressful and hard. I felt this way because of how hard it is for me to understand the assignments and having to not be able to check with your teacher face to face if you are doing it correctly or not. It doesn’t make me confident because I want to make sure that I am actually doing the assignment correctly in order to deserve the credit for it.
Not only that, but having time to do the assignments is another problem. At home, there are many things to take care of, and it makes it hard for me to be able to do my assignments. This makes me turn in the assignment late or not turn it in at all. Last but not least, it is the lack of motivation that makes online learning hard. Not being able to be face to face with friends and teachers gives me no motivation and makes me unhappy about this. I am unable to get ideas from them, and it makes me lose hope because I don’t know what I will do to be able to complete the assignment and meet its requirement. It just makes me very worried and anxious to know that I may have done things wrong or to not know what to do.
During this time of online learning, there is nothing that I liked about it besides how supportive the teachers have been. If I were to choose online learning or learning face to face, I would rather choose learning face to face. I choose this because it is much easier and I get my questions answered right away. Not only that, but I can also get suggestions/ideas from my peers as well.
Thanks to Lee, Evelynn, Diana, Isabella, Brenda, Laitak, and Na Lee for their contributions!
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Going the Distance: Why Online Learning Works
Learn more about the benefits of online learning, what online learning involves, and why it could be a good option for you.
Mary Sharp Emerson
There’s no debate that online learning has become a staple of higher education. And today’s online courses encompass a wide range of subjects and are more accessible than ever.
From current college students to people seeking a career change to professionals looking to update their skills, there is an online program for everyone.
More than 6.5 million people were enrolled in some type of distance learning course offered through a degree-granting college or university in 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
But why is online learning so popular, what methods make it effective, and where did it all begin? And most critically, how does the online educational experience match up to the traditional classroom?
Let’s dig into the answers to these questions.
Distance Learning: New Technologies for an Old Practice
Distance learning online may be new, but the desire to learn from field experts from afar is not. In fact, all that’s really changed over the centuries—yes, centuries!—is the speed and style of communication.
For instance, in 1728, distance learning took place through correspondence courses in shorthand. Assignments were distributed and collected via parcel post.
In the early 1900s, radio emerged as a new educational opportunity. In 1919, for example, University of Wisconsin professors began the first federally licensed radio station dedicated to educational broadcasting.
However, truly functional distance learning remained little more than a fringe endeavor until the birth of the World Wide Web in 1991.
Today, online learning is the fastest growing segment of education , even as overall enrollment at postsecondary institutions declines. It’s no wonder that 65 percent of institutions report that online learning is critical to their long-term strategic plans.
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Why Students Choose Online Courses
Learning styles are as varied as people themselves. While there’s no one “best” course format, research suggests that for some, online learning can be a rich experience.
For instance, studies show that high self-efficacy often leads to success in online courses. In addition, computer literacy, good time management skills, and a positive attitude toward e-learning have been shown to be key characteristics of students who learn effectively in a blended learning environment.
In most cases, online and blended learning are as effective as a traditional classroom setting. But they may offer unmatched benefits for students studying part time or from a distance.
Most people agree that the biggest benefit of online courses is their flexibility. According to a recent study by Best Colleges , more than half of online learners have children at home or are currently working. Online courses offer the opportunity to complete classwork when it is most convenient, without sacrificing the quality of the educational experience.
Many online courses can be completed in the evenings, over the weekend, or during lunch hour. Assignments can be finished in large blocks or broken down into small sessions over the course of the day or the week.
In other words, students can choose the schedule that works best for their particular situation.
Easy-to-use technologies facilitate collaboration
Many online courses today rely heavily on online learning platforms or learning management systems that allow collaboration between students and instructors. These are coupled with online discussion boards, one-on-one messaging, and of course, email for soliciting feedback, discussing concepts, and networking.
Most of these technologies are easy to use, a far cry from the unwieldy online conferencing tools of even a decade ago. Most can be downloaded as an app on a smartphone and/or laptop. And once installed, navigating through the course materials—whether live or recorded—is remarkably simple.
Best of all, the technology used in online courses makes it possible for students with disabilities (whether they be visual, auditory, or physical) to participate fully in classes and discussions.
Plenty of career-boosting course options
Online learning offers thousands of courses designed to meet just about any individual goal, from anywhere with an internet connection.
Online course technology lets institutions extend their opportunities to people living in regions with limited options. This not only expands educational options for those in remote or under-resourced areas, it allows them to network with professionals and experts in their desired field.
Plus, the availability of workshops, individual courses, microcredentials, certificates, and degrees lets students tailor their pathway to fill particular gaps.
Distance programs put learners of every age and background solidly in control of their development, allowing them to take just the courses they need to reach their goals. These factors are why online education is a foundation of the lifelong learning philosophy .
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What are the different types of online courses?
Today’s modern online classes offer the same quality of instruction, educational experience, and networking opportunities as the traditional classroom.
Generally speaking, there are three different types of online classes or courses to choose from:
- Asynchronous: Learners read or listen to course material on their own, at their own pace, completing assignments independently
- Synchronous: Students use video-conferencing platforms to interact in real-time with both instructors and classmates
- Blended: A mix of recorded lectures, slideshows, and PDFs can be accessed at any time for self-paced learning, coupled with regularly scheduled video conferencing for real-time interaction; some courses may even include campus visits for additional collaboration
The range of online formats ensures that anyone seeking to enrich their educational background outside of the traditional classroom can do so in the way that best suits them, without sacrificing the quality of the educational experience.
Moreover, the availability of self-paced, yet still interactive, distance education reflects a larger shift in education as a whole toward student-centered learning.
Why Distance Learning Works
Pedagogical theory in general has shifted away from behaviorism, in which learners were viewed as blank slates which could be filled with information and habits through drill and reward.
Today’s cognitive theory and constructivist teaching seek to understand how people build new knowledge within the framework of what they already know and understand.
Constructivism in particular dictates that learners be at the helm of their own education, while instructors act as mediators who introduce ideas, ask questions, and encourage students to explore new ways of thinking on their own.
Online courses present a rich opportunity for this kind of teaching and learning. Students can absorb new information independently and come together to synthesize that information into real-world knowledge with classmates and instructors.
This ideal match between the theory of learning and the actual implementation of instruction may explain the success of students in online classes.
Yet whatever the reason, this is certain: Online education is fundamentally changing the paradigm of higher education. It is opening up learning possibilities to students everywhere, in nearly every circumstance, and delivering that education in a way that is proving to be effective, convenient, and empowering.
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Emerson is a Digital Content Producer at Harvard DCE. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and Yale University and started her career as an international affairs analyst. She is an avid triathlete and has completed three Ironman triathlons, as well as the Boston Marathon.
