Can Online Classes Replace Face-to-face Teaching?

By Megan Kong
Published on January 23rd, 2021

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, schools have been suspended, and in its place - online classes. What is needed for an online class? Perhaps a mobile phone or a laptop, or maybe with a headset. Then everything is set, and online classes can begin. Online classes have gained immense popularity among schools, especially during the pandemic. As schools have shut down, and they have moved their courses to remote and online formats in rapid fashion. However, as online classes have become more prevalent, several consequences follow., What are the ultimate impacts? Can online classes completely replace face-to-face education? Based on the current situation, there will be both positive and negative impacts for online classes, prompting thorough debates between different stakeholders. Are online classes really that effective? Or is face-to-face education ultimately superior?

Online classes have been around for a long time, even before technology made it extremely accessible. Traditional schooling has become an increased proliferation of virtual training materials and online courses, while online classes call for a greater amount of motivation and self-discipline than classroom-based courses. Classrooms have instructors and peers who can hold a student accountable for their course-work. In contrast, online classes involve setting personal goals, tracking processes and meeting deadlines. This is the modern era - where technological advancement and rapid digitalization play an increasing role in determining the way the entire world is moving. In truth, a broad range of courses and fields are now offering online study options due to its popularity. While only a limited number of schools offer these online courses and programs, new programs are in development at a wide range of colleges and universities. The inclusion of online materials and processes says a lot about the development of education in our modern world, as well as the expectations that are laid on the heads of the learners and educators who have the unfortunate task of navigating academia in our day and age.

Online education is powerful as it breaks down barriers put in place by traditional education. While for many learners, traditional education is useful in its own right , there are some aspects of traditional education which are decidedly outdated. Firstly, the structure focused approach to learning. In traditional education, students must adhere to the single approach to learning -a structured setting without any personal applications to make the process easier for students. Students are expected to be on campus for specific days, working their lives around their studies, and traditional education has hit more than a few snags in recent years. On the other hand, online education effectively breaks down all the barriers imposed by traditional education. As long as they have a reliable device to study from, students are able to learn from anywhere, at any given time.

However, online classes do not offer the same immediate and regular access to instructors and classmates as traditional face-to-face education. The communication typically takes place through email and in virtual discussion forums. While this can aid in learning technology, it negatively impacts a student’s ability to interact with teachers, ask questions and get immediate help. It also takes away some of the social and team-building that occurs in the classrooms. It is therefore a misunderstanding that online classes require less time and effort than traditional education. Online students also have to engage in class discussions and complete assignments, papers and projects. Team activities may also add to the time commitment in some classes, as students must often communicate with peers electronically and collaborate on work.

Lack of self-motivation is also one of the primary reasons why students fail to complete online courses. In traditional classrooms, there are numerous factors which constantly push students towards their learning goals. Face-to-face communication with professors, peer-to-peer activities, and strict schedules all work in unison to keep the students from falling off track during their studies. However, in the setting of an online learning environment, there are fewer external factors which push the students to perform. In many cases, the students are left to fend for themselves during their learning activities, without anyone constantly urging them on towards their learning goals. Students taking E-Learning courses will find that they are often required to learn difficult materials in a comfortable home setting without any of the added pressure normally associated with traditional colleges. As a result, keeping up with regular deadlines during online studies can become difficult for those students who lack strong self-motivation and time management skills.

In conclusion, online education is still a relatively fresh concept in education, but it is a concept that has still made an incredible impact on learners and educators across the industry and around the globe. Online education is here to stay, and it is only going to continue evolving and getting better and better all the time. Unfortunately, as there are still more negative impacts than positive impacts, replacing traditional education with online classes is still a very debatable topic. As technology is still improving, there are also other ways to improve the quality of online classes as well.

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