Is online learning still the future?

Three years after the pandemic closed classroom across the globe, we re-revaluate the benefits of online learning versus class and hybrid options.

Often the choice between online learning, classroom learning, or hybrid learning largely depends on individual preferences and circumstances. 

Each mode of learning has its own advantages and disadvantages. We consider how well each model delivers against the key educational trends of supporting lifelong learning, personalisation, accessibility, collaboration and social leanring.

Online Learning

  • Pros:

    • Flexibility: Online learning allows learners to study at their own pace and on their own schedule.
    • Access: Learners can access online courses from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection.
    • Affordability: Online courses are often more affordable than traditional classroom courses.
    • Variety: There is a wide variety of online courses available to choose from.
  • Cons:

    • Isolation: Online learners may feel isolated and lack the opportunity to interact with other students and teachers in person.
    • Self-discipline: Online learning requires self-discipline and motivation to complete coursework without the structure of a traditional classroom environment.
    • Technical issues: Technical difficulties can arise when taking online courses, such as internet connectivity issues or software compatibility problems.

Classroom Learning

  • Pros:

    • Interaction: Classroom learning provides learners with the opportunity to interact with their teachers and peers in person.
    • Structure: Classroom learning offers a structured learning environment with a set schedule and assignments.
    • Hands-on learning: Some subjects, such as science or art, may require hands-on learning that is difficult to replicate online.
  • Cons:

    • Inflexibility: Classroom learning requires learners to attend classes at set times and locations, which may not be convenient for everyone.
    • Cost: Classroom courses can be more expensive than online courses due to the cost of facilities and materials.
    • Limited access: Classroom courses may not be available to learners who live far away from the educational institution.

Hybrid Learning

  • Pros:

    • Flexibility: Hybrid learning offers the flexibility of online learning with the added benefit of in-person interaction with teachers and peers.
    • Personalised learning: Hybrid learning allows learners to customize their learning experience to their individual needs and preferences.
    • Cost-effective: Hybrid learning can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional classroom learning, as it reduces the need for physical facilities.
  • Cons:

    • Technical issues: Hybrid learning requires reliable internet connectivity and access to technology, which may be a challenge for some learners.
    • Scheduling conflicts: Hybrid learning can be difficult to schedule and may require learners to balance multiple commitments.
    • Lack of structure: Hybrid learning can be less structured than traditional classroom learning, which may require learners to be more self-disciplined.

In conclusion, the best mode of learning depends on your individual needs and preferences. It's essential to consider the pros and cons of each mode of learning and weigh them against your personal circumstances to make an informed decision.

If you are considering hybrid learning, ensure you have reliable internet connectivity and access to necessary technology, such as a laptop or tablet, to make the most of online learning components.

Additionally, it can be helpful to create a schedule that allows for both in-person and online learning activities and make sure to set aside time for self-study and coursework completion.

Lastly, take advantage of the personalised learning opportunities that hybrid learning offers by working closely with your teachers or instructors to tailor your learning experience to your individual needs and preferences.