Online learning vs Traditional learning

With the advent of modern technology, there has been a change in the pedagogical approaches in schools. Most of the schools are now opting for gadgets to teach rather than manual approaches. The use of multimedia presentations and different gadgets is becoming a common sight with every passing day. 

Students are also getting used to these gadgets and prefer them over paper books and manual reading material. But the physical presence of a school is necessary to carry out all these activities. Brick and mortar schools are still the norm.

Brick and mortar schools are those that have a physical presence, a building where students have to show up regularly. These schools are still a part of the education system and are considered essential for the process. 

Due to their physical presence, brick and mortar schools promote social interactions between students and the teachers. They provide an active learning environment for the students to be more productive and learn new things. Brick and mortar schools are considered as the symbol of education. It’s not just the buildings that make the difference but the people within. Students get to learn much more than just gaining knowledge. Students get the opportunity to experience practical knowledge.

Personality development is usually the main focus of brick-and-mortar schools. Students grow and learn many things that they could not learn by staying back at their homes and attending online lectures. If education is completely transformed online, there would be so many things students would be missing out on. 

We would deprive them of so many valuable experiences and learning. Only knowledge is not sufficient enough for a student to grow, but its practical applications as well. Students cannot learn hands-on skills back at home because of a lack of facilities. Home-based learning can never equate to school learning because of the lack of environment as well. Schools provide students with a learning environment that encourages them to learn to grow and develop into better citizens of society.

Home-based learning also kills productivity because it does not bound us with strict deadlines. Irrespective of the fact that we have to submit an assignment on time precisely, we tend to be lazy. We procrastinate and delay our work until the deadline strikes. Solely because our home provides us with a cozy environment that encourages us to rest rather than work, no one would prefer working on a cold winter morning in their comfy pajamas and a warm cup of hot cocoa by our side. Institutional education keeps us out of our comfort zones, which leads to a more productive day.

As technology is taking over our lives, it has become an essential part of the education sector as well. 

With the frequent use of gadgets as part of our daily routines, online education is gradually becoming the norm and is rapidly evolving over the past decade. 

Online education is also free of time and space limitations, making it even more conveniently available for students.

Online education comes with its own pros, like saving our money that would have been spent on commute. Online learning is considered more accessible than traditional classroom learning, especially for the physically disabled. Currently, 31 states offer statewide full-time virtual schools enrolling an estimated 275,000 students (Watson and Murin, 2012). 

Online education is, however, considered more affordable as well. But it requires thorough research to avail of this opportunity because affordable things don’t come easy. Affordable courses are not accessible at ease. Students should research vividly to find such courses that are relatively inexpensive.

Although no difference is found in the teaching approaches in online and face-to-face learning in a study conducted by Aragon et al. (2000)

It is quite understood that traditional classroom learning requires us to travel a few miles to reach our institution, which definitely costs us fuel expenses. In contrast, online education does not require us to travel at all. 

Thus, saving fuel expenses. Traditional classroom learning provides us with more facilities than online learning, like access to science laboratories, which will eventually cost more. 

Apart from that, brick and mortar schools offer us different co-curricular activities like sports events, annual events, prize distribution events, etc. Dorm facilities, cafeteria, playgrounds, libraries, computer laboratories are some of the many facilities brick and mortar schools are equipped with. Additionally, schools provide us with community services, health, and academics simultaneously raises the likelihood of increasing tuition fees.

There are some factors involved in the cost of an online course. A few of them are:

  • Development of e-materials.
  • Teaching and assessing students.
  • Accessing the website.
  • Administering the students online.
  • Providing the infrastructure to support online education.
  • Planning and managing online education at macro and micro levels. (Ash, 2001)

Researchers suggest that it takes more time to develop a media that will occupy a student for one hour rather than preparing a one-hour in-person lecture. 

It was concluded that it took from 2 to 10 hours to prepare a lesson, from 1 to 10 hours to prepare a small group session, and from 3 to 10 hours to prepare a video-tape lecture; however, it took at least 50 to 100 academic hours to prepare a teaching text, 100 hours to prepare a television broadcast, 200 hours to develop computer-aided learning, and 300 hours to create interactive materials – to which in all cases one needed to add the time of technical support staff (Sparkes, 1984)

Since the e-learning system is relatively new, there are no conclusive studies regarding the cost of online learning. Currently, scholars and analysts have contradictory views on the cost-effectiveness of online vs. face-to-face learning.

However, many factors are responsible for determining educational costs, whether online or face-to-face.

