Educational Technology Systems Manager

Are e-Learning (Online) courses better than Traditional classroom courses?

What do you think about e-Learning (Online) courses? Are they better than Traditional classroom courses? Should schools move away from Traditional classroom courses? Should schools move to a Hybrid based course where students meet in class once a week, and then complete their classwork online?

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Niranjan Meegammana

Posted on 5/22/15 2:33:21 AM Permalink

I use both methods with my students. The small group of students I meet often at class room perform better than students who learned online. How ever I learn online better myself than in a class room. I believe that effectiveness of learning comes from not really the method only. It needs learners interest and enthusiasm to perform better. I my point of view blended learning that uses e content and face to face discussions, activities and field work bring more fun and entertainment into education. E learning is best when we focus on delivery of core theory as lessons. It would be accessible anytime anywhere when needed. But nothing like an interactive class as an educator for me. I enjoy using both.

Liliana Martinez

Posted on 5/22/15 1:07:47 AM Permalink

I recently completed my Master's of Arts in Technology through online courses. In the beginning it was very hard for me to adjust to this new learning. I had tons of questions and no one to really answer the questions immediately. As I moved on through the course work I began to like it more and more. There are many conveniences to online learning, you don't have to drive anywhere, you can finish work at your own pace, and you have all the resources available to vies more than once. But I also believe that traditional teaching should continue in the lower grades.

Jason Boston

Posted on 11/13/13 9:36:49 PM Permalink

I like online learning as well as F2F both need to be

Mike Skocko

Posted on 8/27/13 3:33:08 PM Permalink

Linda Engel

Posted on 8/19/13 4:08:13 AM Permalink

I think distance learning (online/eLearning/whatever you choose to call it) is effective when it is designed well. The pedagogy of online learning is much different than that of traditional classroom instruction. It is important to develop class familiarity (through ice breakers), to have discussion time (both asynchronous and live), and to enforce structure (like how soon to expect an answer to a question).

Too often online classes are simply - videos and students turning in projects. That is not really teaching. But, a well-designed online class can actually help students learn more deeply. I love asynchronous discussions. You can digest the material and respond in a more thought-out way.

Blake Barr

Posted on 8/12/13 2:38:45 AM Permalink

I have serious concerns about the flipped model and other online classes. When I teach I don't just run through the material. I field questions and make the material meaningful to the class. The issues with stock delivery of the material whether it is through taped lecture or online modules is that the interaction is not present in the delivery. Hence the students emailing in the middle of the night when they have questions.

The other concern I have is that years ago art colleges, and others, started bringing in adjunct faculty to be able to bring in the expertise of professionals in the industry being taught. Now colleges and universities use adjunct instructors in all areas, and often in greater numbers than their regular staff, not to get current industry practices into the classroom but to save on paying for benefits for full-time employed staff members. If we start recording our lectures then what is to stop the institutions from having a couple of TAs run the in class work sessions?

If you think the universities are not heading that direction just look at private software training companies. They have provided in person training sessions but have begun to lose a lot of business to online training. And trainers are being asked to record training sessions that the companies will sell over and over again without compensating the trainers further.

I have taken classes in person and online. I have delivered classes in person and online. And I do know that the classes I deliver in person provide a lot more meaningful instruction to the students as things we are covering trigger questions.

Mark DuBois

Posted on 8/8/13 7:32:46 PM Permalink

I have tried to move away from the "sage on the stage" lecture approach. I have found that most students are highly resistive to this initially. This is because they now have to do more than listen and take notes. Regarding online classes, I have found they can take up to three times the effort that a traditional class does. I suspect this is mostly because of the need to develop more interactive modules (using tools like Captivate, for example). I also find that students in online classes expect one to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (well, some do). I have received emails at 2 on a Sunday morning followed by less gracious emails at 3 and 4 on the same morning because I did not immediately answer.

I also fear that online classes are not for everyone, particularly those with a penchant for procrastinating.

In my more traditional classes, I have moved to the flipped model (what lecturing I do is handled via video); in class we focus on solving problems. Of course, this means the students must have done their review prior to coming to class. It does take some getting used to (both for teachers and students).

G Tomas Corsini Sr

Posted on 8/6/13 9:42:11 PM Permalink

I can comment here from both the student perspective and a teaching perspective.

From 2008 until 2012, I attended a technical college in which I took both on-line classes and in-class classroom instruction. The ones I took on-line I did well, the ones I attended in class I did equally well. My preference was/is on-line, however classes are not always offered on-line.

During the same period I helped part-time at my brother's company, with providing assessments for DSHS clients with various disabilities and in helping them set obtainable goals for maximizing their independence. Many of our clients have been out of school a log time, and are struggling with a disability.

I have to say it depends on the student's ability and absorbtion rate, their energy level, asking the question, "...are they more likely to want hand holding or just want to figure it out on their own?". The pace we learn at varies by student. There isn't one more favorable than the other. I would say the long answer for me is on-line classes should all be tested with a pilot program and if it is successful and in demand, continue and expand on similar courses. Courses which require much hands on with difficulty and a lot of planning may require a classroom or "Team" environment for training and finding the resolve in the tasks as a group.

BOTH Projects within a "Team" environment as well as an outsourced project with a single person working remotely, both can and are successful models. I believe Until the national bandwidth and US infrastructure meets the required levels to match other countries more advanced in learning, using both models is the Best Effort schools here can provide.

G. Tomas Corsini Sr.

Ramapriya Rajagopalan

Posted on 7/30/13 1:31:39 PM Permalink

It depends on whether its a tertiary learning or school learning? I have done many online courses and believe Online learning needs lot of self motivation and passion in the area chosen.

