Online Learning vs. the Traditional College Classrooms, Research Paper Example
Words: 1749Research Paper
Increased popularity of online learning and the waning in popularity of brick and mortar college class rooms and the competition implication these trends.
Need for teachers to adopt with changes resulting from increased application of technology in teaching.
Use of technology in improving the quality of education.
Use of networking technology to provide a reliable knowledge warehouse.
The aim of acquiring college education online or in brick and mortar classrooms is similar. Online learning is defined as the use of network technologies for learning and teaching purposes as opposed to traditional college where pedagogical duties are dispensed through the chalk and talk. The evolving job market has placed stiff demands on job seekers who are required to engage themselves in lifelong learning to shield them from ever looming prospect of being rendered redundant due to increased use of technology and the changes this is having on the job market. (Cassidy, 1992)
The focus of this research will be to draw out the differences between the two platforms of imparting knowledge through an in-depth analysis of both methods in the light of the job market environment. Learning involves participating in the social world which and is enhanced through dialogue through social and internal negotiation. On campus classes can be completely online or hybrid where the student is required to participate in physical classes once in a while.
Online learning is divided into synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous online classes are run through use of facilities such as chat and video conferencing. This enables learners and teachers to socialize and helps eliminate frustrations by answering questions in real time. The learners through participation appreciate the experience more.
Asynchronous uses media such as bulletin boards or discussion boards and e-mail which help the students and the teacher interact even in the absence of either of them (Geddes, 2005). Most people prefer this method of online learning because they are able to combine work with education, mingle with family members and engage in other activities without interfering with their class schedules.
Resources available at an online college defer from those found in a traditional classrooms. It is cheaper to join an online class because the student does not have to pay for facilities such as, hostels, dining halls, gyms and libraries however there are online virtual libraries and some online colleges have affiliates who offer physical facilities.
Naturally students are different and those who are shy tend to lose a lot in traditional classrooms. Through the level anonymity available asynchronously, the students are able to participate through asking questions and are able to better understand the context of the material being covered.
A student has access to the best professors who might not be available locally because an online class transcends limitations due to geographical boundaries’ (Kuh, (2005). Therefore a student can interact with high end professors living in different continents.
Online students enjoy a certain degree of flexibility and they can work at their own pace not forgetting to mention the ease with which they can contact their professors. Traditional college professors are available only during office hours and they rarely check their mails, contrary to this the in availability of a professor is of no consequence in an online college as the professors contact you through e-mails and are bound to answer all your questions through similar means.
The accessibility and convenience of online education in bringing is incredible. This is because disabled people can benefit from a home set up and so need for special equipment is eliminated and the problem of having to commute to and fro is solved conveniently.
Online students have access to learning materials similar to those of traditional colleges and thus their accreditation is of equal value to those of their counter parts. Online colleges do not mention that their degrees they offer are acquired online.
The fact that online education deals with mature and responsible students makes it a venture that is bound to succeed. A considerable percentage of online students are adult whose aim is to advance their career, salary increase and for personal growth and development. Given this justifiable motives, these students tend to allocate a considerable amount of time with their studies as opposed to those of a younger age attending traditional colleges. Online education teaches its participants on how to multi task. By use of the internet which has a wide array of learning tools at its disposal. Various studies conducted have revealed that each learner has unique needs and each learners needs are evaluated before admission to determine the suitable mode of instruction that would fit him.
Traditional College Classes
People with mobility problems have difficulties accessing quality education as they are not able to travel to and fro from the home and travelling between different lecture halls thus locking out a considerable number of the population by denying them a this right.
The students are overwhelmed by the so many bureaucratic procedures involved in finding a club and so on by having to go through student activities office, career development as opposed to on campus students who can do so quite easily and at their own convenience.
Most students who attend traditional colleges range between the age of 18-21 and do not spend allocated college hours accordingly but rather on other activities that do not aid learning (Savage, 2003). The reason is because most of them are on college because of pressure from third parties such as guidance counselors, parents and teachers and not as a result of independent choice. Others attend traditional colleges to engage themselves with sport events, fraternities, sororities and parties. However there are those who have a substantive desire to further their learning.
