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Online Learning Versus Traditional Learning

written by: Akili Amina•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 5/31/2009

Are you looking into online learning? When you look at online learning versus traditional learning, you find a lot of differences. Read on to find out more about online learning and how it differs from traditional learning.

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    Online Learning Versus Traditonal Learning: The Differences


    If you are a student or intend to be, life has changed drastically in the last ten years or so for you. But for some there was never a day that the classroom didn't have a computer in it. They are students who started school in the late nineties or in the last ten to fifteen years. They most likely are kids who have seen computers and laptops in the class since elementary school and probably consider it normal.

    If you are older and have never experienced kindergarten lesson plans that are computer based, then you are in the larger group. These are students who are now rethinking their careers and deciding to go back for more training or even get a degree. They are the online pupils who actually may have to learn about computers while they are using them in order to obtain their distance learning degree. This is where you must look at online learning versus traditional learning.

    Those who belong to this group are those who may be first-year students in the distance learning environment. If you belong to this group, you will be the first to notice how the learning procedures are vastly different in comparison. As the student, you are in some ways the teacher in that you will have to invest heavily in your schooling. With the advances in technologies like cell phones, iPods, laptops, and even video games, kids may in fact be ahead of their instructor in schools today. These children actually grow up along with the technology that is being created.

    They are sometimes so much more learned than their advisor due to their constant interactivity with these products. This almost makes the everyday learning surroundings we grew up with obsolete. What need is there for turning in your homework on a piece of notebook paper when it can be submitted over the web? Well, that trumps the "my dog ate my homework" excuse we often had good laughs about in class.

    Those in normal classroom settings are able to integrate the web in their coursework either in school or at home. There are some schools that even offer a sick child the option of keeping up with their classwork while they are at home until they get well. This forward thinking on their school's part actually rules out any excuse for being ill and not completing assignments. This is the flexibility afforded those who go to school online for high school or college and further illustrates the differences in online learning versus traditional learning.

    Those who choose to go to school online in hopes of obtaining a degree will learn that the convenience of a flexible schedule is great. However, there are some slight drawbacks such as not being able to get a immediate response from your instructor when asking a question.

    You will be dependent on interaction with your teacher through email most times compared to raising your hand when asking a question. You will get to know your classmates and interact with them through forums, so don't expect a response quickly as you would get in person. Your coursework is outlined in your syllabus and your instructor will give you all of your assignments for the week. Then off you go to complete your work as you please. It is not a bad thing; however, because it is said that the student actually learns better and in much more depth with this type of learning background.

    This type of learning situation or surrounding can be a benefit to those who are introverts because they can concentrate more on their work. They can thrive because they would rather not have the noise or constant interruption like in traditional classroom settings. These noise makers are called the 'noisy learners' and they are most likely extroverts. They thrive in the 'brick and mortar' classroom settings because they need the human interaction and the social scene it brings.

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    Online Learning Is Here To Stay

    The online classroom, although it is new on the block, won't be going anywhere anytime soon. It is wise that society and institutions adjust to that fact and build a working relationship around the web or Internet. It is the students who have adjusted the quickest and they are begging for more classes to be offered in this format.

    Overall, the impact of online learning on our society has been a positive one. It solely places all responsibility for your thriving in your coursework on you. It is up to you to participate in class discussions and build relationships through online communication with your classmates. This is something else to keep in mind when you look at online learning versus traditional learning.

    You will carry the weight of ensuring that you achieve set limits and goals to acquire a passing grade. Your instructor or teacher doesn't have to hand feed you the material and lectures. You will have to read them in your own time. You need to make sure that you have soaked up enough of the lectures and coursework to make a passing grade.

    This is highly beneficial to all those who are involved such as the teacher, the classmates, and student. The effort to learn will become the mountain that you must climb and conquer. You must be a very self guided and disciplined person to flourish in the online or distance learning environment because without those skills the experience can be defeating.

    For those who are able to keep up with coursework, class discussions, and pass quizzes; they won't have to worry. These are the folks that the online learning process may even be made for. They are those who may not set foot on a campus until graduation day.

    Cited Sources:

    Ian J., McCoog. "21st Century Teaching and Learning". Education Resources Information Center. May 27, 2009