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April 29, 2020
Is Distance Learning Effective?: Pros and Cons of Distance Learning
by Nicholas Walker , under For teachers
A guest blog post by Lisa from Think Tank
We’ve all been tossed out into the virtual world. Virtual (online, distance) is a different platform that is intuitive for some teachers and students but problematic for others. It’s left all of us wondering if distance learning is effective? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of distance learning for teachers and students.
Theoretically, you have the flexibility to prepare ahead of time, but there is always an obstacle in the physical school building. Copiers get jammed or last-minute copies need to be made. After another million distractions, you are too often running just ahead of the class session. Distance learning allows you to prepare the work ahead of time and make adjustments whenever you want! You can work according to your own schedule, whether you’re a night owl or an early bird.
Many teachers are also allowing for assignment flexibility, which has made an impact on students.
In addition to flexibility for you as a teacher, distance learning also allows for increased flexibility for your students. Students have the flexibility to access materials when they want to, which allows for increased productivity. Some students seem like geniuses at 10 pm when they could barely function in the classroom at 10 am. This flexibility works so well for so many students.
On the other hand, you may have to prepare more work now, which takes more time and adds to your workload . You can prepare in bulk, but you still have to be available for that increased flexibility for each student and in many cases, their parents, too! Of course, you have administrative mandates on top of your teaching mandates. Many teachers are left feeling like they’re being pulled in so many different directions from work and family. Working from home means we are constantly in the same world: live, work, and function in our homes. Best of all, teachers have the flexibility to try new things such as Digital Escape Rooms to help students think critically while at home.
Many students are sharing these feelings of being overwhelmed, and for some students, flexibility leads to more problems than benefits.
Your students live by routine. The majority of our lives are carved by routine even as adults. For young, developing minds, flexibility means a lack of control. Instead of completing work at an alternative time, some students are not completing work at all. For those students, flexibility means they are not accessing materials, and for many, there is no guidance at home that helps them understand deadlines. Flexibility often removes the expectation of responsibility, and we are seeing that with distance learning.
You are faced with distractions daily: other teachers, administrators, students, meetings. There are so many distractions. Now, you are able to be at home with your family. It’s so nice to be able to use the bathroom when you need to go. The reality is that our families are also distractions, but they’re the distractions we love.
For students, the distractions can be less at home.
Consider all the distractions in front of students in a building: friends, bullies, status. There are factors in the building that most teachers do not think about daily. Your students do. When asked what the best thing about distance learning was, one student (Wyatt Brandon, freshman, 15 with special needs) said, “Safety. I don’t have to worry about bullies.” Despite a world of love and support, your students are faced with distractions daily at school. Distance learning gives them an opportunity to feel safe from others and safe from distractions.
As much as we love our own families, they can be a distraction. So are the mound of dishes and the pile of laundry staring at us, pleading to be cleaned. These distractions can include doing what we love over what we need to complete. It’s hard to stay motivated to do something when other things are distracting you.
Students are also struggling with distractions of their own. Think about the kid who sits in the front of every physical classroom. They zone out everything behind them. Even the kid who sits in the back only has to see everything in front of them. With distance learning, distractions are everywhere especially in the online meeting platforms like Zoom or Google Meet. These platforms can be difficult for students. They sit in front of a screen that requires more focus and attention than a traditional environment, and there are so many distractions on and off-screen. For example, seeing all aspects of everyone on screen, keeping up with who is talking, trying to figure out the technology, and everything outside the screen at home can be difficult. Factor in any technical issues and student motivation can decline. Distractions are a large factor in why distance learning isn’t for everyone.
Much like flexibility, access is a benefit to distance learning. Access to technology is beneficial for students, but it’s nice for teachers to have access to so many tools. You have access to almost anything as long as you have an internet connection and an internet-enabled device.
Many students have access to tools as well. Today’s students are being introduced to forms of technology that they can use throughout their academic careers and into their career fields . Distance learning is preparing them for their futures.
As teachers, we tend to put our own needs at the end or off the list. Therefore, our own access may be limited. Who has the money to buy a laptop with a nice camera, great audio, and an amazing processor to be used in a secluded office? Not all teachers have access to the technology that is needed for distance learning. Additionally, some may struggle with their own spaces.
As we all know, student equity and student equality are not distributed fairly. Some of your students struggle with access to physiological and safety needs, so their educational needs are often the last priority. They may not have devices or know how to use them. If a student is trying to access online platforms at the same time a parent may be for his or her job, the bandwidth becomes an issue. If you have more than 3 people streaming at the same time, for example, distance learning can become very difficult.
Distance learning also gives teachers multiple methods of communication. In a school, students physically have to find their teacher, and parents are left trying to figure out when and how to contact us around their busy schedules. With distance learning, emails and course platforms like Google Classroom , Seesaw, or Canvas are readily used, giving teachers and students multiple platforms to communicate. Additionally, the chatter of student-to-student communication is almost completely eliminated.
Like you, your students are able to access multiple forms of communication to contact their teachers. Distance learning gives your students the opportunity to practice communication techniques that they will use for the rest of their lives. Professional communication begins with distance learning.
Although distance learning gives parents and students multiple methods of communication, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Some parents are overcommunicating while others are virtually silent. For some of us, we have to track all of those pieces of communication no matter how big or how small. And we all know how information can be misinterpreted online.
Some students feel overwhelmed with the communication from teachers while others are underwhelmed and haven’t heard much from teachers. If you are a student’s favorite teacher, and that student has heard from other teachers but not from you, that student is going to miss you and your communication. Some teachers are only available at certain times, which works well for organization but not well from those students who are accessing materials at odd times/hours. Distance learning can be difficult for a student who is struggling with communication.
You have many tools to help you stay organized and focused in your classroom. You can outline projects step-by-step, and with distance learning, you constantly have a place to point back to, confirming that it was in the instructions.
Students also have more flexibility with their organization through distance learning. Most teachers have met that kid who never writes anything down, throws all papers away on the way out of the classroom, and generally has no regard for organization. That kid will thrive in the hands-off nature of DL.
You work so hard on your classroom to get it organized and to practice procedures at the beginning of the school year. With distance learning, you have to completely reconfigure that organization and those procedures. And unless you get to go back to your school to retrieve items, you may be left without the materials you need.
The chief complaints among students are that instructions are not clear enough and some schools are allowing teacher freedom on platforms, which means too many different platforms. If three teachers use Google Classroom and three teachers use Canvas, it’s difficult for a student to navigate between those two platforms. Some students struggle to follow instructions, so without clear-cut instructions and similar platforms, they can easily become overwhelmed with distance learning.
