Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning – Essay Example

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The paper 'Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning' is a great example of an essay on education.   Ever since the invention of the internet and the World Wide Web, education has changed drastically. Both have been used as instruction medium and for other purposes. It is now easier to hand in assignments via email and access materials such as a book in softcopy from virtual libraries. This shift into online education challenges the values epitomized by the traditional form of education where the students and instructors meet face to face.

With online education, learners and instructors do not have to meet physically in the classroom meaning it can take any place where an internet connection and a computer or tablet are available. There are advantages and disadvantages that come with online education compared to traditional education. However, the benefits of online education outweigh its costs.   Online learning and traditional learning have very different learning environments. Earlier studies such as by Haertela, Walberg, and Haertela among others identified a positive correlation between the students’ perception and attitudes towards the learning environment and the learning outcomes which favored the traditional approach (Ni, 2012).

Opponents of online learning have castigated this approach claiming it does not provide a supportive environment as compared to traditional classrooms. This is because the face to face interactions between teachers and students create a human element to education. This social interaction in the traditional classroom fosters learning and creates a motivating environment as opposed to online learning where students are rather secluded. Some opponents of online learning even claim that the traditional approach is the only way to teach (Angiello, 2012). The online education approach is considerably cheaper and more efficient than the traditional approach.

In this age of green living and carbon footprints, individuals and institutions are concerned about the impact they have on the environment. Online education supports environmental conservation efforts by individuals and institutions. This is because it eliminates the need for construction of facilities that have varying impacts on the environment directly or through sourcing of materials (Doskocil, 2008). Another way that online education is advantageous is that it is cheaper for educational institutions and students as it eliminates the need for travel, construction of classes, and lecture halls and eliminates high accommodation expenses for students and institutions (Ni, 2012). The online learning produces better academic performance compared to the traditional approach.

While most teaching and learning theories are premised on face-to-face interactions such as working in groups, the online approach has triumphed. Given that the core theories predict less effective learning and learning outcomes, empirical studies have presented a different story. Numerous studies showed that online learners performed better on average than their counterparts attending face-2-face classes (Vroeginday, 2005; Ni, 2012; Angiello 2010).

However, a combination of the two approaches proved even more advantageous in terms of higher academic performance (Bowen 2012). However, other studies have shown that a growing number of students are choosing online education with a misinformed idea that it is easier to pursue on account of personal freedom than classroom-based education (Bowen, 2012). However, instructors reveal that the amount of coursework in both cases is similar. In conclusion, it is evident that each approach is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses.

However, the world must accept that change is inevitable and that online education is just one of the much-needed changes. As internet accessibility continues to grow more populations will embrace online education. The fact that online students seem to perform better as per most studies will propel this push for online education coupled with other benefits such as a smaller carbon footprint.


Angiello, R. (2010). The study looks at online learning vs. traditional instruction. Education Digest:

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Bowen, W., Chingos, M., Lack, K. & Nygren, T. 2012. Interactive Learning Online at Public

Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials. Retrieved from,

Doskocil, A. R. (2008). Instructor perception of student education: Traditional vs. online learning methods. (Order No. 1465861, University of Houston-Clear Lake). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 74. Retrieved from (304812696).

Ni, A. 2012. Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching

Research Methods. Journal of Public Affairs Education 19(2), 199–215.

Vroeginday, B. J. (2005). Traditional vs. online education: A comparative analysis of learner outcomes. (Order No. 3193436, Fielding Graduate University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 150-150 p. Retrieved from (305349750).

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