The truth is that both online education and its traditional counterpart have pros and cons. One should understand what to expect before they take a plunge into any one of these education systems.
Drawing a comparison between online schools and traditional schools:
In terms of flexibility
First and foremost, you need to consider the amount of time you have every day to dedicate to schoolwork. In case you have a hectic daily schedule, you certainly are seeking flexibility so that you can comfortably work around your busy schedule.
When it comes to online education, flexibility is what you can enjoy the most. This is a good option for those who already have time commitments with family and work. It does not take a lot to fit your online classes into your lifestyle, no matter how much busy schedule you have. The online students can log into their online course at a time that works best for them. You do not have to attend a lecture at a specific time.
A majority of the online courses usually follow a weekly format. As per this format, students are expected to log in, read course materials, contribute to online class discussions and complete assignments prior to the beginning of the next week. The good part is that you will actually have plenty to do for each class. Also, you will have more options for fitting this work around other commitments.
When it comes to a conventional classroom setting, the students do have some flexibility in their scheduling. However, this flexibility is not sufficient for present-day students. Also, when you stay far away from the brick-and-mortar school, keep in mind that a long commute can certainly make schedules difficult to stick to. It is more difficult when you’re planning on working while in school.
In terms of self-discipline & self-drive
At the time of weighing your school options, you need to analyze your own level of self-discipline. Both traditional and online education require some discipline to succeed. However, the structure of learning differs here. You need to look into these structural differences since these can have a vital effect on your ability to stay on track.
When it comes to online education, there is a heightened level of flexibility. However, you need to remember that with flexibility comes responsibilities. You need to be really serious about your virtual course. You need to remain highly self-motivated. It might be a challenge for some of you to remain motivated while working from the comfort of your house. Being an online learner, you would have to build up strategies for staying up to date on your coursework. You might need to set workspace every week for studying and creating a workspace with minimal distractions.
In the case of traditional education, the schedule is pretty much structured. You have routine face-to-face interactions with instructors can help keep students on task. You certainly have more opportunities to be reminded of upcoming assignments. This can help if you tend to procrastinate on time-consuming assignments.
In terms of social interaction
The level of social interaction you’re hoping to have is a major factor to consider. Interaction from your peers and instructors might be necessary for you to succeed and stay motivated. You might even belong to the other category of students that thrives in an independent study environment.
In the case of online education, social interaction with instructors and other students happens on a daily basis. Most of the online student interactions take place via video chat or through online discussion posts. Some courses even offer pre-recorded videos of the same lectures given to traditional, on-campus students. These video lectures can actually help you earn a deeper understanding of reading materials.
When it comes to traditional education, face-to-face communication is the real deal! It is often considered that seeing your instructors on a regular basis can be motivating. This is not the case though! Effective communication is important.
Before you make your final decision, try to identify your own learning pattern and style. Keep in mind that there is no wrong or right answer. Value your personal preference. Know how you learn best. You should go ahead with some self-evaluation before taking a plunge into the virtual learning world.
Before going for an online program, try to know about the online course. There are many online institutes that offer a unique online experience. Learn more about these. When you understand the basic structure of online programs, it will help you feel confident at the time of choosing your online homeschool program.
Some common advantages of online learning are:
- Flexible scheduling
- Early completion
- Study anytime
- Login from anywhere
- No commute
- Potentially lower costs
- A wider set of options and opportunities
- Multiple advanced work-level and college-level courses
In the case of online education, you can do your coursework around your work schedule and family life. You can conveniently choose when you study. You just have to keep in mind that you will have to submit your work by the deadlines given.
There are many virtual schools that offer shorter semesters. Instead of having to attend classes for 16 weeks, you can enroll in 8-week online courses. Thus, you can spend half the time earning your credits in that subject.
In most of the schools, classes start every month or every other month. This gives you the opportunity to start classes now instead of waiting until the beginning of the traditional fall or spring semester.
Thanks to online classes, you can study whenever you wish. Online education also provides students with the chance to network with peers across nations. This leads to other opportunities in terms of collaboration with other individuals. It also makes them culturally sensitive.
The process of documentation is anything but messy in case of online schools. All the information are safely stored in an online database. This includes live discussion documents, training materials and emails. Thus, the student will be able to access these documents fast, saving a good deal of time. This is advantageous for students who need to carry out research for a project.