To date, when technology and online space acquire more and more admirers worldwide, online learning is gaining popularity. The COVID-19 pandemic became one more reason that contributed to the development of online classes that turned out quite effective in several aspects. However, since the transition to remote learning was forced, neither students nor teachers were ready for it. Technical difficulties, such as the absence of Internet access, programs’ disruptions, disability to utilize them correctly, low level of pupils’ self-discipline, and feeling of isolation became the primary challenges during this transition. However, remote learning can also boast a wide range of advantages, including students’ comfort and access to new knowledge. If this transition were more prepared, it would be easier to avoid online learning’s disadvantages and enjoy its benefits. While face-to-face learning has been a leading type of education for many years, the era of the rapid development of technology requires mastering online space. Therefore, it is not easy to give an unambiguous answer to what type is better and provides students with more comfort and effectiveness.
Face-to-Face Learning as a Powerful Educational Tool
Throughout history, face-to-face learning has demonstrated that it is a powerful tool of education, undoubtedly capable of supplying pupils with knowledge and skills. It is built on two main aspects absent in online classes: live interactions “critical to the student-teacher relationship” and social presence, making students feel a part of the group (Fawns et al. 293). Among the primary advantages of face-to-face classes, it is possible to define a teacher’s ability to control pupils’ reactions to new material and opportunities for students to participate in discussions and communicate with each other. In addition, according to a survey conducted by Serhan, many students admit that it is easier to stay focused and motivated during face-to-face classes (339). However, considering that new time often requires new educational tools such as presentations, videos, and computer projects, face-to-face learning can seem slightly outdated. Therefore, although face-to-face learning is quite effective primarily due to social presence, it needs to use online education tools.
Advantages of Online Learning
Despite all challenges of the transition from face-to-face learning, it became clear that online classes had their benefits. Several of their advantages are connected with pupils’ comfort. First of all, remote classes signify an economy of time and money due to the opportunity not to go to schools, colleges, and universities. Secondly, students have the possibility to work in comfortable clothes and places. Finally, online education provides students with “more privacy” and more confidence: they can express their opinions more freely without “seeing each other physically” (Castro and Tumibay 3). The second part of benefits belongs to the development of students’ skills. Castro and Tumibay’s research demonstrates: “96% percent of the online students found the course to be either as effective as or more effective to their learning than their typical face-to-face course” (13). Moreover, students got the opportunity to master online space and study computer technology. Thus, online learning has many advantages that contribute to students’ effectiveness.
Both types of learning are better in some aspects and worse in others. While face-to-face classes provide live communication, online education offers convenient conditions and forming of computer skills. As for me, I prefer online courses since I like working at home and mastering online space. I am fond of making different presentations and projects, working in various applications and programs, and overcoming specific technical difficulties. Any learning is based on teacher-student relations: although online classes lack face-to-face communication, it has many tools for trusting interaction. Thus, mixed learning seems an ideal variant that lets combine benefits of both types and avoid their demerits. For instance, such learning may include online lectures and face-to-face practical classes. Education that offers social communication and interaction, work in groups, teachers’ support, and simultaneously using computer programs and creating projects can improve students’ motivations and effectiveness.
Castro, Mayleen, and Gilbert Tumibay. “A Literature Review: Efficacy of Online Learning Courses for Higher Education Institution Using Meta-Analysis.” Education and Information Technology, vol. 26, 2021, pp. 1367-1385.
Fawns, Tim, et al. “Online Learning as Embodied, Socially Meaningful Experience.” Postdigital Science and Education, vol. 1, 2019, pp. 293–297.
Serhan, Derar. “Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Remote Learning: Students’ Attitudes and Perceptions of Using Zoom during COVID-19 Pandemic.” International Journal of Technology in Education and Science, vol. 4, no. 4, 2020, pp. 335-342.