The world events of the last few months have changed many things, including how people learn and interact online. Schools, colleges and training providers have had to change their delivery methods using digital resources whilst the classrooms have been off limits. But how successful is online learning. Here are some pros and cons of online and classroom courses.
Online learning has one great advantage in that learners can access it at a time suitable to them and schedule it around other commitments. They are not bound by classroom based timings, nor do they need to factor in travel expenses, childcare arrangements etc. The only danger with online learning is that without a set class time, it could go to the bottom of your to-do list. Learners need to be self-disciplined and factor in some time to complete.
Online study suits a lot of people – they feel comfortable and spend a lot of time online so being educated here makes sense and opens up lots of possibilities. Some people will miss learning as a group and being involved in group discussions to support and embed their learning. To some extent this can be overcome by group online discussions, live sessions and zoom/skype where you still get an element of participation. If online learning is set up well you’ll still have access to a tutor and a chance to answer questions. Online learning also has the advantage of being self-paced – learners can go over subject matter, pause or go over certain areas more quickly according to prior knowledge and learning.
Some learners may find using online learning technology difficult. There are, however, lots of great learning platforms available which are easy to use and with some support can be used effectively and without too much technical knowledge.
Some courses don’t easily lend themselves to being taught online and need a practical element ( first aid springs to mind) but most subject areas can be handled well online especially if the content is varied ( videos, webinars, Powerpoints, factsheets, quizzes etc) and keeps the learner engaged.
In conclusion, there are pros and cons of both traditional classroom based courses and online learning. If the subject matter lends itself well to being taught online, the content is engaging and learners have access to a tutor for support and guidance then it’s a flexible and cost effective alternative to being in a physical classroom.
At WREC we offer online learning, and we are slowly reintroducing classroom sessions in small groups. We’ve always been about offering solutions to fit our learners so blended learning incorporating online sessions and attending our training rooms are likely to become the norm or giving learners a choice, where applicable.