Arun Jagannathan makes a comparison between online and offline modes of learning to gauge what is best for each aspect of study
Imagine that it is the year 1995 and you need to learn all you can about the nesting habits of tropical birds for a biology assignment. What would you doIJ Make a beeline for the local library and borrow all the bird books you canIJ Flip through copies of National Geographic hoping to luck outIJ Call your friends frantically and find out how they’re getting at the informationIJ Probably all of the above.
Fast-forward to today, and all you have to do is click the Google search button, sit back and sip your coffee as you read. It is fascinating how learning has changed with the advent of web-based technologies. Today, we live in an era where a variety of services are offered to us with convenience and quality, and online learning is top of this list.
Is online learning always a good thing thoughIJ let’s be Shakespearean and ask — offline learning or E-learning/ online study — that is the question. let us find out the advantages and disadvantages of the two modes of teaching with regard to various aspects of learning and see which one of them is better.
Staying on the straight & narrow path
When it comes to classroom learning, there is an inherent structure to your studies and an obligation to be punctual to class whereas online courses are flexible vehicles that run at your own convenience. Though flexibility sounds like a good thing in general, it can be a double-edged sword that may not work well for people who struggle with self-discipline. If you need rigour, framework and accountability in your learning, you are still better off in a classroom. But there is a teacher present at all times to answer the student’s queries. The true form of learning is where there is involvement of people sharing and receiving knowledge without delay. This is possible in an offline classroom.
In such a situation the advantage is with offline learning.
Organising your studies
Offline classrooms teach you to follow the ageold technique of taking notes. You will probably be feverishly leafing through them right before the exam (and panicking when you can’t find the page you’re looking for).
Online learning makes things a little easier — technology makes note-keeping more structured and puts everything in its place so that you don’t have to make an extra effort to be organised. You can always access the particular chapter or page or video you need to, without much ado.
Here, the advantage goes to online learning.
Prepping for the real test
If you’ve noticed, most competitive exams have an option to choose an online platform over a physical classroom, and some only have the option of appearing online. Online learning platforms can give you a huge advantage, in that they not only prep you for the theory of the exam, but also get you familiar with the test environment.
For example if you are preparing for the GMAT and are looking for accurate free tests on the Internet, a link that can go a long way and help you is http://gmatonthego.com/.
The advantage, of course, goes to online learning.
learning from your peers
A classroom setting most obviously increases engagement among students. However, online platforms are a great way to meet and learn from people too. Since many online courses are offered globally, this format opens the doors to learning about other perspectives from different corners of the world.
What’s moreIJ There could be queries you would never ask in a classroom (because you were scared of appearing dumb), which you could ask in an online forum and get answers to. Students taking an online course enter a comfort zone where they can try new things and make mistakes without fear of being judged by others.
The student here can take the advantage of both offline and online learning.
Now, the problem is which mode of learning should a student takeIJ Which one is right for youIJ Traditional classroom courses are still the most common way of learning in our country. However online education platforms are increasingly becoming an appealing option for many students. Before you choose which one you should take up, consider the benefits of each type and which best suits your personality and learning methods. If travelling and money is a constraint, online classes are better than offline. But if there is no such issue, offline classes are a better choice. Also, one has to see Internet connectivity. In some places it might be a problem, in that case offline mode is best suited. Ensure that you take that learning mode that best suits you and not what your friends have taken.
(The writer is CEO, CrackVerbal)