“In this blog, we will do a comparative study of e-learning and traditional learning and try to find out which is the better alternative between the two.”
With the changing times, how education is imparted is also changing. To be in sync with the times, the process of learning is also constantly evolving. Once, education happened only within the four corners of a classroom. Today, you can learn while sitting in any corner of the world. Education is transgressing its traditional boundaries and taking new forms every day, and this newly evolved form is popularly known as e-learning or online learning.
But amidst all these changes, one question remains: E-learning vs. traditional learning: which one is better?
While both forms are equally prevalent today, this debate is never-ending. But to get a clear picture of both sides, with Graphy let’s do a comparative study of e-learning and traditional learning and try to find out which is the better alternative between the two.
So, let’s get started.
E-learning Vs Traditional Learning: A Comparative Study
What is traditional learning?
Traditional learning refers to the real-life classes that happen within the four walls of the classroom. This category includes the kind of learning that happened within your school or college classroom where your teacher delivered an hour of lecture.
It is the most basic model where students learn from their teachers, interact with other students, and jot down notes and voice queries within a physical space. Traditional learning is a lecture-based model of learning where learning happens primarily through the knowledge that a teacher chooses to impart. No other mode of information finds its way into this traditional space.
To make a clear demarcation between e-learning vs traditional learning, let’s have a look at some key features of the traditional method of learning.
Features of traditional learning
- Continuous face-to-face interaction between the educator and students.
- Sole reliance on textbooks.
- All students learn within the same environment.
- In a traditional learning space, the teacher is completely in control of the learning environment.
- There is no space for distractions of any kind.
- Learning always happens within a classroom at a predetermined time.
Advantages and disadvantages of traditional learning
The traditional method of learning comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. And that is why, while at times it is scrutinized for its effectiveness, it is still a widely acclaimed mode of learning.
The question of e-learning vs. traditional learning: can be better answered once you are aware of both their positive and negative sides. Let’s begin by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning.
The advantages of traditional learning
- Traditional learning has increased the scope for active learning. Students interact with their teachers and classmates and have face-to-face interactions, creating an active environment where learning happens in full swing.
- Traditional learning not only aims to develop the subject knowledge of children but also helps them build interpersonal relationships with like-minded people of their age.
- Traditional learning makes space for the practical aspects of learning. Chemistry, physics, or biology experiments can best happen in a traditional laboratory.
- In traditional learning that happens on-campus, students have access to libraries.
- In traditional learning, learning happens in a scheduled manner. There is a proper timetable that students and teachers need to follow.
- There is space for extracurricular activities in the traditional mode of learning.
Disadvantages of traditional learning
- As traditional learning is time-bound, you cannot mold it to meet your needs.
- In terms of cost, the traditional mode of learning is quite expensive in terms of infrastructure and maintenance costs.
- Traditional learning methods are not inclusive of the needs of every child, they follow a rather generic approach.
- Traditional learning mostly involves theory-based lessons as there is not much time for the practical aspects.
- As traditional learning happens within a classroom space, the daily commute becomes a big disadvantage.
- The traditional method of earning is limited to geographical boundaries as physical presence is mandatory.
What is e-learning?
E-learning refers to learning that happens within a digital space. It is a product of modern innovations where students don’t need to be physically present in front of their educators or teachers to learn from them. It makes use of the electronic medium to impart education.
E-learning brings the world a lot closer. You can be sitting in Delhi, within the comfort of your room, and taking up classes offered by professors of Oxford. From YouTube to educational platforms like Unacadmey, all offer e-learning resources to students on every subject matter out there. You can simply pick the video or course of your choice and learn whatever you wish.
In e-learning, your geographical location or your unavailability during a particular time period is never a hurdle to your learning process. You can learn anytime, from any place of your convenience. And it is this feature that gives e-learning an upper hand in the e-learning vs. traditional learning tussle.
Key features of e-learning
- It’s a coming together of different pedagogies like live sessions, recorded ones, presentations, discussion forums, etc.
- Students can learn from any environment of their choice.
- The scope of e-learning is immense, you can learn anything from the comforts of your room.
- Makes space for self-paced learning.
- Flexibility in terms of time and space.
Advantages and disadvantages of e-learning
Both the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning became clearer during the COVID outbreak. While some became too comfortable with this mode of learning, others wanted to get back to the traditional model as soon as possible.
While education could go on during subsequent lockdowns because of this said online mode of learning, it also brought to the forefront the problem of the digital divide.
So, let’s have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning.
The advantages of e-learning
- As mentioned before, online learning, or e-learning, is self-paced. You can set a schedule for yourself and learn whenever you find the time.
- Unlike traditional learning, it is student-centered.
- Once you invest in a good laptop and have stable internet connectivity, it is the most economical mode of learning out there.
- You can customize your environment as per your preference.
- Students can maintain continuous interaction with their teachers via emails, chatrooms, social media, etc.
- It is not easily impacted by the outside environment and goes on even in the harshest of conditions. The finest example of this is how learning could go on because of this mode during the COVID outbreak.
- Online learning saves a lot of time as you don’t have to spend hours commuting to and fro from your campus.
Disadvantages of e-learning
- There is not much space for feedback as one-to-one learning rarely happens. Especially if you are learning from an educational podcast or YouTube channel.
- E-learning can deprive you of the social interactions that traditional learning offers. That limits your potential to develop your communication skills.
- Evaluations get a little complicated in e-learning as preventing the use of unfair means is a bit difficult.
- E-learning doesn’t work well with disciplines that require practical lessons, like medicine.
- Digital illiteracy and the problem of the digital divide limit the scope of e-learning.
Which one is better?
Now it is time to come back to the question that we started with. From all that we covered till now, both the modes have their advantages and disadvantages, so, there is no clear winner in the e-learning vs traditional learning debate.
What we feel is that rather than being about e-learning vs traditional learning, it should be about adopting a model that brings together the best of these two different modes of learning and tries to do away with the negative aspects of each other. We need to understand that they shouldn’t replace one another but be used together to build an effective mode of learning.
- For instance, traditional modes of learning or classroom learning could be accompanied by e-learning to create access to more learning resources.
- Teachers could screen online resources like educational videos, podcasts, or seminars in the classroom to aid the learning process.
- Teachers could assign online readings to students, which they could then come discuss in class and pave the way for an interesting debate.
- The more resources students will have access to outside of the classroom hours, the more knowledge they will bring to the classroom, and it will help students expand their horizons.
- During harsh weather conditions, classes could be shifted online, and otherwise could go on as per the traditional model.
This is the kind of model that might help find a middle ground in the ongoing debate of e-learning vs traditional learning. Such a choice could satisfy both the factions and lead to the development of a model that works for all.
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