Why Traditional Classroom Learning is Better than Online Courses
Online courses are becoming more and more popular. The ability to relax at home and use our own personal computers to obtain college credit is taking more and more students out of classrooms and putting them online.
Technological evolution has obviously made our lives easier and more efficient. With that said, it only seems fit that we should utilize online learning in our colleges and universities. Or should we? While it may seem fit that we adapt our learning style to keep up with the technology available to us, there are reasons to believe that online courses are not nearly as beneficial to us as traditional style classroom learning.
Lack of Interpersonal Skill Development
Online courses usually require no face to face interaction with classmates or teachers. Information on assignments is posted online and may be completed at leisure without having to attend class meetings. While the leisure of this concept is nice, it takes away from the interpersonal skills that students need to acquire along with their education.
When in a classroom, students may be required to speak their mind. They may be required to give presentations or speeches. They will have to work in groups with all kinds of people with many differing viewpoints. Online courses require none of that. Businesses often tell university faculty that they wish graduating students had more interpersonal skills. They say it is crucial to success in their careers. Traditional style learning teaches these things. Now obviously if businesses are telling universities they wish these skills were more evident, there is room for improvement. Still, online courses are not the answer. If anything, online courses will only hurt a students ability to speak and interact with others in a way that will help them in their life and career.
When students are required to interact with classmates and professors, they gain confidence in their ability to speak and interact with others. It grants them the opportunity to learn how to carry themselves in a professional manner. Because online learning can't do this, it's value to a student is significantly lower.
Lack of Memory and Learning Development
Why do many students sign up for online courses? Well, one reason is of course the fact that they do not have to attend an actual class and can learn at home. A more serious, unspoken reason however may be the fact that online learning does not require the student to study or memorize material in the way that traditional learning does.
Students taking a test or quiz online do not have to worry about a professor catching them cheating. Students have the ability to use a book and quickly look up answers online. Even while many tests are timed and many professors don't mind the use of a book on certain things, is this really the way a student should learn? When someone does not have to study and memorize material, it does not embed in his or her long term memory the way it does when they do study it. This is a serious flaw with online courses. It does not promote memory development. Students may not realize it while enrolled in a difficult course, but they will better appreciate the education they receive in college if they are required to put in more effort in obtaining it. A child does not learn how to spell by looking up words in a dictionary, he memorizes the words using flashcards or something similar. This is what enables him to actually learn.
Lack of Student Motivation
One problem with online classes is that all too often, they motivate us to get a degree, but not to learn. Having debates and in class discussions with multiple professors who all have unique personalities motivates students to develop their own opinions. It motivates them to want to voice their opinions. If a student is scared to voice his or her opinion, the classroom is the place he will practice overcoming that fear, not online.
When students receive face to face verbal feedback and constructive criticism from their professors, it instills in them a motivation to not want to let their professors down. It is the relationships and bonds that are formed that give face to face learning an advantage over online learning.
Motivation is a skill that cannot be developed when students are allowed to complete task at their own leisure. They may get the work done, but this does not teach a student how to complete task under the pressure of time. During their careers, they will need to complete task in a certain amount of time on a whim when they are told. If a professor assigns a paper at the start of class and requires it be handed in at the end, that is good preparation for a career. Reading about a similar assignment online that is due in six days doesn't teach this.
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Make the Smarter Choice
There are some things that need to remain the same as time goes on and societies evolve. Education is one of them. While there is an argument that online learning allows people to learn at their own pace, it is still not as valuable as the education obtained from a traditional style classroom. Keep in mind, this is only true if the teachers and professors are good at what they do and if the student is willing to learn. If not, then regardless of the method, nothing will be learned. It just does not make sense to pay for online education when you gain more skill sets and knowledge with traditional style learning (which is typically less expensive).
Now, many people cannot attend regular class meetings and therefore must utilize online learning. This is the case much of the time with graduate degrees. That is another story and understandable. But for the person who is able to choose online or traditional education courses, the decision should be clear.
A student must ask himself, "Am I going to college to develop life skills and learn, or to get a diploma?"