These factors are:

  • Purpose-built materials.
  • Nature of the materials used.
  • The associated development cost of the materials used. (Weller, 2004)

Online learning has also reduced the inconvenience of commuting to the institute during rush hour and getting late, but there is another solution to this problem. Universities also offer their students an option to live on campus in dormitories. Many students prefer living on campus to avoid the daily hassle of rushing to the institute and avoid getting late. Also, people who are coming from faraway places opt for living on campus. Mostly international students occupy the dormitories of a university, but locals also prefer living on campus.

A student should primarily opt for living on campus since it can reduce a substantial amount of expenses.

  • Living in a dorm can reduce food, internet, and utility expenses because the University tuition fees cover them.
  • Scholarships, grants, financial aids often cover residence costs.
  • Unlike apartments, dorms don’t require a security deposit.
  • Students can also get rid of the hassle of buying/renting furniture since all dorms are at least equipped with a bed and a table. Additionally, hostels provide students with the facility of standard rooms equipped with couches, televisions, and a comfort like home.
  • Living on campus also saves the students from the hassle of owning/renting a vehicle out. Most colleges and universities are perfect for pedestrian transportation.

On the contrary, students also have to face difficulties while residing on campus.

  • Living on campus could also be a bit pricey, depending on the geographical area. Prices may vary accordingly, but students often manage off-campus residence quite well by bunking with friends or family. Sometimes students have to face issues regarding food hygiene. Religious restrictions are often not kept under consideration, which eventually leads students to approach the grocery store as often as they would off-campus. If a student leaves the hostel mid-way through the semester, he/she has to face penalties for not fulfilling the contract.

It entirely depends upon a student how he/she manages things effectively. Newcomers often opt for living on campus since they don’t want to get engrossed in financial and rent issues. 

Living off-campus can also reduce the possibility of socializing with peers. Students often miss out on the extra- curricular activities going on in the dorms. Students living away even miss out on the fun and joyous moments that students living on campus enjoy.

What does Accreditation mean?

Accreditation is the act of providing recognition, especially to an educational institution that maintains stable standards. Princeton University and New York University are examples of accredited institutions in the US.

The purpose is to sustain the quality of the institute to a kept standard. Ensuring that institution is up to the standards and expectations built around the name and for public accountability. Usually, it is done every five to ten years.

The United States department of education recognizes one of the accrediting agencies. Most institutions are termed eligible after attaining the accredited status for receiving federal funds by the Secretary of the USDE.

In the united states, higher education institutions are permitted to operate independently with considerable autonomy. As a result, American institutions can vary widely in the quality of programs they offer. To ensure uniformity on the basic level of quality amongst the higher education institutions, accreditation came into practice.

Functions of Accreditation:

  1. Certifying that an institution or program has met established standards Assisting prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions Assisting institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credits
  2. Helping to identify institutions and programs for the investment of public and private funds
  3. Protecting an institution against harmful internal and external pressure
  4. Creating goals for self-improvement of weaker programs and stimulating a general raising of standards among educational institutions
  5. Involving the faculty and staff comprehensively in situational evaluation and planning
  6. Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure and for upgrading federal assistance

Types of Accreditation:

There are two basic types of accreditation:

  1. Institutional
  2. Specialized or programmatic.

Institutional accreditation typically applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution’s parts contributes to the achievement of the institution’s objectives, although not necessarily all at the same level of quality. The various commissions of the regional accrediting associations, for example, perform institutional accreditation, as do many national accrediting agencies.

Specialized or programmatic accreditation usually applies to programs, departments, or schools that are part of an institution. The accredited unit may be as large as a college or school within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized or programmatic accrediting agencies review units within an institution of higher education that is accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions. 

However, certain accrediting agencies also accredit professional schools and other specialized or vocational institutions of higher education freestanding in their operations. Thus, a specialized or “programmatic” accrediting agency may also function in the capacity of an “institutional” accrediting agency.

Education nowadays is comparatively easier than education in medieval times. There is a massive influx of information from several resources online and offline. 

Students can easily access information anywhere and everywhere, defying the boundaries and limitations of time and space. Students need to channelize the information effectively to be entirely benefitted from it. 

All praises to the modern technology, students can even study at the comfort of their homes with minor limitations. 

However, cost-effectiveness is not yet deduced because of the recent dramatic rise in technology. Studies are still going on relating to the matter and evaluating the differences and similarities between online and traditional classroom learning.

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