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What’s better, online learning or in-person classes?

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Educators and learners all over the world have had to adapt to ever-changing landscapes and new global challenges. Connecting with friends and family had to happen via WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Zoom in this new era, and education has followed suit.

There’s no denying that digital learning is a valuable asset, and online education has many advantages. 

Online education makes education more accessible.

The rise of online education has ‘disrupted’ the educational system. Schooling has traditionally been done in person, which has limitations for those who are unable to attend. So, the most obvious advantage of providing learning opportunities online is that you make education available to a much larger number of people.

By providing online learning courses that can be chosen to take over a long period of time, digital education facilities have enabled several more learners to gain qualifications and even retrain for a future career at any stage of their lives. This allows those who are unable to leave full-time employment and other commitments to attend university to study and obtain at home and at convenient times.

However, digital has limitations as well.

Delivering lessons online requires different approaches and skills than teaching in a physical classroom. Traditional classroom teachers, in particular, have had to adapt and learn in order to teach students online this year.

For online or remote learning to be effective, the course content must have an impact on the student’s progress and be of very high quality and tailored to the online learning environment. The same preparation and understanding of in-person trying to teach theory and best practice that is required for a successful physical class is required for digital education.

Interactivity is essential in any learning setting. The ability of teachers to connect with students and identify their needs has been identified as a key barrier to learning by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This can be more difficult to achieve without time spent in the physical classroom, especially if online learning is delivered to a broad group rather than small tutored groups or one-on-one settings.

There are some disadvantages to taking classes in person.

Access to education can be hampered by where students live and their socioeconomic status. With in-person class sizes limited to the capacity of the school and many schools only accepting students who live nearby, offering only in-person instruction will exclude some groups of people from learning. This is especially true in cases where education is not freely available.

Though it has been the traditional method of instruction for decades, some students’ learning styles do not correspond to those of a full classroom. Many people find it intimidating to speak up in front of their peers, which limits their interaction and opportunity for valuable feedback. When activities are hosted digitally, these students may find it a lot easier to participate in class discussions.

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