One of the many perks of the web is that learning new skills and hobbies has never been easier.
In just a few clicks, you can sign up for an online course or class that you can follow from anywhere, all the while meeting new people with the same passions and interests as you.
But is online learning all it’s cracked up to be? Do you ever wonder if you might be missing out in some ways by not attending a class in person?
In this blog, we unpack the pros and cons of online vs in-person classes to help you decide which option is right for you.
Online Learning vs Classroom Learning: A Look at the Stats
Online learning has always been around, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that we really saw an upswing. So much so that it’s estimated the eLearning sector will be worth over $320 billion dollars by 2025.
So, does this mean that eLearning will become the go-to option for most learners? Not necessarily…
Even though online learning requires 40% to 60% less learning time than traditional classrooms, many students feel that they miss out on social cues as well as the general sense of community that classroom learning offers.
However, budget is also a prominent determining factor. 60% of people in the U.S. would rather opt for an online course because it’s more affordable, with 85% of learners reporting an at least equally satisfying eLearning experience when compared to traditional face-to-face classes.
When it comes to online learning vs classroom learning, it’s best to look at the pros and cons of each and match them to your personal preference to decide – let’s get into that now.
Pros and Cons of Online Classes vs Traditional Classes
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect as someone looking to learn a new hobby or pursue a new passion via online classes vs traditional classes.
Advantages of Online Learning
- More variety more often. When you choose an online workshop or class, you’ll generally have a wider variety of topics to choose from. And because online learning is usually more affordable, you have the option to sign up for more classes more often.
- Learning done your way. It’s not always easy to make time for the things that interest you outside of work, but eLearning is changing that. Signing up for an online course means you can learn at a time and place that works for you. No need to get to a specific location and set aside an hour or two of learning time when your schedule doesn’t really allow for it.
- Something for every learning style. Not every student learns in the same way. When you opt for online classes, you get to pick a course that follows your preferred learning style. Perhaps you prefer to learn by listening? Other students prefer a more visual approach. Whatever your preferences, you are more likely to find a class that meets your requirements if you go the online route.
- Course materials are easily accessible. With in-person classes, you may need to deal with printed materials that can easily be misplaced. When you opt for an eLearning environment, you can access all of the course materials more easily now and in the future.
- Grow your self-confidence. Signing up for any course or class will challenge you, but even more so if it’s online. It will encourage you to stay motivated and make time for yourself and your passions, growing your self-confidence.
Online Learning Challenges
- Flexibility isn’t always an option. Even though most online workshops offer a flexible approach to learning, others will require you to attend classes in real time, which may not always fit in with your schedule. Fortunately, you will always have the option to find an alternative class on the same topic that is more flexible.
- No face-to-face interactions. If you enjoy meeting new people and being able to engage with your tutor, you may find eLearning to be challenging. Not all online courses follow a format that allows for student and instructor engagement.
- Technical issues. eLearning does require some technical knowledge and if your course instructor requires you to use a new platform or follow any complicated processes, this could make learning difficult and demotivating.
- Not every course is created equal. Because online courses are generally more accessible and affordable, quality can be an issue. For this reason, online learners will need to spend a little more time doing their due diligence to pick a class that is high quality and meets their specific requirements.
Advantages of In-Person Classes
- You could be walking into a large class. Large classes are a good sign that the course is valuable. However, it also means that you won’t necessarily get the chance to ask all the questions you need to.
- Travel time is a factor. When you’re already pressed for time in your day, knowing you have to reach a physical location to take a class can make the learning experience more stressful than it needs to be.
- Costs tend to be higher. When you sign up for an on-site class, chances are you’re also going to be paying more. The cost covers the time of the tutor, the venue, and any printed materials that might be required.
- Personality clashes could become an issue. When you’re learning from your laptop, you have more privacy and don’t have to engage with other learners if you don’t want to – this is not the case when you’re in a classroom. Not only is it noisier but you may end up having to spend a lot of time with people you find frustrating.
Deciding Between Online Learning vs Face to Face Learning
As you can see, there are a number of pros and cons attached to each option. To help you decide whether online learning vs face-to-face face learning is right for you, here are four things to keep in mind:
- Schedule. How much time do you have available to learn a new hobby or study a new topic? If you require more flexibility, eLearning is probably a better option for you.
- Budget. If your budget is fairly limited, chances are you will have more course options available to you if you go the online route. If you can afford to spend a little more and would prefer to be around other people, opt for a traditional learning space.
- Learning style. How do you prefer to learn? If you aren’t really fussed about how you’re taught, classroom learning could be a good fit. However, if you know that you take in and retain more information by adopting a certain learning style, online courses can provide you with more options, ensuring you find classes that meet your needs.
- Interests and passions. Finally, you need to look at the different hobbies and interests you want to pursue. If the list keeps getting longer, it makes more sense to sign up for online classes. However, if there’s just one topic in particular that you want to explore, you may want to consider traditional classroom learning as an option too.
Now that you have a better understanding of what it means to pursue online classes versus attending in-person classes, you can start your search for the ideal course.
There really is no right or wrong answer to which type of learning environment is better – it all comes down to your preferences.
And if you need a little inspiration and want to find out about exciting events, workshops, and classes, visit Zing.