Distance learning is a great platform for those who are prepared to deal with glitches and inconsistencies. But without that preparation, it’s difficult to buy into the benefits of distance learning. How do you feel about distance learning? Is distance learning working for you and your students?
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The learning network | is online learning as good as face-to-face learning.
Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?
Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.
- See all Student Opinion »
Some experts estimate that more than a million students in the United States, from kindergarten through 12th grade, are taking courses online. Have you ever taken a class for credit online? What was the experience like? In general, do you think K-12 students can learn as much in an online course as they can in a traditional class? Why or why not? What makes for a good online course, in your opinion?
In “More Pupils Are Learning Online, Fueling Debate on Quality,” Trip Gabriel writes:
Jack London was the subject in Daterrius Hamilton’s online English 3 course. In a high school classroom packed with computers, he read a brief biography of London with single-paragraph excerpts from the author’s works. But the curriculum did not require him, as it had generations of English students, to wade through a tattered copy of “Call of the Wild” or “To Build a Fire.” Mr. Hamilton, who had failed English 3 in a conventional classroom and was hoping to earn credit online to graduate, was asked a question about the meaning of social Darwinism. He pasted the question into Google and read a summary of a Wikipedia entry. He copied the language, spell-checked it and e-mailed it to his teacher. Mr. Hamilton, 18, is among the expanding ranks of students in kindergarten through Grade 12 — more than one million in the United States, by one estimate — taking online courses. Advocates of such courses say they allow schools to offer not only makeup courses, the fastest-growing area, but also a richer menu of electives and Advanced Placement classes when there are not enough students to fill a classroom. But critics say online education is really driven by a desire to spend less on teachers and buildings, especially as state and local budget crises force deep cuts to education. They note that there is no sound research showing that online courses at the K-12 level are comparable to face-to-face learning.
Students: Tell us about the experiences you’ve had with online learning. In general, do you think K-12 students can learn as much in an online course as they can in a traditional class? Why or why not? Do you tend to agree with online-learning advocates who say that this method allows schools to offer a richer menu of electives? Or do you tend to agree with critics who say that the popularity of these courses reflects a desire to save money on teachers in tough budgetary times? What makes for a good online course, in your opinion? (You might also read the related Room for Debate post in which five experts weigh in on this topic.)
Teachers: Here are 10 ways to teach with this feature.
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Hi there, most definitely learning online can be more, not less effective, but it needs to be done differently. You can’t really just take the offline model and slap it online.
I recently did some ESL case studiesusing Facebook and Skype and before and after audio can be listened to here:
After 16 years of learning English in China Jane still spoke like a beginner, after 18 hours of using our specially designed course content that required her to work in a new way with popular and free online technologies, she was speaking comfortably at intermediate level (up 3 levels).
Don’t believe me…have a listen…still don’t believe me…you can listen to every second of contact I had with her and read all of my contact notes and what she thought of the experience here:
Online classes seem like a good idea but those that take it would not be able to participate in athletics so they would most likely not get the daily recomended amount of physical activity.
Online classes are for more self motivated people. No one tells them to get on the computer and do their homework as if you were actually in the class and could ask questions right there when the problem was being presented.
Online classes do have its advantages. Most students already know how to use a computer, less discipline is needed, and less cost for the school district and for the parents. I would recommend online classes for students in 7th grade and up who are trying hard but struggling in a real class. However I feel that younger students should not take online classes. These students need the social interaction and discipline of a real classroom and teacher. Online courses should not be used to bail out grade-school students or students who don’t want to learn at all.
I haven’t personally taken a course online, but I have a couple friends that have and they all say the same thing: “It takes a lot more work on an individual basis, since you don’t have a teacher. You have to study a lot more and try to figure the material out on your own.” I would like to take an online course, but my school doesn’t offer them, sadly. I also think it is a good way for student to be in a more relaxed enviornment and feel a lot less stress than they normally would because they can really just get work done on their own basis.
As somebody who has taken online courses in the past, and somebody who still does, I have to say that they can be very helpful and can achieve similar quality to regular classrooms. It’s also more comfortable, since you can do the work more at your own pace and in your own home. If someone is actually dedicated to the course and wants to take it, they will want to learn and will be more responsible with it. However, plenty of students wouldn’t want to do work in an online class, (or any class,) so I don’t think it’s a good idea to make online classes a requirement in high school or let it really be a part of a normal high school environment. While it can be beneficial to somebody who wants to take it, it can be detrimental to somebody who needs to do the work and needs to learn but just doesn’t want to. There is really no way to really make sure they are doing the work themselves, and in face-to-face classes it is much easier to prevent this problem. I do think that if a student has failed a class more than once, they should be able to take an online class to get the credit. They should also be made available to students who want to take them, but they shouldn’t be able to replace any core classes that can be taken in a normal classroom setting.
In my opinion, online learning seems like it would be a bit complicated. I know that I need to be able to have a teacher answering all my questions so that i could understand somthing much more clearly. If i were to sign up for an online class, my grades would most likely drop because of the limited communication with not only my professor but with my students as well.
One pro of learning online is that it gives students an opportunity to learn in a different way. In our school, if a student fails a class they can go afterschool to take a class online. They can earn the credit for that class. The con is that with online programs available their will not be as many teachers needed. Teacher will lose their jobs. Learning online can be boring and a very tedious task. Students might be less interested to learn. I wouldn’t want an online course to be a requirement because it just makes more unnecessary work for students. I don’t want to be worrying about taking an online class. In my junior year, I have to worry about SATs, ACTs, regents and other things necessary for my future.
I have taken quite a few classes online. I really like that I can work at my own pace. I actually attended graduate school online to get my teaching credential. It would have been much more difficult to attend a regular school and deal with child care for my own children. I loved that I could work while they were sleeping, in the early morning or late evening.
I now prefer to do almost all of my learning online, but I know many people prefer face to face classes.
Sacha from Luria Learning
I think that face-to-face learning is a lot better than online learning, because you can ask the questions. You get a better feel for the topic you are learning. I personally like face-to-face learning, but I guess it realy depends on the person.
I think that both face- to- face learning and online learning are entirely different and both have their benefits and negatives. I think that face-to-face learning is a good way to take in and absorb information, and allows people to question what they don’t understand state and share their opinion as well as hear others’ takes on whatever the topic may be. Though learning through text is definately beneifical as it is written in plain black and white, there are always those specs of red to throw off and confuse the reader. I feel that learning through interaction helps because the way you maty interpret the text or read it can lose the true meaning and emotion behind events and subjects. I do on the other hand feel that sometimes getting correct and accurate information is better learned from written text epecially when it comes to news and historical events because in order to get the most accurate and updated information online sources are the way to go. Sometimes word of mouth doesn’t pass off the most recents updates, however with technology’s helping hand the internet holds centuries of information, and a world worth of knowlege with just a press of a few buttons and a click. Also learning online allows you to process the information on your own time and at your own pace, but learning face-to-face pushes you to work at deadlines and at a moderate pace where you are able to balance the workload and still be able to process what it is you are actually learning; it keeps you on track. So to say which is truly better and more favorable is hard for me to say, just like anything both have their pros and their cons, the one to outweigh the other in the pros- I don’t know. I personally prefer both but in different situations.
