Comparing Classroom and Online Learning: Your Optimal Choice

Student and Professor Chatting Online

However hard it may be to wake up in the morning and make your way to school/college/university (underline what applicable), still it is impossible, and I am not hesitating to use this word here to deny the fact that these educational establishments play an extremely important role in our life. No matter how old we are and what plans we have for the future, still we all should acknowledge that education is something none of us can go without.

At the same time, the learning process can never be confined by one’s age, place, lifestyle or career. So, living in the 21st century, when we have got literally endless opportunities but rather limited finances and little time, we may keenly feel the necessity to combine study with other activities and duties. And this is when the Internet and computer technology come to rescue us again. You are likely to know some guys who are or were used to buy custom college papers online. Your friends might have told you about online lectures, which everybody can listen for free. In your turn, what do you think about taking your college or university courses without living your warm and cozy room? Or, maybe, you would like to combine your study with travel?

Well, today this is not just an incredible romantic dream of a progressive student. This is an absolutely real learning experience which is proving its efficiency more and more. However, online or distance learning still has not replaced traditional learning format, when students attend classes and communicate with their teachers in person. So, now educators all around the world are trying to come up with a reasonable compromise which would become a key solution to the dilemma of managing the regular and distance learning processes.

Let us follow their train of thoughts and make out the main features of these two types of education in order to understand their advantages and disadvantages. Our comparison will also help us to determine which option would definitely be better for the modern student. Here we go!

A Few Introductory Remarks About Distance Education and Its Principles

Laptops on Table

The very concept of distance learning may be traced back to the 19th century. It is directly connected with the invention and development of the Pitman shorthand system, named after its creator, the English teacher, Sir Isaac Pitman. After his attempt to send texts transcribed into shorthand to his students as a “home assignment” and to get their transcriptions back was crowned with success, a number of colleges in England and continental Europe also started to use mail as a means to provide education.  

With the advent of media technology, such as radio and television, distance learning turned into a real and feasible method for transmitting knowledge and other types of information from a teacher to a student. Despite the fact that the efforts to apply television to the learning process did not give the expected results, the so-called telecourses became the precursors of the modern online education programs.

What Is Web-Based Education: General Facts 

No doubt, the Internet has revolutionized the whole educational system worldwide. So, nowadays it is worth talking not only about the possibility to access to numerous information sources of different kinds or, if concerning rather everyday student issues, to buy custom college papers online. What the mankind possesses today is the largely acknowledged and fast developing web-based education! To put it all simply, it means that with the help of the Internet you can study practically everything you want. What is more, the documents you will get after finishing online courses are mostly considered as valid and equal to those issued by real educational establishments.

Distance Learning: Contemporary Definition

Taking into account the fact that nowadays the whole process of distance learning is provided with the help of the Internet and electronic devices, distance learning is synonymous with the notion of online education (or e-learning). It involves the use of video, voice and text teaching methods, which can be supported by the World Wide Web, as well as availability of the operable computer (that is by default).     

Some History

The very first Internet-based university appeared in Barcelona, Spain, in 1994. Its full name is The Open University of Catalonia, and it provides bachelor’s and master’s degrees, doctoral programs, postgraduate and specialist courses, as well as language courses. Although the choice of majors is not as wide as a traditional university can offer, the number of its current students and graduates impresses: according to the statistical data provided by Wikipedia, in 2013 there were about 52.000 students at the OUC. Today, the university has 7 faculties, offering such popular majors as Computer Science, Law, Economics, Psychology, etc. The enrollment fee is determined by the qualification a student chooses. The total price would include the costs of learning materials, teaching itself, fees for exams, access to the Virtual University Campus and some other services.

4 Types of E-Learning

Laptop on Sand

Generally, the most significant differences between the 4 types of online education (or e-learning) are determined by the way a student manages his or her time. Each type is characterized by its own very specific requirements despite the fact that very often different types can be combined with one another. This would help to make the process of distance learning more effective and provide it with even more functions, hence making the online learning convenient for such “distant” students.

At the same time, each type of e-learning allows you to buy custom college papers online, use the Internet sources to prepare for tests and exams as well as to do many other “traditional” things which you would do as a “traditional” student.   

So, let us see what exactly is so special about each of type of web-based education and make out which of them can be considered the most effective for you.  

Type #1: When Your Schedule Is Open

Students who choose it receive special materials, needed for their courses, a particular number of deadlines, and full freedom to handle their coursework. It means that with the open online study schedule your main task is to complete all your assignments on time. However, it does not matter how, where and when you do them. Yet, you should remember that such education would suit a student who is enough motivated to manage his or her study and all other activities without teacher’s help equally well.     

