Comparison of Online Versus On-Ground Education

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Institutions of education in the world have been adopting online learning, or a combination with the traditional, on ground education. Therefore, there has been debate among scholars for decades now as to which learning method is the most appropriate. There are those arguing that online learning is superior, while others prefer to learn on-campus. Still, there is another category that feels a hybrid system, that combines the two is the most suitable as they can interact with other students, teachers, and further their education at the place of their convenience. As such, the institutions of higher learning have been experiencing a tremendous increase in the number of people subscribing for online-learning or the hybrid system. For example, according to Allen and Seamans (2013), universities recorded a 570,000 students’ increase in students taking at least one online course between 2011 and 2013. However, despite this change, the perception and reasons for choosing any particular system have greatly been overlooked. Therefore, a comparison and contrast based on the flexibility, discipline, and self-motivation, and social interaction will help learners in deciding, whether to take online or on-ground classes.

Both online and its counterpart traditional education have their merits and demerits, and therefore, the student should understand the expectation in each system before enrolling. One crucial factor to consider when weighing the best option is the availability of an individual. Though both techniques will require time to cover the syllabus, the difference may arise depending on the periods when the learner is available (Erstad, 2017). Starting with online learning, they offer flexibility to learners. Since most online based learning follows a weekly format, those with family or work commitments can manage to attend to them and study as well. On the other hand, on-ground education is rigid, requiring the student to be physically present. Therefore, online studying is essential for those people with schedules not allowing them enough time to attend classes.

Self-discipline is an essential factor to weigh when deciding the best college options to take. Although the two learning systems demand a high level of self-discipline, significant differences exist on how each structure it’s learning (Erstad, 2017). When learning from the comfort of their home, some students may lack the self-motivation to study hard because of the increased flexibility that results in a trade-off between studying and personal matters. However, in on-ground learning, face-to-face interactions may help to keep track of their task. As such, instead of procrastinating on time-consuming assignments, these learners can maintain the self-discipline and complete the assignments as required. Therefore, on-ground learning is most appropriate when a course requires high-level self-discipline on the part of an individual.
There are different categories of learners: those preferring to have a high social interaction during their learning period and those who need it low. Though at some point, there must be an interaction between the learner and the instructor or peers, this rate will depend on the system they choose (Erstad, 2017). For example, for those thriving on face-to-face communication, traditional education is the best mode for them. Also, the classroom setting provides opportunities to ask the spur-of-moment questions and derive motivation from daily interaction with colleagues and teachers. On the other hand, online learning limits the time to interact with others. Therefore, there is more social interaction in on-ground education than in the online method.

Therefore, in the on-ground and online learning, there is no right or wrong system to apply. Much of it depends on the flexibility of a person, preferences concerning social interaction levels, and understanding the method that motivates someone best. Thus, before enrolling to any learning format, it is essential to perform a self-assessment to know the most suitable option for the learners’ needs. All these learning techniques are useful when one chooses the one meeting his/her needs.

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