Interesting that most comments here are positive compared to Trip’s hatchet job on 4/5. I’m chair of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL.org) and wrote this response to Trip’s poorly written front page piece: //edreformer.com/2011/04/nytimes-gets-it-wrong-again/
Where allowed by state policy, k-12 online learning offers access to quality courses taught by effective teachers. There is no reason that all students in the US don’t have access to all AP and all foreign language courses as well as credit recovery options for poorly taught courses at their school.
The pros of online dating is that it will make home schooling a lot easier. If someone wants to home schooled then keeping up with the curriculum will become easier. Many students who fail classes also have the opportunity to pass the course online. Also you are able to take classes that your school doesn’t offer The cons of online learning is the lack of attention student gives it and the amount of things that you are actually learning. Just because you’re able to pass the tests online but this doesn’t mean that you are learning anything. Many people online take the classes at home with a lot of distractions. The students end up taking the courses but not learning anything in the process. I don’t mind if the online courses become a requirement in my school. The reason I don’t mind is because I never took one so I don’t know how these courses are. Once I take an online course I could have an opinion on it but right now I think it would be cool to experience.
I am currently a junior in high school and I am taking two online courses on top a full course load. The first of my online classes in AP Environmental Science. I decided to take this course online because my high school did not offer any rigorous environmental learning courses (the best class offered is geophysics which is notorious for being the easiest way to get a science credit). I have found that the online course has not been as effective in teaching material compared to having the actual class experience, however online courses do allow students (such as myself) to pursue the subjects they are most interested in.
I haven’t really taken an online class but in my opinion, learning face-to-face. You learn so much more through face-to-face because you get the chance to ask questions about the subject, like things that you do not get, or things that you might just want to know more. On the other hand, learning online doesn’t have that much advantages because you don’t have the chance to ask questions, you can basically take the class and just do the work, without actually knowing and learning what you do. For me, it would be so much better to learn face-to-face rather than in online courses.
I never took an online class, but I am actually not interested in it. I think that taking an online course does not have the advantages us students have learning face-to-face. I do prefer face-to-face because you may get into the topic more and do activities that vary so it helps you to learn the subject more. You can participate more and actually learn all together with the rest of the students and ask the teacher questions.
I have not taken an online course, but I have heard of them.I think that taking online courses has a greater variety of different courses and topics to take, but in my opinion I think face-to-face learning is more helpful. By learning face-to-face, you have the opportunity to ask the teach if you have any concerns or doubts. Online courses however, might not work the same. You may not have the same opportunity to ask questions and receive more help. Personally, I would prefer to take face-to-face course so I had the opportunity to ask for more help if I needed it, but I would also like to have a greater variety of courses.
Online courses can be disadvantageous for many students, and some not. But in my case, I have to learn with the “face-to-face” method. It is important to have a good relationship between a student and a teacher to make the course much better and productive. Chances are that the student would be more open-minded and do much more than just sitting in front of a computer… I think there would be more limits and pressure of choosing online courses than “face-to-face”.
No it isn’t. Online learning gives the student easier access to other sites when they should be working on one thing. Unless you restrict there movement on the internet to only that page or pages. I get more out of face to face learning than I would on the internet. You can’t have conversations with the internet about the problem as you can with a teacher.
No, I do not believe online learning is as good as face to face learning. You do not get proper assistance, and will not receive the right amount of discipline. Face to face, you get honest opinions and a bond can form, thus creating a better environment. Face to face is always going to be better than online learning.
Our new director came up with the idea of online learning. First, students were happy because that meant to have more time in the house than coming to the school. However, we later realized that online classes meant no more fun in high school. Although I haven’t experienced any online learning, I think that students can’t learn as much in an online course as they can in a traditional class. I say so because some students are better in self-studying, but there are many others who learn more while interacting with the classmates and teachers. Moreover, I like the idea of online learning, yet that’s all I like about it. The students would use their computers the whole day, which is bad to their health, and they might end up being antisocial because all they do is seat in the desk with a computer and study. I think that one of the charms of high school is to be able to have new relationships with people. To be able to interact with one another by exchanging ideas and thoughts. Nevertheless, with online learning, that would be hard. Anyways, what I want to say is that traditional classes are much better and they should just leave it the way it is.
I don’t think that online courses are as good as face-to-face classes. Well, I have never taken online courses but I have seen my cousin taken courses and what I have seen is that is a lot more difficult to communicate with the teacher because the teacher would go over the material very fast and leave you to do it all. Also, It takes a lot of work as an individual and you have to figure out things on your own. Besides the studies, the internet connection can be very slow and there can be times when it there are connection lags and in that moment the teacher can say something important but you miss it. I think that online courses are too complicated.
I do not think that online learning is better than face to face learning because you dont have the option to ask a question at anytime you want, which means there are some things that you cant learn.
As a student who has experienced both online learning and face to face, I can honestly say that face to face learning is a million times better than online. My grades, my personality, my lifestyle all changed when I did online learning, and not in a good way. I didn’t learn nearly as much as I needed too, and I missed the direct contact with teachers and students. Now, online learning might work for some, but for a large amount of my friends who were homeschooled with me, it was a horrible way of learning.
The pros and cons of online learning
What to look for in an online course.
By: MIT xPRO
If you’re at a point in your life where you’re considering continuing your education, you may wonder if online learning is the right path for you.
Taking an online course requires a notable investment of time, effort, and money, so it’s important to feel confident about your decision before moving forward. While online learning works incredibly well for some people, it’s not for everyone.
We recently sat down with MIT xPRO Senior Instructional Designer and Program Manager Luke Hobson to explore the pros and cons of online learning and what to look for in an online course. If you’re waiting for a sign about whether or not to enroll in that course you’ve been eying, you just might find it here.
Pros of Online Learning
First, let’s take a look at the true value of online learning by examining some of the benefits:
Online learning’s most significant advantage is its flexibility. It’s the reason millions of adults have chosen to continue their education and pursue certificates and degrees.
Asynchronous courses allow learners to complete work at their own pace, empowering them to find the optimal time to consume the content and submit assignments.
Some people are more attentive, focused, and creative in the mornings compared to the evenings and vice versa. Whatever works best for the learners should be the priority of the learning experience.
When Luke asks people about their main reason for enrolling in a course, a common answer is networking and community.
