If you're choosing between going for an online degree or a traditional, face-to-face degree, then you must consider several factors. Of course, the most obvious difference between the two is the physical setting in which education occurs. However, the differences encompass much more than that, including the following:
- Learning methodologies
- Tuition fees
- Teaching tempo
To understand how any of these options can be better in certain areas, let's examine their advantages.
The face-to-face style of education is most likely the oldest form of it. Nonetheless, its significant position doesn't necessarily protect its place as the dominant style of education. The digital revolution of the past 30 years has affected every sphere of our lives. Of course, education is now being greatly influenced by digital technologies.
Here are the main advantages of traditional, face-to-face education:
- Rigid class structure with strict organization
- Highly physically interactive
- Physical resources (library, health center, etc.)
- The presence of extracurricular activities.
Traditional education is based mostly on real-life interaction. It can be a big plus for the people who enjoy social interaction a lot and can't live without it. Additionally, in a traditional college, you get the usual "college experience," which some people wouldn't exchange for anything.
Online education is the direct result of the digital revolution affecting our lives. With the advances made with the Internet and growing computer convenience, online education was only a matter of time.
The advantages of online education are the following:
- No fixed schedule to follow
- Only virtually interactive
- Exclusively digital resources
- No need to commute.
The online college is a great choice for people who are the "do everything by themselves" type. The absence of any fixed learning schedule (mostly) and the need to commute is extremely convenient. For some, these aspects can be the sole aspect of choosing online education.
The Differences Between the Two
Now that we know the main advantages of online and traditional education, let's compare them more closely. If you really can't decide which path to choose, refer to the comparison list below. With its help, you'll figure out what's best for you.
The fact that online college isn't based on face-to-face interaction changes quite a lot. One of the most important aspects is that it gives you the freedom to study wherever you want to. Be it in the comfort of your home, a café, or even a beach. Traditional college doesn't offer such a convenience, as you're confined to a physical place.
It's argued that online college requires less time in your life because it's so focused on education. You don't need to commute, nor wait for other people to come, or wait in line at the college's diner, etc. All of these small, time-consuming aspects of everyday traditional college life are gone.
The Emphasis on Writing
For online education, you might want to use an essay editor to ensure top grades. In traditional college, you have many communication options, which isn't the case for online college. You have to be a strong writer with great writing ability to receive good grades in an online setting. Most of the communication with professors and the assignments – it's all writing.
By its nature, traditional college favors synchronous activities, meaning you'll be working alongside your classmates most of the time. On the other hand, online college prefers asynchronous, meaning the students do the course activities independently.
The traditional college is known for not being cheap and accessible. Many people have to take out significant college loans to afford this type of education. The situation differs a bit with online education. Some online colleges ask for the full traditional price while others work on a credit-based system, offering much smaller prices.
Being a Tech Savvy
Knowing your computer and the software on it well is essential to being successful in an online college. Although the traditional college incorporates some technological aspects in the curriculum, they're not as significant. Even if you're bad with computers, you can still thrive in traditional education, which isn't the case for the online setting.
Often, students in traditional colleges aren't that motivated to learn, so they get dragged through their teachers' degrees. This isn't a possibility for online colleges because students have to motivate themselves significantly. There's much less pressure to do anything in an online setting, which makes motivating yourself highly essential.
The Importance of Reading
The fact that people frequently forget about online college is how much reading it encompasses. If, in the traditional college setting, you get directed only to specific pages in textbooks. You'll be recommended to read through all the required literature and additional materials in an online college.
One of the main benefits of online college is being able to learn at your pace. Although every online course has its final deadlines, nobody stops you from racing through the course (if you want to). Traditional college doesn't allow that; you have to go at the pace of the rest of your class.
The Professor: Dictator or Facilitator?
In traditional education, your professor will dictate what you do and when you do. However, online education doesn't allow for such close supervision. So, the professors in online colleges often take on a learning facilitator's role, more than anything else. All the professors do is put up their lectures and recommend solutions to the problems of their students.
It's All About Your Personal Preference
At this point, there's no obvious and clear winner. Neither the traditional college nor online college is inherently and comprehensively than the other. So, when picking between the two, you have to rely on your personal preferences.