Online or e-learning has become increasingly popular due to the recent global health disasters. However, its actual effectiveness in promoting knowledge acquisition is overstated, and the traditions of face-to-face education should be maintained to raise qualified professionals. Based on credible research suggesting motivational deficiencies and e-courses’ imperfect organization, the essential consequences of teachers’ additional responsibilities, and the destruction of tradition and communication, online education is less effective than traditional learning.
From the viewpoint of credible evidence peculiar to the topic, online learning has multiple flaws reducing its effectiveness. One particular challenge of e-learning, especially in pre-tertiary education, is the lack of student motivation. Online education researchers, including Jayaprakash and Venkatramana, report that the presence of spontaneous discussions in physical classrooms strengthens students’ motivation to learn (Kolhe, 2018). At the same time, based on research, e-learning activities generally do not promote the same levels of engagement (Kolhe, 2018). Also, the various technical and organizational drawbacks of online classes have been shown in survey research on student populations. For instance, after surveying more than two hundred undergraduate students, Prabawangi et al. (2021) report that Internet signal quality, limited lab practices, irregular schedules, and inadequate workloads remain essential barriers to effective learning. The issues above suggest current e-learning technologies’ inability to achieve the same results as traditional face-to-face education.
Moreover, e-learning’s limited effectiveness stems logically from the teacher’s inability to perform more work than a traditional classroom requires without quality losses. In traditional learning environments, instruction involves the use of illustrative materials, practical tasks, discussion assignments, and other forms of teacher-led individual and group work. For online learning to be equally effective and purpose-oriented, the teacher needs to develop a set of new technical competencies. Inevitably, the need to care for the IT part further increases the workload on the professional. Online education makes the instructor’s role even more complex and demanding in terms of technological knowledge. By emphasizing IT skills, online learning eventually reduces the available time teachers can spend on perfecting their subject matter expertise.
Unfortunately, online learning basically destroys the traditions of student collaboration and removes the joys of face-to-face communication and opinion exchange with peers and instructors. Of course, online learning can provide students with easy access to textual and illustrative materials. Nevertheless, the lack of real human interaction, including the ability to get information from the interlocutor’s body language, voice, and facial expressions, is a devastating change to the communication component of learning. If traditional physical classrooms disappeared and all learning took place in the virtual space, humanity would raise generations of tech-savvy professionals with limited practical experiences peculiar to the psychology of communication. In particular, for specialists who should work with people rather than any inanimate systems, the lack of extensive emotional interaction would significantly reduce their educational achievements’ practical relevance. For these reasons, e-learning cannot offer the same benefits as traditional learning.
In summary, despite e-learning’s extensively proclaimed advantages, it is not as effective as traditional offline instruction, which finds support in experts’ opinions and the analysis of labor inputs that both approaches require. Technological imperfections that do not exist in traditional classrooms are believed to create major barriers to learning, and instructors need to focus on IT skills at the expense of their field-specific knowledge is deeply problematic. Worse still, online education can destroy healthy human communication, the large-scale effects of which would be devastating for humanity.
Kolhe, P. S. (2018). E-learning and changing roles of academic libraries. International Journal of Current Engineering and Scientific Research, 5(5), 85-89. Web.
Prabawangi, R. P., Fatanti, M. N., & Ananda, K. S. (2021). After a year of online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey of Indonesian undergraduate students’ opinions and behaviors. Asian Journal of University Education, 17(4), 418-431. Web.