Learners crave finding like-minded individuals who are going through the same experiences and have the same questions. They want to find a place where they belong. Being in the company of others who understand what they’re going through can help online learners who are looking for support and motivation during challenging times and times that are worth celebrating.
Some learners have created study groups and book clubs that have carried on far beyond the end of the course-it’s amazing what can grow from a single post on a discussion board!
3. Latest information
“Speed is a massive benefit of online learning,” and according to Luke, it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
“When we say speed, we don’t mean being quick with learning. We mean actual speed to market. There are so many new ideas evolving within technical spaces that it’s impossible to keep courses the way they were originally designed for a long period of time.”
Luke notes that a program on Additive Manufacturing , Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality , or Nanotechnology must be checked and updated frequently. More formal learning modalities have difficulty changing content at this rapid pace. But within the online space, it’s expected that the course content will change as quickly as the world itself does.
Cons of Online Learning
Now that we’ve looked at some of the biggest pros of online learning, let’s examine a few of the drawbacks:
1. Learning environment
While many learners thrive in an asynchronous learning environment, others struggle. Some learners prefer live lessons and an instructor they can connect with multiple times a week. They need these interactions to feel supported and to persist.
Most learners within the online space identify themselves as self-directed learners, meaning they can learn on their own with the right environment, guidance, materials, and assignments. Learners should know themselves first and understand their preferences when it comes to what kind of environment will help them thrive.
One drawback of online courses is that the structure can be repetitive: do a reading, respond to two discussion posts, submit an essay, repeat. After a while, some learners may feel disengaged from the learning experience.
There are online courses that break the mold and offer multiple kinds of learning activities, assessments, and content to make the learning experience come alive, but it may take some research to find them-more on what to look for in an online course later in this article! Luke and his colleagues at MIT xPRO are mindful of designing courses that genuinely engage learners from beginning to end.
Luke has noticed that some learners underestimate how much work is required in an online course. They may mistakenly believe that online learning is somehow “easier” compared to in-person learning.
For those learners who miscalculate how long they will need to spend online or how challenging the assignments can be, changing that mindset is a difficult process. It’s essential to set aside the right amount of time per week to contribute to the content, activities, and assignments. Creating personal deadlines and building a study routine are two best practices that successful online learners follow to hold themselves accountable.
Experience the Value of Online Learning: What to Look For in an Online Course
You’ve probably gathered by now that not all online courses are created equal. On one end of the spectrum, there are methods of online learning that leave learners stunned by what a great experience they had. On the other end of the spectrum, some online learning courses are so disappointing that learners regret their decision to enroll.
If you want to experience the value of online learning, it’s essential to pick the right course. Here’s a quick list of what to look for:
- Feedback and connection to peers within the course platform. Interacting regularly with other learners makes a big difference. Luke and the MIT xPRO team use peer-reviewed feedback to give learners the opportunity to engage with each other’s work.
- Proof of hard work. In the online learning space, proof of hard work often comes in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or specific certifications. MIT xPRO course participants who successfully complete one or more courses are eligible to receive CEUs , which many employers, licensing agencies, and professional associations accept as evidence of a participant’s serious commitment to their professional development.
Online learning isn’t for everyone, but with the right approach, it can be a valuable experience for many people. Now that you know what to look for in an online course, see what Luke and the MIT xPRO instructional design team have to offer by checking out the latest MIT xPRO courses and programs .
Originally published at http://curve.mit.edu on August 8th, 2022.
The pros and cons of online learning was originally published in MIT Open Learning on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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Argumentative Essay: Online Learning and Educational Access
Conventional learning is evolving with the help of computers and online technology. New ways of learning are now available, and improved access is one of the most important benefits available. People all around the world are experiencing improved mobility as a result of the freedom and potential that online learning provides, and as academic institutions and learning organisations adopt online learning technologies and remote-access learning, formal academic education is becoming increasingly legitimate. This essay argues the contemporary benefits of online learning, and that these benefits significantly outweigh the issues, challenges and disadvantages of online learning.
Online learning is giving people new choices and newfound flexibility with their personal learning and development. Whereas before, formal academic qualifications could only be gained by participating in a full time course on site, the internet has allowed institutions to expand their reach and offer recognized courses on a contact-partial, or totally virtual, basis. Institutions can do so with relatively few extra resources, and for paid courses this constitutes excellent value, and the student benefits with greater educational access and greater flexibility to learn and get qualified even when there lots of other personal commitments to deal with.
Flexibility is certainly one of the most important benefits, but just as important is educational access. On top of the internet’s widespread presence in developed countries, the internet is becoming increasingly available in newly developed and developing countries. Even without considering the general informational exposure that the internet delivers, online academic courses and learning initiatives are becoming more aware of the needs of people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and this means that people from such backgrounds are in a much better position to learn and progress than they used to be.
The biggest argument that raises doubt over online learning is the quality of online courses in comparison to conventional courses. Are such online courses good enough for employers to take notice? The second biggest argument is the current reality that faces many people from disadvantaged backgrounds, despite the improvements made in this area in recent years – they do not have the level of basic access needed to benefit from online learning. In fact, there are numerous sources of evidence that claim disadvantaged students are not receiving anywhere near the sort of benefits that online learning institutions and promoters are trying to instigate. Currently there are many organisations, campaigns and initiatives that are working to expand access to higher education. With such high participation, it can be argued that it is only a matter of time before the benefits are truly realised, but what about the global online infrastructure?
There is another argument that is very difficult to dispel, and that is the response of different types of students to the online learning paradigm. Evidence shows that there are certain groups of students that benefit from college distance learning much more than other groups. In essence, students must be highly motivated and highly disciplined if they are to learn effectively in their own private environment.
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Online Learning vs. Learning in Traditional Classrooms
When studying online, it becomes difficult for students to clear their doubts. It is hard for a student to clarify something that he/she does not understand. This is because the student cannot consult an expert on that subject for further clarification. Students do not have the same ability to understand concepts. In a traditional classroom setting, the student is in direct contact with the professors, library, laboratory, and peer students. In a traditional classroom, the student is able to ask questions and get different interpretations of the problem. Moreover, he/she can gain an experience of using multiple methods of arriving at the solution. These methods provide adequate resources for student to clear doubts. This is not possible in an online learning program.
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Online classes are only necessary for people who are working and at the same time want to acquire a degree, or for people who have families and have to be at home to take care of children. Online education is for experienced people and not for starters.
Adults go to college to get a promotion at the work place. College campus has a lot of social activities and provides a good environment for interaction. Online classes are only beneficial for people who are trying to work and study at the same time. Online learning is most suitable for people who have families and have to be at home to take care of children. Online learning cannot be as effective as traditional classroom learning.
