Traditional Education Versus Online E-Learning Methods: Which Is Better?

Have you considered going back to school? If so, are you considering an “Online Course” versus a campus classroom setting? There has been an ongoing debate over the past few years related to the quality of virtual, online courses. The statistics are proving a trending popularity in open online courses, with fully accredited Degree programs. I have been on both sides and have taught several courses via video streaming, but can every educational course be taught and measured successfully?

2014 study by MIT study stated that “Massive open online courses are not only effective, …they are as effective as what’s being traditionally taught in the classroom — regardless of how prepared or in the know students are.” However, the faculty did not share such enthusiasm. In this same study, “A number of well-known educators have said there isn’t going to be much learning in [Massive Open Online Courses], or if there is, it will be for people who are already well-educated.” MIT, however, did not stop its path of revolutionary changes and declared that they would be a front runner in “educational experimentation.”

The trend, however, was not in favor of Online Courses, as there had been a “slight dip” in online registrations. According to a report from the Babson Survey Research Group, “The dip is one reflected in the faculty. The percentage of chief academic leaders claiming online learning is critical to their long-term strategy dropped from 69.1 to 65.9 this year.” In 2014, only 5% of higher education institutions offered an Online Curriculum, hindered in large part to a lack of faculty support of such disruptive methods. But, technology will not be stopped, as the evidence by 2018 proves true.

An article in Ed Tech Review asks the question, “Is Traditional Education Dying? “Online classes are gradually conquering the education world. Students find them to be as good as the regular ones. Their rising popularity convinces more and more people to choose this way of studying.” The article adequately addresses the pros and cons of the online educational experience but definitely leans toward the future of a growing multi-versatile platform for students of all ages. Within 4 short years, the expansion of the virtual classroom extends into Ph.D. level programs and everything in between. But, will the traditional classroom eventually disappear, replaced with a screen and video-feed?

When I completed the Executive MBA program at San Diego State University, there was no alternative option to join this exclusive group via a virtual setting. The demanding 2-year program was intensely interactive, fiercely competitive and exceptionally taught by the University’s most elite educators. To be accepted into the program was an accomplishment in itself. I personally cannot imagine the program being conducted in a virtual classroom. The environment of in-person, face-to-face communication was one of the most valuable experiences for me and without that interface, I would not have received the best benefits of all—personal relationships built while working together under intense pressure and exhaustion to achieve the wins as a team.

What do you think? Your experience?

Bobbye Brooks, MBA-A Fan of Education

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