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Brick or Click—E Learning or Traditional Education

April 12, 2014

Brick or Click—E Learning or Traditional Education

Miss A :- I think that online education is a far better option because it allows far more freedom and flexibility. Online courses give the same opportunity to learn as on-campus courses, but they stand at an advantage as they offer more flexibility. One does not have to be in a particular place at a certain time in order to participate. When one opts for an online or “web-based” course, it is as good as enrolling for a regular course, or for a still better one as the exposure to a larger number of resources is ensured. From this starting point, there is a step by step easy process that acquaints one with stages of the course, learning activities, resources, discussions with the teacher and course mates etc. It may not be the same as a regular discussion, as teleconferencing is the medium, but you do get to exchange ideas and opinions. And, although many online courses are “web-based”, many come supplemented by course manuals, video tapes or CDs. It is no different from the regular education and assignments have to be submitted on time but you have the luxury of studying at your pace.

 Mr B :- In my opinion, the traditional classroom teaching cannot be replaced as it combines a lot many elements other than the lesson content. The interactions that can ensue in a traditional classroom cannot be replicated in the virtual world. It is this one to one exchange that better aids the learning. A classroom creates a distinct atmosphere where education acquires an air of seriousness and where new thought is stimulated to yield much more mental output than what the lesson aims at. While the traditional way of learning may bind the student by the specifics of time, location and qualification, it is much better in terms of the result it yields. After all, there is no point of education if actual learning is not achieved. And what does one do in cases where hands-on training is required? Medicine and other physical sciences cannot be taught through the computer/Web-based learning.

 Miss C :-  I think that the resistance to online education should fade away as it has come to stay. The ways of conducting business and work is beginning to get dictated by technology and the sooner we accept and get comfortable with this change, the better it will be. E-learning is definitely a better option vis-à-vis traditional learning and has become a widely used tool for teaching and training individuals in both academic and corporate settings. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to gain knowledge and information. The interesting part and a great advantage that comes with online education is that it facilitates an opportunity for continuing education for the individuals who are employed or for some reason cannot enrol for/attend regular lectures. Additionally, many students are able to complete their educations because they can study as and when they have the time to do so.  

 Mr D :- I agree that the benefits of online education in terms of benefiting the people short of time and those affected by distance constraints are many, but in my opinion we still cannot do away with the traditional education delivery system. This holds especially true in case of school education as the assistance provided by the teacher in the younger years cannot be replicated by the cold electronic medium. Whenever starting with any subject/line of education that is entirely new to the pupils, the teacher plays a vital role in establishing a basic level of comfort and priming that may not be possible otherwise. In a traditional classroom setting, the teacher is able to gauge the sensibilities as well as apprehensions of the pupils and address the issues apart from those related to the syllabus. The teacher can continually monitor students for cues about their level of comprehension, probe their understanding, and respond to difficulties. The teacher can hold the students in an endless variety of individualized and cooperative learning activities, as also attend to student motivation and generate enthusiasm.

 Miss A :- In my opinion, the line of reasoning extended by our friend may hold true for children who need to be guided at every step, but I think that the new education delivery system or computer/Web-based learning is a much better option for higher studies. A major roadblock that hits the traditional system is that there are only a limited number of students that a brick and mortar classroom can accommodate. However, the case is different with a virtual classroom—anyone with genuine interest and requisite qualification can apply and chances of larger number of students with no variation in quality of teaching can be accepted. Students/learners can study at their own pace and receive direct, immediate, and individual specific feedback. The content that is being provided can be reviewed as needed. This saves the time and energy that the student puts into making notes and collecting relevant material. I see another advantage with the new method and that is the anonymity. The students can muster up more courage, try innovations and risk being wrong, which would be subdued in a traditional environment as bumbling would subject such attempts to jeering and mocking.  The classroom setting can also hinder one’s ability to learn by allowing  more vocal students to dominate the bulk of the discussion environments. Quieter personalities are limited in their communication options for exchanging ideas and information.

 Mr B :- That is precisely my point. Classroom study to my mind is really essential as it does not merely make an individual learn/understand syllabus, but it imparts skills-sets that are essential while dealing with sundry situations and people as well. The shy ones, as our friend here stated, will have to come out of their shell. They have to realise that gain can be made only if you take a risk. Classroom learning promotes two levels of socialisation: among students via group discussion, team projects, peer evaluation, etc.; and between students and professionals via guest lectures, field trips etc. There is no dearth of studies showing how people are becoming reclusive and instances of maladjustments are on the increase. Hiding behind the screen may be an easy option, but it deprives an individual of many lessons of life. If one cannot walk in step, balancing out life alongside, that education is highly unlikely to serve any purpose.

 Miss C :- As I see it, I am all for the e-learning vis-à-vis traditional learning. I feel that in the absence of a teacher, one is able to trigger independent thinking and is able to see the content in a fresh perspective. In an actual classroom, the student’s faculties are overpowered by the teacher’s perspective and that comes out to be the final word. There are also modules in which the instructor communicates with the students real time, but that has to still become popular as computer/Web-based instruction is faced by problems of connectivity and bandwidth in India. However, the idea of online learning, which incorporates tools like video conferencing, audio streaming and chatting, is fast gaining currency among the student community for its flexible structure which allows them to access lessons and take tests from anywhere in the world. Another amazing facet is that e-learning can be delivered at one-third the cost of traditional learning in a sustainable manner. With careful service, the quality can well exceed almost any form of learning.

 Mr D :- The discussion is a huge pointer to the change that is rapidly setting in. It will be hardly any time before technology determines the method of education delivery. But the truth of the matter is that there are advantages and disadvantages to every type of learning environment.  There are tremendous benefits of the traditional classroom learning that cannot be ruled out, no matter how advanced the technology becomes. And then there is the revolution called e-learning that has already changed the face of education. It is best to use the advantages that each method offers to their fullest extent. It may be of relevance to note here that a basic comfort, understanding and discipline that can be imparted well through the traditional method is required to go into a child before he/she grows up to choose and go about in self-study mode. There is also the need for high level of sensitivity required to design the curriculum and assess the work, keeping in consideration the medium. In conclusion, the interest and motivation of the student will be one big determinant in success of the method of education delivery.


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