Research conducted by the National Survey of Students’ Engagement indicates that about 11 percent of adult students attending college in a traditional method spend about 25 hours a week studying and being involved in class activities out of the possible 168 hours a week. 40 percent of these students spend only about 10 hours a week. There is a huge difference between studying patterns of students aged between 18-22 years and adult students (Howard, Schenk, & Discenza, 2004).
Adults who are involved in online education are more successful in it than teenage students. This is because adult students are more mature and responsible than teenage students. College students are aged between 18 and 22 years. These students benefit mostly from traditional “live” college classrooms because of its social atmosphere. Social atmosphere in traditional classroom helps college students get away from their parents and interact with their age mates. Traditional college classroom gives freedom to students teaching them to be responsible. Young students look at college life as a social life. It is an opportunity for them to share ideas and interact with their age mates. College gives young students freedom to live on campus with friends and away from their parents.
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Traditional classroom teaching is more effective than online classes because the teacher is able to choose the most interesting methods of teaching a certain topic. The teacher achieves this through personal interaction with the student. Classroom teaching can be made enjoyable by organizing different in-class activities, projects, and group work where students can work together. These activities give students an opportunity to actively take part in the learning process. Students are able to share ideas amongst themselves, thus making the learning process more interesting.
Attending traditional classes gives students an opportunity to acquire hands-on skills by following what the teacher is doing. For young students, it is most convenient to attend traditional classes because interacting with other students enables them to understand simple concepts that appear so hard when tackled alone. If a student does not understand a certain concept, then clearing the doubt with the instructor can be very frustrating when studying online.
The major requirement for being successful in life is socialization. The presence of in-person interaction with the teacher and with other students creates a perfect environment for this kind of socialization.
The main disadvantage in a traditional classroom is distraction. In every classroom, there is at least one individual who has no desire to be in class. These individuals make comments that are misguided and out of context. This usually happens in high school and college. These students make these comments in an attempt to appear cool. These distractions prevent individuals with a real desire for learning from voicing their opinion. Most often, students with the most constructive opinions feel shy and are unable to contribute to a discussion and avoid snide comments that may follow. If such students were participating in an online class, they would have to formulate thoughts and arguments well before submitting them. This could help avoid unnecessary comments from students who do not contribute constructively. Also, if a person does not wish to contribute or feels bored, one can logout without distracting other students. This elimination of class distraction encourages people who have a real desire to learn. It also gives those who may feel bored in a class environment an opportunity to use their time doing other constructive things (Moore & Kearsley, 2011).
There is evidence of self-discipline in online learning, which provides an environment that resembles workplace. People are expected to be self-motivated and meet deadlines at the workplace.
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Most adult students have full-time jobs, and they may not have the time to attend classes. Most of the adult students are also parents, who have to take care of their families. This makes it difficult for adult students to participate in traditional learning methods.
The main advantage of online classes is that they are low-cost. If there was no online education and only traditional classes were available, most students would not afford to study.
When attending online classes, the student is able to schedule the classes as per his/her own time-table. There are no chances of crash programs or missed classes due to unavailability of the lecturer. Online classes also give students the opportunity to submit their assignments and sit for exams at their own convenience. Developments in technology have enabled students to proactively participate in online classes. Students are able to raise hands and ask questions through chatbox. The tutor can then answer the question immediately as other students also listen. There is a healthy discussion between individuals from different parts of the world, which encourages peer group learning. Improvement in technology has enhanced online learning to match the qualities of a traditional classroom.
Another advantage of online classes is that it helps the student avoid the hassle of having to commute to and from school and thus wasting a lot of time. Another issue that is tackled well in online classes is relevant for students who find themselves in trouble at school most of the time. Many students may drop out of school due to bullying. Some may be bullied and feel like they are not comfortable to attend school. Other students may be sent home by the administration after being accused of bullying. For these students, online classes can be a perfect option for them to study peacefully (Rudestam & Schoenholtz-Read, 2010).
How It Works
Online education may not be able to provide an opportunity to evaluate communication skills such as presentation. This makes it difficult for online classes to reflect the real working environment that the student will face at the workplace.
Studying online also has some distractions. There are also many opportunities that a student may use to cheat. A student may open a new window and login to a social website. Such students will waste a lot of time that could have been used studying. A student may also open a new tab when doing an exam online and search for answers online. It is also very possible for a student to let somebody else do the exam for him/her as the teacher is not physically around. There is no way for the teacher to ascertain that the student submits his/her own work. When reading or listening to a lecture online, the teacher does not have any control when the student is talking on a phone, playing games, or listening to music. These things cannot happen in a traditional classroom setting since students are forced to stay in class and pay attention to the lecturer.
Exposure to conflicting perspectives is the most crucial aspect of education. It promotes critical and adaptive thinking and enhances open-mindedness. The main aim of education is to help students think critically and creatively. Traditional classrooms are very effective at providing students with the opportunity to become creative (Hiltz & Goldman, 2005).
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Children going through their middle and high school education may miss a key aspect that is necessary for brain development. Building knowledge at this level requires deep construction through looking at different perspectives. This can only be achieved through interaction dialogue, hands-on skills, and applications. Traditional classroom gives a student an opportunity to learn how to navigate social situations, explore more abstract and deeper concepts, and explore different methods of solving the same problem. Such opportunities cannot be found in online classes (Denton, 1998).
Online learning may provide students an opportunity to work at their own comfort. This is usually very fruitful when presented to adult students. This may have a deteriorating effect on young students aged below 24 years. Young students working at their own potential will stunt their brain development. At their age, the brain is developing and it needs to work under certain pressure to realize its full potential. This is why working under the assurance and comforts of online learning will not be as effective as getting education in traditional classrooms. Online class is a great supplemental tool for traditional classroom learning, but it cannot replace traditional classroom.
Students need teachers to demonstrate them what to do. Traditional classroom has many benefits such as teacher-student interaction and student-student interaction. These interactions play a vital role in the learning process. Online learning may cause a student to be detached and may hinder the process of learning.
Online education is fruitful if taken by a student who has already acquired the first degree. This is because interaction with the tutor and other classmates is vital for the student to understand most of the basic concepts (Darbyshire, 2005).
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Online classes may be perceived as not having any distractions and can be taken up at the comfort of the learner. However, it is important to note that distractions are everywhere, even at home. Distraction in a classroom is often beneficial to a student because all students in that class have a common goal – to understand the concepts taught.
Is Online Learning as Good as Classroom Learning?
In this article, we'll pit e-learning against traditional learning to determine whether online learning is really as good as classroom learning.
- By Erin Wilson
- Jan 25, 2021
E-student.org is supported by our community of learners. When you visit links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Learning online is a relatively new concept, with the term “e-learning” being coined publicly for the first time as late as 1999 . The first traditional university, on the other hand, was created as early as 859 in Morocco.
