What Is Better: Traditional or Online Education?

Chen, Yen-Chieh, Lu, Yu-Ling, and Lien, Chi-Jui. “Learning Environments with Different Levels of Technological Engagement: A Comparison of Game-Based, Video-Based, and Traditional Instruction on Students’ Learning.” Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 29, no. 8, 2021, pp. 1363–1379. Taylor and Francis+NEJM. Web.

The authors utilize this research as an opportunity to discuss and comprehensively evaluate the effects that certain factors of virtual learning environments have on student engagement and, in turn, learning quality. Chen et al. contend that appropriately incorporated technology and virtual features are crucial for improving course material attainment. Moreover, the critical aspect of successful education, according to the authors, is the active involvement of the students in the process (Chen et al. 1363). The three groups they examine are game-based, video-based, and traditional instruction modes. The study examines and compares STEM students’ academic growth in scientific knowledge and argumentation capabilities as influenced by the implementation of varied learning technologies.

E-learning forms are explored in the study, with examples drawn from more traditional video recordings of lectures and online classrooms, interactive software, and other virtual education systems. The study points out that the traditional instruction mode – a lecture that relies on the PowerPoint presentation – is largely unengaging (Chen et al. 1364). In contrast, approaches like game-based instruction increase interest and commitment, especially for those students who are struggling more (Chen et al. 1375). Hence, there the authors indicate that there is much promise in this learning mode.

However, it is vital to note that the researchers acknowledge that it is not solely a single technology that improves students’ learning. Instead, a virtually supported learning environment that fosters engagement is the key to improving engagement and, thus, learning. Capitalizing on the many opportunities offered by modern realities is a strategically appropriate step, Chen et al. argue (1376). In other words, selecting a particular technology is not as important as integrating it well. Chen et al. state that the signs of a well-incorporated, comprehensive learning environment include setting goals, controlled pace, freedom of movement, individualized feedback and questions, and a solid challenge-skill balance (1372). Ultimately, the study concludes that using virtual learning technologies appropriately enriches and promotes understanding and incentivizes students to interact with the material. Hence, this mode of instruction is crucial to ensure that students are provided with the best education.

Dung, Doan Thi Hue. “The Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Learning.” Journal of Research & Method in Education, vol. 10, no. 3, 2020, pp. 45–48. Web.

This paper straightforwardly addresses the pros and cons of virtual learning environments, listing support for each point it makes. The researchers focus on more conventional virtual learning methods, such as synchronous and asynchronous online courses taught through a combination of text, video, and audio chats. Dung begins by evaluating the general benefits that virtual mode brings: expanded access for different learners, reduced costs on staff, travel and instructional venues, and flexibility (46). These factors provide numerous points in favor of online material delivery as an essential part of the learning environment.

Some benefits that e-learning brings to the students are more adaptive and convenient schedules, which can be easier combined with work or other life aspects. Virtual learning enables students to access information from any time zone and location, which makes it an excellent alternative for those with strong intrinsic motivation (Dung 46). Moreover, the students that would otherwise not be able to participate due to the distance or, perhaps, varying disabilities can be included under online learning. Overall, receiving a degree online may be cost-effective, flexible, and accessible enough to ensure that even those without access to education can get it (Dung 46). This study thus emphasizes the freedom of choice that such a mode creates.

Upon reviewing the available evidence from extant scholarly literature, the researcher moves on to present the results of their survey-based work. Students’ experiences with online education were recorded to identify several other advantages that may render this instructional approach vital. Given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most mentioned aspects was public health and safety, which could be preserved with online education (Dung 47). Another advantage was commuting times savings, which, in turn, spared that time more self-studying (Dung 47). Another aspect was the exposure to new learning methods and forms (Dung 47). These findings highlight that education is evolving and actively benefits students’ online and offline modes. Hence, the study provides evidence in favor of online instruction.

Tomasik, Martin J., Helbling, Laura A., and Moser, Urs. “Educational Gains of In-Person vs. Distance Learning in Primary and Secondary Schools: A Natural Experiment during the COVID-19 Pandemic School Closures in Switzerland.” International Journal of Psychology, vol. 56, no. 4, 2021, pp. 566–576. Wiley Online Library. Web.

This experiment-based study assesses students’ learning outcomes by comparing online and offline delivery methods. The authors compare school students’ performance across diverse subjects to make a case for the traditional education model. Tomasik et al. find that an online learning environment significantly hinders the learning processes in primary school students (574). Moreover, the regress occurs rapidly and inconsistently between different children (Tomasik et al. 574). The authors link their findings with the fact that older students are more capable of managing their time and sustaining efforts without direct supervision, while younger kids do not possess such skills yet (Tomasik et al. 574). As a result, online education delivery adversely affects learning and school performance in some student groups.

These findings point to the fact that certain aspects of traditional education delivery are superior to virtual education. Tomasik et al. reference various psychosocial, emotional, and cognitive factors that may play a role (572). One of the significant factors to consider is that younger children need much more supervision and support – also known as cognitive scaffolding – to learn successfully (Tomasik et al. 572). This aspect of the learning environment is much more present in the in-person delivery mode since a teacher may physically approach and see each pupil. Moreover, children’s cognitive, motivational, and self-regulating capabilities are not yet fully developed – thus, they need to be guided and prompted to focus on the task at hand (Tomasik et al. 572). All of these outcomes are likely easier to achieve through the traditional methods. Hence, this study provides ample support for proving that an in-person learning environment is crucial for successful learning, especially at younger ages.

“Top 6 Advantages of Traditional Education.” University of the Potomac, 2022. Web.

The entry prepared by the team at the University of Potomac covers traditional education advantages for, primarily, the college student population. While the authors acknowledge online instruction’s benefits, it nonetheless contends that traditional education is vital. The first point is that in-person approaches require attendance, thereby creating ‘rituals’ and routine, which fosters discipline (“Top 6 Advantages of Traditional Education”). The internal discipline is crucial in education – students are expected to show responsibility in their studies and, therefore, methods that aid it are key.

There are several other important reasons that authors provide for prioritizing in-person education. For instance, they contend that effective learning hinges on face-to-face instruction and active, reciprocal interaction between students and professors (“Top 6 Advantages of Traditional Education”). Moreover, the in-person aspect allows students to create connections with others, network, and socialize – a substantial part of a well-rounded education. Another argument that the article presents is that not all subjects may be taught virtually. Lab times, clinical practices, or performance-based classes will not be the same quality if done via Zoom (“Top 6 Advantages of Traditional Education”). Face-to-face instruction provides a unique, irreplaceable environment for acquiring practical knowledge and applying it organically and collaboratively.

Lastly, there are benefits of in-person learning that may depend more on the institution. For instance, access to varying facilities, group studies, and extracurricular activities does not easily translate into an online mode (“Top 6 Advantages of Traditional Education”). Hence, the authors provide a broad range of evidence that supports the necessity of a traditional learning environment in students’ educational journey.

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ChalkyPapers. "What Is Better: Traditional or Online Education?" October 24, 2023. https://chalkypapers.com/what-is-better-traditional-or-online-education/.