Learning Styles: Online v. Traditional

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When it comes to your education there are many different roads you can take. You are able to take a more traditional route by going to a school, or you can take a nontraditional way through online classes. With our economy in a twist it is becoming more of a fad to learn online. According to www.america.gov more than 3.5 million students in the United States alone, took online classes in 2007, proving that online schooling does indeed appeal to the masses. The only question of concern is; is taking online classes robbing the students of what they need to know. Some people think this may be the case, but is it really true?

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When compared, you find a lot of differences between the two forms of learning. Traditional classes provide face-to-face instruction, allow easy access to a teacher incase something is not understood, structured learning environment and interaction with the students around you. Online learning gives you the freedom to work at your own pace, go to class whenever you want to and teach yourself. The benefits of online learning also include less tuition cost. Some colleges are offering lower payments for those who take online classes, plus the cost of driving to the actual school is lowered as well. The thing that must be addressed is, do the benefits of lower money and flexibility, in the end rob the students of educational opportunities.

“In my opinion online learning was great. It provided good instruction even though I was not able to talk with a teacher,” Nicole Lyon’s, a college student involved with online learning stated.

According to http://www.bestuniversities.com there are several different key factors that traditional schooling provides, that online classes do not. One of these factors is the ability to partake in face-to-face discussions in class. Without the ability to converse with the teacher or the students around you, a learner could possibly not be getting the full potential of the lecture and therefore not be getting the full potential of what the teacher wants them to learn. Another key factor that may hinder a student’s ability to learn is a teacher. In a classroom you have full access to a teacher for questions and concerns about the homework, while online schooling your almost teaching yourself.

When online classes first started out they were automatically given a shady reputation. People were skeptical that online learning may indeed be a slacker class and therefore detour an employer from hiring you. However, A 2006 study by the Sloan Consortium indicates that 62% of chief academic officers at schools already engaged in online education believe that “the quality of online instruction is no less difficult than face-to-face, and an increasing majority view the quality of online education as the same or better than face-to-face instruction.”

The fact is, online learning versus traditional learning can never really be decided which one is better, that all depends on specific people.

“Online learning was better for me, because you were able to work at your own pace and get things done ahead of time if you wanted,” Leyna Gifford, a college student conversed in online learning said.

If you are able to handle the responsibility than online classes are just fine. If you have a hard time with a non-structured learning environment, than online learning may not be for you. In this day and age, when the growth rate for online learning is 9.7% each year (as stated by www.america.gov), both online and traditional learning have been found to be effective and do not hinder you from employment regardless of which path you take.

_Sarah Everett is a student at Anoka-Ramsey Community College_

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