The Difference between Online and Traditional Classes

Reference & EducationCollege & University

  • Author Peter Newton
  • Published April 16, 2018
  • Word count 507

The Difference between Online and Traditional Classes

So you have decided to go back to school and earn that degree. That is undoubtedly a smart move, and hopefully, you will get that desired promotion soon. But have you decided on the mode of learning that best suits your needs? Is it traditional classes or online classes? To help you decide, here are a few differences between these two approaches to higher education:

Technology as a Communication Medium

Teachers use technology within the setting of the traditional classroom. That said, it is accurate to say that online classes are wholly dependent upon technology. A student who is not techno-savvy might need to acquire computer skills before they join a virtual college. Technology is the primary medium of communication between learners and tutors.

Online Classes are "Asynchronous" While Traditional Classes are "Synchronous"

Typically, an online class does not necessitate that a student and their instructor meet or interact face-to-face. A student can connect with the teacher through Skype, text messaging, phone, or email among other means. However, a traditional class is "synchronous." Being synchronous means that the learner and their professor need to meet at the same time and place throughout the life of the program.

Each Handles Discussion Differently

Discussion is key to learning in either of these approaches to knowledge acquisition. How discuss happens is what separates online classes from traditional ones. In the former, a teacher will ask a question. Learners establish a discussion thread in the same virtual space. Each learner composes their answer and presents it in writing. Others can see that response and offer helpful suggestions and criticism. Verbal discussion is what works in traditional learning.

They Differ in Terms of Flexibility

A person who enrolls in a traditional program must ensure they have enough time for what they are getting into. Colleges require that such a student be physically present in the classroom most of the time. When it comes to the alternative, learners can and do access learning material and courses virtually. They do not need to endure the inconvenience and expense relating to having to attend a physical class. If you are busy building a career or a business and are raising kids at the same time, online study might make more sense.

Online Learning is Way Cheaper than Traditional Learning

There is always the little issue of finances. Nowadays, getting a high-quality higher education from a recognized college can cost you an arm and a leg. Many prospective students feel their financial situation prevents them from enrolling in traditional classes due to money matters. Typically, online learning is way cheaper than conventional learning. Enrolling in a traditional program costs up to three times what an online degree would cost you. There is no evidence that the two approaches differ regarding the quality of education.

Whether to attend a virtual college or enroll in a traditional program is a personal choice. Now that you know what either entails, you can make a decision that aligns with your situation and preference.

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