For school age kids , I think it should be hybrid or implementing online digital technologies in class room whereas post school studies can be via e-learning.

fabio oliveira

Posted on 7/23/13 11:51:33 PM Permalink

I do not believe even replace the classroom but complement the classroom content to lose that, but for this software and fantastic, now working with creation of courses for software, helps a lot, and greatly improves the learning of individuals and businesses.

Eric Dumas

Posted on 7/23/13 4:49:43 PM Permalink

I think blended learning, hybrid is the way to go further. Nothing replaces the classroom environment, or study group. But eLearning is fantastic for personal recap, further study, in your own time, at your own pace.

A trainer/teacher might get away with a poor delivery, an bad eLearning material is not acceptable

Jean Marc Everard

Posted on 7/23/13 1:08:54 PM Permalink

I'm in the e-learning field for 14 years and the question has always been answered by "It depends". And yes indeed, it depends on the students and the learning types and more... I tend to offer blended-learning most of the time (and that includes books wich are in some cases as well indicated as a e-learning course). More and more my "blend" also becomes the use of e-learning sequences (or technics as multiple choice) within the classroom itself. It's also way to softly start the use of the e-learning part of the course and to increase the interactivity within and outside the classroom.

Andrea Kenney

Posted on 7/22/13 1:29:47 PM Permalink

Of course, elearning is the way of the future. However, in my experience with literacy and basic skills, I feel there is still a place for blended-learning. Some learners will require the visual/tactile learning experience that can only be provided by on-site classrooms, while others may flourish with online materials alone. For most learners I feel it is essential to keep up with the technological trends, so elearning plays a vital in their/our education.

G Tomas Corsini Sr

Posted on 7/22/13 9:36:31 AM Permalink

I learned how to use most of the Adobe products I use via the eLearning method. What made it so successful for me, is having two large screen monitors, I watched the training videos on one monitor, while I had the actual program loaded and running on the second monitor screen. Using and Adobe training videos, I watch until I think I am ready to try what I am learning, I pause the video, and try what I have learned using the actual program. If I need to refresh what I learned or forget a step, I go back to the paused video and playback what I previously watched. This method has been my most successful in retaining what I learn and apply.

I also agree with Mike's comment, posted on Jul 19, 2013 8:32 PM.

Martin Guinn

Posted on 7/21/13 1:16:51 AM Permalink

I have been on both sides -- teaching online courses and being a student of online courses. There are a number of factors to consider.

One of which is attitudes -- and this goes for teachers as well as students.

If the attitudes toward online learning are bad then the learning experience will be negative. So, to say which delivery method is better (online or traditional) would depend on the individuals that are involved in the learning experience.

Mike Skocko

Posted on 7/19/13 8:32:15 PM Permalink

How about e-learning within a traditional classroom setting?

I'm not a fan of direct instruction. It almost always leads to the Goldilocks classroom -- too fast or too slow for most students while being just right for the lucky few. And do I need to mention the, "I was absent yesterday. Did I miss anything?" problem?

And e-learning (I got my Master's online) demands more dedication that most kids have.

To combat these problems, I put 95% of the curriculum online (in a traditional classroom) and the students access it at their own pace. Add gamification atop that model and you've got a chance to forge a hybrid that includes cheeks in the seats (for traditional funding) and e-learning with the teacher in the room. A teacher, btw, who is now free to help students one-on-one or in small groups every day. Plus, motivated students can access the material 24/7 if they want. (I guarantee you that some will.)

No system is perfect for all students but we (the students and I) are building something that has a chance to become truly remarkable.

The Mac Lab (if anyone's interested)

Helen Foster

Posted on 7/21/13 5:43:10 PM Permalink

I think you are right with what you are saying about putting the curriculum online (in a traditional classroom) and then students being able to access it at their own pace, I have been doing this with a student using Video2brain and he has learnt Photoshop as his own pace. Teachers would then be free to help students who needed a little extra or those with disabilities.

Patricia KougarMelton

Posted on 7/19/13 6:47:39 PM Permalink

I think a Hybrid course solves a lot of the problems, right now, especially for public school ed. in large suburban areas.

I am also, in agreement that schools are very diverse, and on-line courses will help meet all needs. May even help with the "motivation" problem some electives have!

Ugur Akinci

Posted on 7/19/13 6:05:09 PM Permalink

I agree with Connie that "it depends." The more hands-on practice a subject needs, the better the online module needs to be because just PDF directions will not be enough. I think, as I'm trying to do with my own online course, with enough effort and careful planning, an online course can offer most if not all of the features of a traditional in-class setting. However, online teaching has some other advantages that no in-class teaching can match -- like 24x7 availability from any location on earth. Online courses tend to be much more affordable as well, a fact that has won many hearts in the learning community.

Connie Spadafora

Posted on 7/19/13 3:29:23 PM Permalink

This is dependent on many factors including the course that you would like to offer in a hybrid format. If there is any kind of hands on applications then I can see some challenges to student learning. Technology definitely needs to be increased in classrooms and e-learning should be implemented where it can be.

Ricardo Oliveira

Posted on 7/19/13 12:24:47 PM Permalink

Maybe a Hybrid based course could be a very good idea to start increase technology at classrooms. Exclusive e-learning has is own drawbacks but also traditional course is not perfect.

I'm not sure about the amount of physical meet of students and teachers. This should be carefully think but I believe that the future of learning will be an Hybrid form.

Aaron Roberts

Posted on 7/19/13 2:17:27 AM Permalink

Not better than traditional courses at all. Not worse either - just different. Hybrid courses can work in some cases, traditional classes in others. We have found that in our school, students prefer to regular classes, but enjoy peppering in some of the hybrid and online classes we offer. These new options just prove that learners are incredibly diverse. Schools should be prepared to offer lots of options for the diverse types of learners in their systems.