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Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?

Andrew Russo
Andrew Russo
Posted in Zoom Sep 5 · 8 Sep, 2022
Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?

A lot of things have changed since the pandemic began including how a lot of us are learning. But the question remains, is online learning as good as face-to-face learning?

The world has changed a lot since the pandemic started, from how we went on with our daily lives to how we work. But one part of our life that has changed dramatically since the pandemic is how we learn.

From little kids in school to employees trying to learn new things for work, the idea of face-to-face learning is nothing but a memory now. Online learning has taken over as the new normal in its place.

But is online learning as good as face-to-face learning? Are people better off with online education instead of face-to-face learning? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both to find out.

What is Face-to-Face Learning?

Face-to-face learning is the traditional way of learning where people gather in a physical space to learn from a teacher. This could be in a classroom, workshop, or any other physical space.

The teacher is usually in front of the class, leading the lesson while the students are expected to pay attention and participate.

Pros of Face-to-Face Learning

– Personal interaction is better than online interaction

– Can learn from more experienced people

– More engaging and fun

Cons of Face-to-Face Learning

– Limited to people in the same physical space

– More expensive

– Can be disruptive

What is Online Learning?

On the other hand, online learning is a type of learning that takes place over the internet. It’s a type of distance learning where students can attend classes and lessons without being in a physical space.

With online learning, students can learn from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. Teachers will use video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet to deliver their lessons. Students can also access their assignments and materials through e-learning platforms like Canvas or Blackboard.

Pros of Online Learning

– Can learn from anywhere

– More affordable than face-to-face learning

– More engaging and fun

– Easier to keep up with

Cons of Online Learning

– Limited to people with access to the internet

– People with little to no technical know-how might find it challenging

So, is online learning good vs. face-to-face learning? It depends on the person and what they’re looking for in a learning experience. Let’s delve into it.

Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning

Now that we know more about both online and face-to-face learning. Let’s try to find out how they compare to each other in certain aspects.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning

Synchronous learning is a big difference between face-to-face and online education. Both instructors and students are present in face-to-face instruction. This implies that both people need to set aside a specific time for learning. If it’s 4 pm on a Tuesday, both student and teacher have to block out that time so they can participate.

It is unnecessary to engage in online learning. Online education may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously. An instructor can record a session days ahead of time, while students may watch it. This allows both parties to do their own things at their own leisure.

Delivering vs. Encouraging

Instructors simply provide information in face-to-face sessions and later evaluate students’ comprehension of that knowledge. Often, this leads to a disconnect between what level of expertise is provided by the teacher and what is absorbed/understood by the student.

On the other hand, via a screen, teachers function more like learning facilitators, assisting their pupils in comprehending the material by providing them with resources available online. This provides students with more than one way of understanding the topic.

Student vs. Teacher-led Education

A teacher-led class is an example of when the teacher gives a speech to the students. The pupils follow instructions from the instructor and complete a predetermined learning process. Knowledge is shared, students study, teachers take assessments, and grades are based on expertise in this type of learning. Both slow and fast learners have to undergo the same regimen, which creates an unfair disadvantage for some.

Students guide their learning by being proactive autonomous learners in online education. Students lead discussions and research topics that are suited to their level of development. They can speed through topics they are already knowledgeable about and slow down on topics they find hard to understand.

Performance Assessements

In both face-to-face and online learning, instructors must provide a strategy for quantifying the students’ performance. Typically, this is done by creating tasks, administering examinations or quizzes, and providing students with opportunities to earn participation points.

Teachers can start measuring students’ performance, engagement, and class attendance’ in an online learning environment by monitoring the students’ responses and class conduct. In addition to that, teachers may utilize tools such as group discussions, writing tasks, case studies, research papers, concept visualizations, quizzes, and exams to assess student achievement.

Why Is Online Learning Better than Face-to-Face Learning?

Based on the comparison presented above, it’s easy to see how online learning is better than face-to-face learning. If you are still unconvinced, let’s talk about how online is much better than face-to-face learning.

1. Customizable Learning Experience

The current generation is drawn to internet activities and innovative multimedia content. Students can benefit from studying for a degree online since they may access more resources and materials. Learners may go over the study material and assignments, participate in group discussions with peers and instructors, view recorded lectures, and access on-demand podcasts, movies, and quizzes on demand, among other things.

2. Virtual Interactions

The traditional classroom is being disrupted by technological improvements, allowing face-to-face interactions to be replaced with face-to-face encounters. All students have direct contact with their tutors and peers in online learning, making it accessible to everyone and adaptable for all.

3. Broader technical skillset

An online degree also correlates to solid technological skills, a definite bonus for any job seeker. To be competitive, learners will need to familiarize themselves with new resources and technologies and solve common issues.

4. A broader global viewpoint

In an online learning environment, students will not only network with people all over the world, but they will also enhance their encounters by becoming more culturally aware. Given the freedom to log in from any location, group discussions provide a broader range of viewpoints as students may form their cross-cultural comprehension. Ideas from learners from different parts of the world enrich discussions as they open up various avenues of thought.

5. Online is greener

When you choose online learning, you cut down on the use of energy and other finite resources such as paper. Not only that, you take in less pollution compared to commuting to class.

On paper, online courses require 90% fewer resources than traditional learning and have up to 85% lower carbon emissions. So if you are thinking of saving the environment while learning, online is the way to go.

6. Fewer dropouts

If you are looking for a way to increase retention in your students, then online learning should be heavily considered. Multiple research studies have shown that schools and institutions that offer online courses have 75% better retention and graduation rates as compared to those who are doing face-to-face classes.

How Do You Transition from Face-to-Face to Online Learning?

If you are a teacher, and would like to transition your students from face-to-face classes to online, you should do a few things.

First, you should sit down with your students and explain the differences between the two types of learning environments.  It is crucial that your students understand how online learning will work and how it is different from face-to-face.

Second, you need to create a schedule for your online classes. Make sure to include time for discussions, lectures, group work, and individual work. Note that part of the beauty of online learning is the asynchronicity of everything. So while a schedule exists, understand that people should have enough liberty to do things on their own time.

Third, you need to ensure that you have the proper resources for your online class. This includes a computer or laptop with a stable internet connection, a webcam, a microphone, and software such as Skype or Google Hangouts. This goes for your learners as well.

Fourth, you should create a syllabus for your online class. This syllabus should include all of the topics you will be covering in your style and the due dates for assignments and exams.

Fifth, you should set up guidelines for online behavior and participation. This is important to maintain a respectful and civil learning environment.

Finally, you need to be available for your students. This means being available during office hours and being able to answer any questions that your students may have. You should also provide feedback on their assignments and exams in a timely manner.

You can transition your face-to-face classes to online without any problems by following these tips.

Online Learning as the Superior Choice

There is no doubt that online learning is becoming more and more popular. There are many reasons for this, but convenience, flexibility, and affordability are three main reasons. In addition to these benefits, online learning is just as effective – if not more so – than traditional face-to-face learning.  So if you are considering making the switch to online learning, or are simply looking for a more convenient and affordable way to learn, then online learning is the superior choice.