With such a massive head start, some educators automatically consider traditional classroom-based learning to be far more reliable. Yet, during the digital revolution, e-learning has started to emerge as a viable alternative to physical classrooms.
Online learning enables students to set their own learning pace, choose their own career trajectory, and absorb learning materials from the world’s top universities.
When learning online, students can choose where, how, and what they study more so than ever before.
Yet, digital learning is also plagued by problems such as social isolation , a lack of feedback and communicational skill development, and complicated cheating prevention .
Classroom learning, on the other hand, has traditionally taken place in a physical classroom setting — with the student-teacher interactions happening face-to-face. When questions arise, students have instant access to the teacher’s expertise and knowledge. And, there tends to be a sense of community among students.
Students in a traditional classroom learn in a social environment with their peers. Teachers get to know their students through informal communication, as well as during instruction. Dialogue and discourse are natural products of a traditional learning environment. In the right classroom atmosphere, the students can learn cooperation, all the while developing their social skills and alleviating social anxiety.
But, we all know that traditional learning also has its fair share of issues. University costs are rising eight times faster than wages , teacher shortages are becoming a major concern, and amidst the pandemic, we all saw that students sitting side-by-side in physical classrooms is not always as “safe and reliable” of a choice as we once thought.
This is why today, we’ll be analyzing which is better – online learning or traditional learning.
Here’s a quick guide to the questions covered in this article:
What are the differences in learning outcomes for E-Learning and classroom learning?
Learning outcomes are what students can expect to gain from completing a course, as decided by the instructors during the course design process.
Most traditional face-to-face learning programs have standardized objectives. For example, elementary learning objectives focus on “teaching to the test.” In other words, ensuring students understand the subjects that will be featured in standardized tests.
Online learning programs generally have similar learning outcomes.
When online learning is structured as face-to-face learning in a digital format, the outcomes are the same.
However, these online programs also feature additional niche outcomes — like helping students complete the course to experience career advancement.
With that, it’s challenging to compare face-to-face vs online learning without comparing learning objectives. We’ll focus on three main learning outcomes:
- Delivering knowledge to students in a way that helps them master the material
- Structuring the learning environment so that it supports learners’ goals
- Gaining an objective benefit from the courses
When focusing on most learning outcomes, online learning is just as good — if not better — than face-to-face learning.
How does traditional classroom-based learning deliver knowledge?
Traditionally, most in-person learning is conducted through a teacher-centered model . An instructor will lecture, assign work to facilitate information retention, and issue examinations to understand how students have learned the course material.
As more research is dedicated to different learning styles and teaching methods, face-to-face courses are slowly moving towards more student-centered learning environments. For example, some classrooms are experimenting with the “flipped” classroom model.
This model allows learners to work on their individual or group projects in class, assisted by the instructor, and watch pre-recorded lectures as “homework”. This decreases frustration with homework — as help is readily available — and everyone learns at the same pace.
Owing to the systems already cemented in place, this migration moves at a snail’s pace. A lot of work is required to change the existing delivery methods — especially when public funds are involved.
While educators are aware that the teacher-centered model isn’t the most effective, they’re constrained by the pre-existing status quo.
What about online courses?
The nature of online learning is one of adaptation and transformation. Online courses harness the advancement of technology to deliver knowledge differently. There is more interactivity and engagement when teaching students online.
The focus of online courses is to facilitate learning — vs delivering knowledge and leaving it to students to master the material. With various platforms, they can access multiple tools to increase their retention rates and master the material.
Studies are now showing that online modalities can more effectively teach because they shift the model of instruction delivery. While there are still “lecture” style pieces to online learning, they are supplemented by other learning strategies.
Online learning does a better job of delivering knowledge than face-to-face learning.
How is face-to-face learning structured for learners?
Education has traditionally been a formal institution. Courses are laid out for the students, attendance is compulsory, and lessons are designed based on overarching standards.
Face-to-face learning has a rigid structure. Because of the constraints of the traditional classroom environment, learners are afforded minimal flexibility.
Classes and exams take place at predetermined dates and times . Because learning requires your physical presence, students and instructors must coordinate attendance at the same time. There is no way to offer adaptability for any other commitments students might have.
The structure consists of lectures, homework, strict grading criteria, and examinations. While individual instructors might inject some creativity into the system, the formality of face-to-face learning leaves little room for flexibility.
Online learning offers more options for students
As learning goes digital, the adaptability of educators drastically increases. Since course meetings are virtual, there is no need for attendance at a physical location. And with the ability to pre-record lectures, there are also no time constraints to contend with.
Programs for learning online facilitate communication and interactivity. Students can access help when they need it, instead of being limited to in-person class times with teachers.
Online learning also serves a broader set of learning styles .
- V erbal learners , through e-learning, can make use of reading materials that help them increase retention rates.
- Spatial learners can use augmented and virtual reality technology to see topics come to life.
- Solitary learners are isolated from socializing distractions in a classroom setting and instead can focus on learning.
Online learning does require increased self-discipline, however. The lack of a rigid structure means some students who flourish within a structured format might not do well in online learning.
The student pictured above might be getting valuable feedback from the teacher. Yet, what we cannot see is what’s going on in the background, and whether anyone in the back of the classroom is paying any attention. E-learning solves that by delivering learning materials in an adaptive, personalized manner.
But most students are not served well under the traditional learning model.
Online learning provides greater accessibility and learning opportunities for students.
And thus, online learning wins again.
Online learning offers clearly defined benefits
Learning online is relatively new, but learner outcomes can be clearly defined by harnessing recent technology advancements.
There are objective benefits offered by many online programs. Some have career benefits and training, ensuring that students possess in-demand skills to bring to their careers.
Employers are beginning to develop online learning programs to ensure these graduates are ready for hard-to-fill jobs. For example, Udacity has created nano-degree programs in conjunction with AT&T to help narrow the skill gap.
Online learning can even facilitate ongoing employee training. When employees need to upskill or train for new positions, they can use online learning to develop their own specific curriculum.
Companies can facilitate learning for a fraction of the cost with online learning. Some organizations reduced their training costs by up to 60% by using virtual training programs.
Face-to-face and online learning both have concrete benefits. It’s hard to say which one is better, but online learning is undoubtedly just as good.
Online learning vs classroom learning: which is superior?
The answer to the question of whether online learning is as good as classroom-based learning largely depends on the learning goals of the student. In some cases, particularly in underdeveloped regions with poor digital skills, traditional learning can be more effective than digital learning. However, in developed parts of the globe, e-learning has proven itself to be just as effective as classroom learning.