Type #2: Known as Blended Learning

The so-called blended learning implies certain combination of the two educations. It still offers students the above-mentioned open schedule but requires them to communicate in a classroom or via Skype at the pre-determined time. Completion of the assignments given must also meet the set deadlines. In addition, blended learning appears to be one of the most popular and widely acknowledged versions of web-based education. However, if you still have a necessity to buy custom college papers online to send them to your teacher, you should better pay much attention to your deadlines in order not to be late with your writings.

Type #3: Strict Computer-Based Learning

Despite its name, it requires students to take part in the learning process directly. The time and place of communication are also set clearly. By the way, students and teachers can meet in the lab or real classroom. However, this way to study the courses you are interested in would suit you only if you lived not far from the campus of the educational establishment which provides them, so that it was convenient for you to attend the group meetings.

Type #4: Popular Fixed-Time Learning

As the name suggests, this type implies a fixed schedule and a set of deadlines, while students can send the completed assignments from anywhere. So, you can see that its main features may resemble those of the open-schedule type. Yet, the most significant difference of the fixed-time learning type is the availability of one special website onto which students can log when working on their assignments. Besides, students are welcome to join the single live forum online to communicate with their teacher and with each other.

Traditional vs. Web-Based Education: Comparing the Main Aspects

Students in Classroom

Now we are going to compare the two main ways of providing education in the world of today: traditional college or university classes and the Internet plus a convenient electronic device. The comparison is based on analyzing the most generally essential aspects of education which have the greatest impact on students’ preferences and therefore choices. Here I also find it right to refer to the interesting article by Rasmussen College, the U.S., dedicated to studying the most considerable distinctions between the two approaches to education, providing the answers we “never expected”.

Aspect #1. Flexibility

Traditional Education E-Learning

Even though you can choose the disciplines you want to study at your college, still you must attend the classes at the time set by its administration or whoever. That is why combining your traditional study with the job or any other commitments can be really difficult, as you can hardly manage your time as you want.

Regardless of the type your e-learning relates to, you can decide yourself when and for how many hours you want to study the chosen course. So, all you need is to set the particular time and make sure your Internet connection is alright. Of course, you cannot escape from the deadlines if you really want your degree. But still it is you who takes the absolute control over the learning process.

Aspect #2. Discipline 

Traditional Education E-Learning

When you have a strict schedule and a professor, who will definitely check your home assignment, study discipline is something that goes without saying. Who knows, maybe, this is just our human nature that makes us work better under the control of other people or circumstances. But the fact remains that classroom and face-to-face learning really can make students study more responsibly.

Distance education is definitely a better option for those guys who know what self-motivation and how it works. Even if you somehow decide to buy custom college papers online or help yourself with your study in any other way, still it is very important to have some clear organization of your learning. That is to say that you should know for sure what exactly you plan to do as well as how and when to do it.

Aspect #3. Interaction and Feedback 

Traditional Education E-Learning
  1. 1. Despite the technologies we have at our disposal nowadays, face-to-face interaction remains a very valuable and important thing, which may have a great impact on our success. So, traditional classroom learning would certainly be more comfortable for those students who realize that they need to communicate with their instructors or supervisors directly and not via the Internet.
  2. 2. Also, the traditional type of learning provides live communication between students at the college or university, which can be very important for your normal lifestyle and well-being.
  1. 1. Web-based education does not exclude the possibility of interaction between a student and an instructor. Besides online meetings, in which students can and must participate, contacting the instructor directly via e-mail, for example, is also considered normal practice.
  2. 2. Of course, you will not be able to see your group mates very often when you study online. What is more, you may never see some of them in person. However, if you want, you can still meet together with the guys you know in some more relaxed atmosphere to have a cup of coffee and discuss your latest projects.   

Aspect #4. Cost 

Traditional Education E-Learning

It is expensive and there is nowhere to escape from this fact. However, nowadays you can apply for special programs which provide students with financial help either by scholarships or by rendering them a particular some of money to pay for their education.

Distance learning is claimed to be definitely cheaper than its traditional counterpart. As we have mentioned above, the total cost of online education at different online colleges and universities depends on the qualification you choose and includes a wide range of other options besides the study itself.  

So, What to Choose: The Final Conclusion

No doubt, web-based learning of today can be considered the draft image of the future of education. However, at the moment we can see that there are still some issues about it which require not just improvement but, maybe, also full revaluation and reconsideration. As it usually happens, both of the options (in our case they are traditional and distance educations) have advantages along with drawbacks which cannot but be taken into account. If you can continue to buy custom college papers online regardless of whether you must attend college or not, yet there are a lot of other aspects which depend largely on the principles featured by this or that type of learning.

Nevertheless, as our aim is to decide which type of education can best suit a student of the 21st century, we should come to one unambiguous conclusion. Referring to the ideas of most modern educators, let us consider that for now blended education is the best possible option: it implies combination of classroom and distance learning, therefore allowing students to manage bigger part of their time themselves but still keeping an eye on their progress. 

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