Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?

Online learning denotes learning over the internet and through digital devices. Technology advancements, including portable devices such as smartphones and laptops, facilitate online learning. The internet and digital devices allow tutors to teach students without physical meetings. Online learning has become popular due to the Covid-19 pandemic as learning institutions strive to continue their studies without exposing teachers and students to the virus.

Face-to-face learning refers to the traditional learning model where teachers and students meet in a physical classroom. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, physical learning became impossible, forcing schools to close until countries could manage the virus. Although online learning is gaining momentum, the model is not as good as face-to-face learning. Below are the shortcomings.

No Social Interaction 

Social interaction is integral in a person’s growth, especially graduates who are joining the workforce. Physical classrooms allow young people to acquire communication skills by interacting with teachers and fellow students. Online learning hampers physical interaction, meaning that many students can graduate without the ability to interact freely and sustain a conversation with other people. In the current competitive labor market, interpersonal skills offered by face-to-face learning are a must.

Technical Problems

Online learning is susceptible to technical issues such as poor internet connectivity, power outage, and computer damages. Such interruptions cause learners to miss lessons or get delayed. Face-to-face learning is reliable than online learning, allowing both students and teachers to plan accordingly. Moreover, in in-person learning, students in remote areas or those living in homes without internet connections are guaranteed to attend all lessons and graduate on time.

Lack of Instructor Assessment and Support

Face-to-face learning facilitates instructor assessment, unlike online learning. Learner assessment is critical because it allows teachers to understand individual student needs and provide support such as completing course tasks and assignments. In online learning, the tutor cannot guide or help a struggling student like in in-person learning. Online learning is an ineffective learning tool because it excludes performance measurements such as tests, quizzes, exams, and participation.

Loopholes

Online learning is not as good as face-to-face learning because it creates loopholes to cheat or miss class. Fast internet access enables a student to access answers while attending a zoom or online test. A student can also have someone help them behind the camera without the teacher’s knowledge. Face-to-face learning prevents cheating by allowing supervisors to walk within the exam room and monitor students closely. Learners have devised ways to skip zoom classes while appearing on the class screen. Such behaviors cannot happen in physical classrooms because the teacher can tell who is present or absent.

Self-Motivation Concerns

Online learning relies on self-motivation and discipline. In this model, teachers do not keep track of what learners are doing, meaning that students must keep time, maintain discipline, and strive to learn by themselves. Such discipline and self-control are rare among students at the high school or elementary school levels. In the modern information technology age, many people are glued to their smartphones, and the same applies to students. Learners are more likely to visit social media sites or social messaging apps than attend unsupervised online classes. Letting students motivate or discipline themselves undermines learning, rendering face-to-face learning the effective learning model.

Conclusion

Both online and face-to-face learning have their pros and cons. The author observes that the disadvantages of online learning outweigh its advantages, especially in lower-education levels. However, parents, educators, and learning institutions should examine their environment and student needs to understand the model that best suits them.

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