Online Learning vs Face to Face Learning, Which is more Effective?

By: PENNY MACIAS

As online school is becoming the new norm due to the coronavirus outbreak, many have started to ask; “Is this really the more effective path?” Since the spike in this pandemic, schools have gotten the order to shut down until further notice. Online schooling has become more popular, according to a study done by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2017-18, 501 full-time virtual schools enrolled 297,712 students, and 300 blended schools enrolled 132,960. The report also shows that, on average, 50.1% of virtual high school students graduate within four years, compared with 84% of high school students nationally. How will this sudden transition affect the education of students?

First, what is online learning? Online learning can be any type of learning that takes place on the internet, and a place where students and teachers can communicate virtually. Online learning does have its benefits, for example learning how to have better time management skills, better communication skills, and teaches you to be more self-motivated because there isn’t a teacher physically close to make sure you’re focused on work at all times. All of these skills are needed in the future, such as in a workplace. Developing these skills early will help students in a work environment, especially since there will be more technology. As our world becomes more fast-paced, online learning provides something that traditional learning cannot. Online learning is more  up to date, and helps us stay relevant as our world is quickly changing. 

Staying online also helps our environment by reducing the use of paper, and the expenses of printing new materials like textbooks. Online learning can simply be updated to make sure the information taught is current and fresh. Also, the expenses of having separate rooms and buildings will be reduced since everything will be online. Teachers won’t have to provide materials that will end up being thrown away or lost since students will have to provide their own materials. Being online is more efficient in that aspect.

Online learning may start to become more popular, but it cannot replace traditional learning. Face to face learning has many benefits that online does not. For example, students are able to participate in after school activities, like clubs and sports. It also allows students to have easier access to their teachers, and can set up meetings to talk about their performance, or about a project. At Benicia highschool, student Emily Wade (Sophomore) believes that going to school normally is better than online school. She says, “(It is) easier to communicate with classmates when it comes to assignments or group work.” Since online learning is new to many students and teachers, it is harder to get used to. More importantly, school was the one place where students could interact with each other. Many feel isolated and lonely talking to their friends on a screen. Student Sydney Yacullo (Freshman) says, “I miss actually being able to interact with my peers and teachers. It always brought a lot of brightness to my day and we can’t really see people in online school.” Sending emails and interacting with colleagues online just isn’t the same, and you won’t get the same connection to other students as you can with live communication.

Putting aside the efficiency of online learning, does it really help students? It may conserve the usage of paper, but really, writing things down and taking notes have proven to work better for students. Using technology and writing notes down on a keyboard doesn’t help you retain information. Note taking helps students think about what they’re learning, which isn’t all too effective when typing quickly on a 

keyboard. 

Studies have shown that students who handwrite their notes perform better on tests. Researchers at Princeton University ran experiments to confirm this. The researchers found that writing notes led to significantly more short-term retention. When the students were tested to see whether they remembered what they wrote down, students who wrote their notes remembered more than typing. Online may give students more freedom, but being immersed in the environment of school allows kids to work better, and become more focused on their work. With computers around, it might tempt students to get distracted and message their friends. Online learning might be more convenient and easy, but it isn’t the most effective and beneficial as not all students are equipped to learn online.

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