Many people are naturally wary of online learning, purely because it is perceived as a new development in education. There has been great debate about whether or not online learning is just as good as traditional learning. Yet when deciding whether or not the two learning formats are as good as each other, we essentially need to know whether or not the learning outcomes are the same.
Traditional learning requires students to physically attend campus and it has been suggested that people learn better when they are face to face with their peers and teachers. However, according to a study on interactive online learning in public schools this is not necessarily the case. The study involved two separate groups where one studied in an online format and the other in a traditional, campus-based setting. The study found that those who studied online performed just as well their peers who studied in the traditional format. This demonstrates that in terms of learning outcomes, online learning is on a par with traditional learning.
Essentially, good courses, whether on campus or online, offer students the opportunity to engage and interact with one another so students can share and formulate ideas. This is the foundation for a good learning experience. Some online courses will encourage this through online forums, learning communities, and webinars, and similarly so will some traditional courses through classroom based discussions.
Traditionally, degrees from established brick and mortar educational institutions are seen as being more valid, yet world-renowned universities including Yale and MIT have now embraced online learning and are offering degree courses through distance learning. In fact, there are currently 6.7 million people learning online in some capacity.
Sometimes it is difficult to compare the two learning formats. In some areas, online learning is the only form of education available to some people. Online learning can give people access to education that normally wouldn’t be able to receive it. It is a valuable tool in providing a greater reach of people with the opportunity to learn, regardless of where they’re located.
The advancements in online learning have enabled more people to have valuable access to education and it has been proven that learning online is just as effective and in some cases more so than traditional learning. Ultimately, the effectiveness of different modes of education will depend on the individual student. Yet online learning now opens up the option to many to further their education.