Teachers do not have a predetermined method of addressing unique learning needs of their students in this setup. The use a wide range of approaches in passing the message across and they rely on body language of the students to tell weather the point has been understood or not. Thus students with different backgrounds assimilate knowledge differently or don’t understand altogether (Thomas, 1993). Thus a student without prerequisite knowledge of a concept or who experiences language difficulties will inevitably loose. To that extent we see the need for intervention of technology to solve this problem as online enables students learn at their own pace.
The purpose of this research being to establish the effectiveness of online learning, we can see from the foregoing that technology is being used specifically to reconcile the weaknesses eminent in the traditional classes. The roles being played by technology being the focus of our argument can be seen to portray online education as an important element of education, which like any other institution is evolving. To understand this better we need to juxtapose the pedagogy under each setting concurrently for us to come up with an apt answer to our question.
Technology is invoked to facilitate academic refinement e.g. by use of artificial intelligence to come up with a complex courseware design intended to solve the problem associated with the shortage of learning models. Tools such as virtual reality modeling language, java and xml are used to achieve this end (Cassidy, 1992). Learning models using games are used to simplify technical concepts. Technology combined with psychology is used to build these models.
Students memorize through listening and telling stories which help them achieve their academic objectives. Online learning combines technology with learning services to provide quality education. The tools it provides adds value to traditional learning by catering for the needs dictated by the personality of the learner (Foley, 1970).
The use of graphics for visualization as well as internet research that helps one to explore on issues deeply is enabled by use of virtual laboratories Use of digital libraries helps create web pages that can support different languages this improves the effectiveness and communicability of the course work.
The pedagogy for experimentation is found in use of virtual labs and it entails; simulation for online experimentation, virtual reality modeling language, visualization graphics etc. Online learning recognizes the following personality aspects of its learners; thinker, intuitive, introvert, extrovert, feeler, judging and perceiver. Psychologically, a person a person will belong to any of the possible 16 types of combination e.g. enfg, istp etc. The online determination of student personality helps to march a professor to a student.
In view of the foregoing, it is mandatory for teachers to consider adopting their roles to that of counselor, mentor or motivator. They should help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and act as a catalyst for change.
The internet is playing a major role in shaping the future of learning. The networking technologies and the websites collectively for what is called internet communication technologies which is the key platform through which online learning takes place. Internet saves the lecturers and the students a lot of man power that has great economical implications for all the stake holders. Online learning is a creative way of encouraging the full exploitation of the readily available resources for the betterment of the education sector. There is increased use of the internet in all walks of life and education sector is no exception as this has had tremendous socio-economic benefits to the state due to increase in savings.
Internet use in application of online learning has been primarily used for the intention of solving the shortcomings experienced under the traditional chalk and talk’s pedagogy and addresses the faults due to the previous approaches of implementing such as computer based tutoring. With the combination of different computer applications with the internet a learning environment is created or even customized to address special needs of the students (Foley, 1970).
For this end to be achieved, a tactful interplay of operational psychology, online learning design and instruction technology must be put at the forefront with as much precision as possible. The traditional class settings should incorporate use of technologies in service delivery if they are to survive the stiff competition.
Cassidy, D. (1992) .Going back to school: Deciding to Return . New York: Crisp Pubns Inc.
Foley, A. (1970). The college scene; students tell it like it is . New York: Cowels.
Books, Thomas, C. (1993). Attitudes of Higher Education Faculty toward Distance Education: A National Survey. The American Journal of Distance Education, 2(3), 23-30.
Geddes, H. (2005). Attachment in the classroom: The links between children’s early experience, emotional well being and performance in school. Los Angeles: Worth Publishing.
Kuh, G. (2005). Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter. New York: Jossey-Bass.
Savage, M. (2003). You’re on your own (But I’m here if you need me) Mentoring your child during the college years. New York: Fireside Press.
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