Before deciding on one or the other, you should also ask yourself what’s your goal for enrolling in a learning program in the first place.
- Are you looking to advance your career?
- Do you wish to become a subject matter expert?
- Are you trying to get a degree?
You should choose an educational solution that matches your personal needs and goals. If your main goal is to advance your career or become a skillful expert, you will likely be better off studying online, as there are a vast number of valuable skills that can be learned online with ease. Online courses are excellent in terms of their cost-effectiveness, and through them, you can have access to the world’s best educational institutions at a fraction of the cost of a traditional Ivy League degree.
Traditional degrees are starting to matter less and less, while the cost of getting one is increasing year-by-year. Therefore, for career advancement purposes, we consider online learning to be far superior to traditional learning. That is – unless you live in a country where degrees are still considered a crucial advantage in the job market.
However, online learning still has a long way to go before it’s “the perfect solution” for everyone. Problems such as social isolation, strong self-motivation requirements, and hardware accessibility still plague the e-learning industry. And, because of that, e-learning is not yet a one-stop shop for everyone.
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Online Education (Argumentative Essay Sample)
Table of Contents
Introduction to Online Education Essay:
Technological advancements and ease of access to the internet are changing our lives for the better. Everything that we do on a daily basis is evolving every day, online education is also exploding in popularity. The convenience of learning while relaxing at your home using your computer is like a dream come true for most students. However, some people still vote in favor of traditional learning as they believe it’s more effective. In this essay, I will present arguments in favor of online learning to make you a believer in tech supremacy.
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700 Words Argumentative Essay About Online Learning
The 21st century has witnessed a revolution in various fields and sectors. There is no doubt that the technology sector has grown the most out of all. The recent pandemic and year-long home quarantine have forced everyone to look for a better alternative to the physical/traditional form of learning. In these couple of years, online learning has flourished the most out of all. Online education is gaining more popularity every day because it’s smart, convenient and many believe it’s more effective too. I am also one of those who think that online education is the future of learning. I believe that interned-based education will soon take over all forms of traditional education.
Online (virtual) mode of education is a more convenient and flexible way of acquiring higher education in many ways. Unlike the traditional approach, online educational programs can be attended by anyone anywhere in the world. You just need access to a reliable internet connection along with a phone, laptop, or desktop computer. For instance, online programs provide great convenience to students who live far away from their schools and campuses. Online platforms enable students to study in all the online courses without even moving from where they live. With modern educational applications, students can even appear in exams while sitting in their homes.
In addition to all these benefits, online schools are way cheaper than traditional education. Under traditional university programs, the students are required to pay for textbooks, transportation, and other institutional facilities. Facilities, such as physical libraries, gyms, swimming pools, and having lunch outside add to the cost of physical education. Online education, more or less only charges for tuition fees along with a few obligatory charges. This enables both poor and rich students to have more or less equal learning opportunities.
Here are more benefits of online education:
Advantages of Online Learning vs Traditional Learning
Many believe that online learning will soon take over all traditional forms of education. Nowadays, almost everyone has access to the internet and tech gadgets are becoming smart and cheaper. With all of this happening it’s safe to say that my argument in favor of online education seems to be more realistic than ever.
It’s Much More Convenient
You can take online classes from the comfort of your home. This means that you don’t have to get up early, you don’t have to catch the bus, you don’t have to travel long distances. You don’t even have to put on formals to attend an online class.
Its Less Costly
Getting an education from home means you don’t have to pay for transport. You don’t need to put on formals or uniforms every day. You don’t even have to pay for textbooks or library services. In short, online education enables you to only pay for tuition along with a few obligatory expenses.
Its Less Time Consuming
Online education enables you to attend live lectures in minutes. Therefore, it only takes 3-5 minutes to begin learning. This means that instead of traveling miles to reach and return from your educational campuses you save 2-3 hours by attending online lectures.
In conclusion, access to the best form of education has become a fundamental aspect of human life. Online learning is a feasible, cheaper, and convenient way through which individuals in need of higher education can attain their objectives. While a few drawbacks are linked to virtual learning, the quality of education offered is almost equivalent to that offered in traditional classrooms. I think that the benefits of online education surpass all other forms of education. Based on all the above-listed arguments I can now say that online learning is the most effective mode of getting a good education.
Short Argumentative Essay Against Online Education (Sample)
Disadvantages of Online Education: Online or internet-based learning is a relatively new mode of education. While face-to-face education has been around for centuries, online education is still developing every day. I believe that traditional schooling is much better than online education. In this essay, I will present arguments to prove why traditional learning is better.
Online learning fails to provide a healthy learning environment. Students attend virtual classes while feeling lazy and less focused. Many students are unable to understand the body language of their instructor through small screens.
On the other hand, traditional schooling is much more interactive. It enables teachers to interact with all the students while teaching. Teachers do this by making eye contact, paying attention to every student, and ultimately filling the room with positive learning energy. Students’ facial expressions also help the instructors understand what’s lacking and help them eliminate confusion in no time.
Here’s Why Traditional Education is Better than Online Education
It’s less interactive.
Through traditional learning, students can understand complex concepts through the instructor’s body language and face reading. Eye contact along with individual attention to every student thus enhances the learning experience by many folds.
Through online learning students just turn on their computers where ever they are and start attending online courses. They also don’t have to attend any sporting activities nor do they socialize with their friends. This negatively affects their physical health and their bodies don’t develop as they should.
In conclusion, I am not trying to criticize online learning by any means. I am of the view that the online education system is still developing and is not yet ready to satisfy student learning needs. More time is required to make the online system function as the traditional education system. Until that time traditional schooling was just better.
Argumentative Essay Topics (Titles) About Online Learning
- Online Classroom VS Physical Classroom – Is Online Education the Future?
- Online Education VS Physical Education – Which one is Better?
- Online Class vs Physical Class – What is the best form of learning?
- Classroom Based Education Versus Internet based Education – Argumentative Essays
- Online Classes VS Traditional Classes – Which One is More Effective?
- 7 Advantages of Online Learning vs Traditional Learning
- 6 Reasons Why Online Education is a Better Option Than Traditional Education
- Differences Between Online Learning and Traditional Learning – What’s Better?
- Debate About the Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Education
- Online Schooling and Distance Learning is the Future of Education – Debate
FAQ’s About Online Education VS Physical Education Essay
Q: is online learning effective or not an argument.
Answer: Yes, it is an argument. Primary and high school students are mostly required to write argumentative essays to improve mental reasoning.
Q: Are online studies good or bad essays?
Answer: Many believe that online studies are the future of education. Online education is a convenient, less costly, and time-saving way of getting an education.
Q: Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?
Answer: Many believe online education is taking over all other forms of learning. However, most people still believe that traditional education is more effective.