Pros & Cons Of Classroom Learning V/s Online Learning

While the classroom will always be the primary source of learning, e-learning is steadily becoming a preferred choice, especially in times like these.

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Classroom learning and online learning have co-existed depending on multiple factors like specialty learning modules and courses, tech infrastructure, accessibility to experts and so on for quite some time now. E-education has been a popular choice amongst post-graduates or working professionals who seek the online learning mode as it provides more flexibility to suit their schedules and supports their endeavour to explore specialized educators or courses that are not restricted by geographies. But a steady wave of change is also observed in the recent past where even primary courses of education are being supported by ed-tech to enhance and refine student performance and assist them with quality experts, assessment and technology. While classroom will always be the primary source of learning, its online and technologically advanced counterpart i.e. e-learning is steadily becoming a preferred choice, especially in times like these. 

While both fulfill the learning needs of students, each has its pros and cons, some of which are highlighted below.  

1. Collaborative Learning and Social Skills

One of the key positives of classroom learning is peer socialization and positive motivation through group learning. It enables the students to develop their social skills and provides a high level of engagement. When learning is supported by productive discussions and healthy competition, it automatically triggers critical thinking among students. Students also develop interpersonal and public speaking skills that become crucial in the later stages of their professional lives. These are some key aspects that shape the personality of students and cannot be developed through e-classrooms. However, e-learning enables students to connect with a larger set of audience providing more exposure, access to global experts and limitless learning opportunities.   

2. Flexibility

Flexibility and the option of creating one’s own schedule is a huge advantage of online learning. The classroom model cannot offer any customizations and time allocation is pre-determined. But the fixed schedules of school help develop organizational skills among students, as they need to arrive at school on time, carry all the required books and follow a set routine. This inculcates a sense of punctuality and discipline that are considered as core values needed to build a resourceful and productive personality. Online learning is flexible - it gives students the option to learn anytime and from anywhere as per their choice. It encourages students to be more independent and increases their proactive responsibility quotient by they now have to make a choice. But students who are less motivated may suffer; supervision by educators and guardians becomes crucial to make this work.  

3. Varied Learning Styles

In an online classroom, students are primarily learning through watching and listening to a video or a teacher. There is no scope to combine this with practicals. In a classroom, by introducing various activities and tools, the teacher can cater to not just auditory and visual learners but also to kinesthetic learners. Also, a variety in the teaching style helps students to remain focused and engaged in their learning.   

4. Digital Connectivity

Classroom learning is not dependent on tech infrastructure but the primary need for e-learning is a seamless online interface. Hence, classroom learning is still a wholesome choice especially in interior India, which still struggles with reliable digital facilities. Lack of internet connectivity and the inability to invest in smartphones and laptops is a challenge for the humble rural Indian population. Things are however looking up and ed-tech companies and government authorities are striving to bring the best of online learning support for students of rural India.     

5. Cost

Classroom learning has a comparatively higher overhead expenditure. Rentals or lease cost coupled with maintenance, commute and man-power expenses make it costlier thane-learning classroom formats where a lot of resources and tools are available at no cost. Reduced mobile data and internet costs have also made e-learning more affordable.  

Putting it all together - Today, though we are experiencing a paradigm shift in teaching and learning due to the current situation combined with technological advancements, classroom learning will always continue to have advantages that cannot be replaced by online classrooms. Having said that, both, classroom and online learning should go hand-in-hand. By effectively using online tools and resources to supplement classroom learning, we can equip our children with the 21st-century skills they require to grow, succeed and become responsible citizens. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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