Pros and Cons of Online Studies and Offline Studies
Distance learning — taking classes or obtaining your degree online — is having a moment. Many students have embraced remote studies following a swift transition during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while some might agree that the rising popularity of online learning is long overdue, it isn’t right for every student — and it’s essential to determine the best method for yourself.
There are pros and cons to remote learning and the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. Some students may feel more engaged in a standard classroom setting, while others may need greater flexibility and accessibility to account for their responsibilities and lifestyles. Do you know whether online studies vs. offline studies is better for you? Here are a few things to consider.
A Changing Education Landscape
After two years of pandemic uncertainty, college students worldwide have celebrated a return to campus. Warmadewa University in Bali welcomed exchange students from 14 countries, while students across the United States flocked to their dorm rooms — many for the very first time. Thanks to vaccine rollouts, students could finally learn and participate in classroom discussions again, socialize and prepare for their future.
However, not all was lost during COVID-19 — online learning proved successful for students continuing their education at home. In the fall semester of 2020 — at the height of pandemic pandemonium — 755 U.S. undergraduates enrolled in online classes, equal to 11.8 million. Although the setup wasn’t perfect, and it took time for teachers and students to adjust to the latest education technology, many thrived.
Today, the question of whether online studies vs. offline studies is better for college students is up in the air. Many students have preferred in-person learning despite widespread participation and success in distance education. Meanwhile, others have discovered they do well in hybrid courses or a combination of classroom environments.
Deciding if online studies are suitable for you is a personal decision. Students that opt for distance education are usually skilled at doing things independently. Although professors can still assist students through messaging and forums, students must create a space that fosters concentration and retain information on their own terms — this means occasionally self-teaching complex subject matter.
Of course, building concentration in online learning environments is challenging — that’s why 46.5% of college students report feeling better focused in offline studies. Another 38.9% agree that in-person education enables them to learn the course materials more effectively. It should be of little surprise that a lack of self-discipline introduces new distractions at home and can hinder students’ educational progress.
Nevertheless, online learning has several advantages. For example, students usually find that online classes provide greater flexibility — conducive to those who work or have other responsibilities outside of school. Or of students want to explore the world and travel foreign countries while studying. They also offer more excellent accelerated learning opportunities for students to complete their degrees at an affordable price. Other benefits include greater accessibility for those living far away or with a disability and gaining new skills, such as time management, self-motivation and written communication.
When remote education became the new normal during COVID-19, students often reported missing campus life and their peers — several also struggled to adapt to online learning. Offline studies offer a lot to those who prefer engaging with fellow students and their professors in person. The active classroom is often a stimulating environment where students can ask questions and receive real-time answers.
Resources are also more readily available to students studying offline. Students can visit the campus library and writing center between classes or meet with their professors to improve their academic performance. In-person learning is another opportunity for collaboration with your peers, allowing you to work in groups to understand the material better. Depending on your learning needs, the brick-and-mortar classroom may be more beneficial.
Of course, unlike distance learning, traditional education requires punctual attendance on campus — a problem for those requiring greater flexibility. Sometimes, in-person classes are more expensive than online classes — students should consider their commute and gas expenses. Offline students also lack other educational materials and formats — photographs, videos, forum discussions — that they may benefit from online.
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Online learning isn’t for everyone — some students benefit more from in-person interactions with their professors and peers. Online classes have several benefits, but weighing whether your learning styles match best is essential. The worst possible scenario is falling behind in your studies because you struggled to grasp the material independently. If you know you get more from learning in the classroom, continue with the traditional college experience.
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