Traditional and Online Learning Methods at University Level


Education is the most important means of forming personal values, mental development, and general education. The learning process is aimed at developing knowledge, abilities, skills, and experience of creative activity. The implementation of the content of education in a higher educational institution at each level of education requires the teacher to use specific methods, techniques, and means. Nowadays, the educational process requires constant improvement, as there is a change in priorities and social values. Scientific and technological progress is increasingly recognized as a means of achieving such a level of production, which is most responsive to the satisfaction of continually increasing human needs. Therefore, the current situation in the training of specialists requires a radical change in the strategy and tactics of learning at the university. Today, both traditional and online learning methods are used in the educational process at the university level.

The features of traditional and online learning methods

When choosing the type of learning, it is essential to understand their characteristics. The only similarity between these types of learning is their goal – to acquire new knowledge. Simultaneously, many other aspects, including cost, ambiance, schedule, flexibility, workload, and the form of interaction, are different. According to Manion (2019), traditional learning usually costs significantly more. Moreover, traditional learning creates a working atmosphere, while online learning is not limited to territory, and the student needs to tune in to learn on his own. When online education, the person chooses when to study, considering the working hours and workload. When learning offline, students will have to adjust their schedule to the curriculum and spend time on the road. Manion (2019) notes that the form of interaction is also different: in online learning, communication takes place in chats, while in the traditional format, emotional contact is carried out. Thus, traditional and online learning methods differ significantly from each other, but at the same time have an identical goal – mastering knowledge.

The effectiveness of the traditional learning method

Despite the development of the online learning format, the traditional one does not lose its relevance and can withstand the latest methods in terms of quality and efficiency. According to Manion (2019), working on a task, persons exchange quick cues and feel a sense of belonging, which simplifies communication and improves the quality of assimilation of the information. There is immediate feedback: at a seminar or lecture, students can ask a question and instantly receive an answer, which contributes to the effectiveness of the educational process. However, factors such as the time it takes to get to university, losing the opportunity to learn new knowledge in the event of a class being missed, and limited classroom capacity reduce this learning method’s effectiveness.

The effectiveness of the online learning method

Online learning is an affordable way of acquiring knowledge, which has gained particular popularity in modern realities. Manion (2019) affirms that the indisputable advantage of online learning, which increases the chances of successful completion of the education, is the opportunity to return to the study of the topic at any time. Each person has his rhythm and speed of perception of new information. Therefore, having missed any vital information, students can watch the video of the lesson again and consolidate the knowledge in online learning. Moreover, online education helps to follow the concept of lifelong learning. Nevertheless, not all the indicated advantages of this learning format are a marker of its effectiveness. Such aspects as lack of feedback from the educator and the necessity for a high degree of self-discipline significantly reduce the efficiency of online learning.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the both methods

To explore the effectiveness of online learning, HSE scientists and researchers from the USA conducted an experimental study. The experiment involved 325 engineering students who were separated into three groups. The first group studied face-to-face with a teacher at their university, the second group watched online lectures and attended face-to-face seminars, and the third group completed the entire course online. Chirikov et al. (2020) assert that the average level of knowledge was the same in all three groups. Thus, quality online courses are as effective as traditional classes when it comes to student learning outcomes.


Similar research was conducted by a famous learning expert Will Thalheimer. Thalheimer (2017) claims that when e-learning and classroom learning were combined and used together, learning outcomes were better than if e-learning or classroom learning were used separately. Furthermore, the separate use of both traditional and online learning methods is equally effective at the university level. Thus, from the point of view of education’s effectiveness is significant, not learning method (online-learning or classroom training); the techniques used in university education are essential. Blended learning using online educational materials with traditional place-based classroom methods tends to outperform separate methods. The main thing is to take advantages of any format and compensate for weaknesses.

Reference List

Chirikov, I., Semenova, T., Maloshonok, N., Bettinger, E., and Kizilcec, R. (2020) ‘Online education platforms scale college STEM instruction with equivalent learning outcomes at lower cost’, Science Advances, 6 (15). Web.

Manion, J. L. (2019) A mixed methods investigation of student achievement and satisfaction in traditional versus online learning environments. Doctor’s dissertation, Lindenwood University.

Thalheimer, W. (2017). Does elearning work? What the scientific research says! Web.

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ChalkyPapers. (2023) 'Traditional and Online Learning Methods at University Level'. 12 October.


ChalkyPapers. 2023. "Traditional and Online Learning Methods at University Level." October 12, 2023.

1. ChalkyPapers. "Traditional and Online Learning Methods at University Level." October 12, 2023.


ChalkyPapers. "Traditional and Online Learning Methods at University Level." October 12, 2023.