Online Learning Vs. Classroom Learning for Professionals
The internet has given development to online classes for students across the globe. No longer is it necessary to earn a degree or professional certification in a classroom setting. However, in order to determine that suits you best, it is important to know how each learning format can work for or against your educational needs.
Classroom Setting Learning
The classroom setting is all about sensory appeal. You can physically see your instructor, PowerPoint presentations, and blackboard notes in front of you. You’re also able to clearly listen to your instructor- tone and pronunciation can be great assets in learning new material. You are able to ask questions directly and immediately get answers and interact with other students and you can engage in hands-on activities. If you find yourself unable to understand the subject matter you, don’t have to wait for your instructor to email you back with tips and tricks. Likewise, if focusing is your issue, the verbal exchange between students and teachers may help you retain information better and keep you alert. The classroom is also a great way to build and maintain professional relationships with your professors and fellow students alike.
However, there are a few disadvantages to learning in a classroom. A classroom setting is heavily structured; you meet on XYZ day, at XYZ time and for XYZ minutes, like clockwork. This doesn’t allow for much flexibility especially for those with full-time or part-time jobs. Unless specifically stated by the instructor, attendance is required in order to keep up with class requirements and lectures.
Online learning provides more convenience than traditional classroom learning, especially for those who have a job. Students are able to sit at home or at work (we won’t tell your boss) and work on coursework, participate in online discussions, and submit timed tests when they are able to. It provides students the opportunity to study on days that they are free and not have to manage their time around a 90-minute block. Bonus: this also saves on gas. Online learning also allows students to learn at their own pace. Students can focus on challenging parts of coursework longer if they need to and refresh or go back to previous pages when necessary.
If, however, you have trouble with self-discipline you may have trouble keeping up with your coursework in an online setting. In order to succeed with online classes you have to be able to make the time to review the coursework, do the work needed, and take quizzes and tests in a timed setting. You aren’t required to show up at 9am every Wednesday, but you may have a quiz due at 3pm every Friday. Limited interaction with instructors is also a disadvantage with online learning. You don’t have direct access to your instructors and often have to wait a few hours before getting a question answered. That same interpersonal relationship present in classroom settings just isn’t there with an online setting even with use of email, phone and web conferencing.
Before making a decision about what kind of classes to take, you have to consider your lifestyle. Are you a working professional seeking to add a degree under your belt? If so, online classes may be for you. However, if having direct access to your professors is important you might want to stick with classroom learning.