Updated September 10, 2022

Traditional Vs Distance Courses: A Balance Should Be Found

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Traditional Vs Distance Courses: A Balance Should Be Found essay
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Over the past few decades there has been a rise in options for distance learning. Encompassing everything from the classic mailed correspondence across the spectrum of media to strictly online courses. They have all played an important role in allowing educational opportunities for those who would otherwise be unable to gain access to these programs. Although, due to recent global events the need for traditional classroom settings have been called into question. As students across the world are forced to take online courses due to public health concerns. There has been a push by many to move our educational environment to one based mainly online. While this may seem like a viable option to many. There should be a balance struck between the various settings.

Many will say that using the online format will help students develop skills sought after by employers. While this may be true in terms of skills regarding technology usage. They are overlooking a set of skills that is even more desired by industries across the board. “When in a classroom, students may be required to speak their mind. They may be required to give presentations or speeches. They will have to work in groups with all kinds of people with many differing viewpoints. Online courses require none of that. Businesses often tell university faculty that they wish graduating students had more interpersonal skills. They say it is crucial to success in their careers (Hughes).”

[bookmark: _Hlk42616285] As we look at the benefits of being given the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills offered by participating in a traditional classroom setting. We must also look at possible negative outcomes of removing students from face to face interaction. Such as the feeling of being isolated, or the possible loss of motivation leading to the lack of self-discipline to complete assignments. “Learners sometimes feel lack of support and reassurance in moments when the learning content is more difficult and they have problems with it (Kiryakova).” “Motivation is a basic agent in distance education. Loss of motivation will bring negative results. Learners should be strongly motivated in order to finish their education. Self-discipline is linked to motivation (Kiryakova).”

For many students, such as those in rural area, internet connectivity can be an issue. While the infrastructure of America’s essential utility services is being improved almost daily. Highspeed internet connection has not been defined as an essential utility service yet. Meaning that many citizens do not have access to a highspeed connection in their homes. Let alone a reliable one. “The main environment for delivering information [in an online format] to students is WWW. This requires fast-speed connection. In cases of synchronous communication slow-speed connection can disturb normal learning process (Kiryakova).”

Even with connectivity issues removed, there is the question of which setting students best develop the skills needed to learn. “Critical thinking requires perspective and a certain distance from one’s personal experiences. Schools need to offer a degree of stability and quiet—precisely so that students may grapple with important questions (Senechal).” Many who take online courses do so in settings that are difficult to control, such as their homes. While being surrounded by daily life it can be nearly impossible to bend your focus to the material being presented. Let alone create an environment that will provide the “degree of stability and quiet” needed to truly comprehend the information.

Some proponents of transitioning to mainly online courses will say they offer the same opportunities as a traditional setting. But there are strategies available in a classroom setting to improve the quality of learning that are not currently available online. “These strategies include active learning, educative assessment, the use of small groups, and using the taxonomy of significant learning to define learning outcomes (Stacks)” just to cite a few.

While we must admit that there are definitive benefits of providing online learning opportunities. The drawbacks must not be overlooked. For some students online courses will be the best environment in which to learn, for others it has the potential to be disastrous. Even while many within our governments and educational systems move forward transitioning students to online courses. There needs to be a balance struck between the two, and options available to students. Diana Senechal describes it best when she stated, “Lifting the levels does not mean racing to catch up with a movement’s demands; it means standing back from the race, focusing on what it means to educate in the full sense, and honoring this understanding in all of our work. To make changes thoughtfully—to keep the layers of past and present in everything we do—may be the most daring education reform of all.”


  1. Hughes, Seth. “Why Traditional Classroom Learning Is Better Than Online Courses.” Owlcation, HubPages, 24 Mar. 2020, owlcation.com/academia/Why-Traditional-Classroom-Learning-is-Better-than-Online-Courses. Accesed 22 April 2020.
  2. Kiryakova, G. “Review of Distance Education.” Trakia Journal of Sciences, vol. 7, no. 3, Sept. 2009, pp. 29–34. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=51004860&site=ehost-live. Accessed 22 April 2020.
  3. Senechal, Diana. “The Most Daring Education Reform of All.” American Educator, vol. 34, no. 1, American Federation of Teachers, Spring 2010, pp. 4 -16. ERIC, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ889140. Accessed 22 April 2020.
  4. Stack, Steven. “Learning Outcomes in an Online vs Traditional Course.” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, vol. 9, no. 1, Jan. 2015. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1134653&site=ehost-live. Accessed 20 April 2020.

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What is the difference between online courses and traditional courses?
In traditional classes, most materials are provided by the school while in online classes you would be the one to provide all your materials needed . What's also good about online classes is you can automatically research about the assignments given on the Internet. Your resources are available on the Internet.
What is the difference between traditional and distance learning?
In distance learning, the courses are taken online which does not restrict the student to a particular location. In traditional learning, however, students must go to school or college for education. Here, there is a pre-assigned time at which students have to report daily for receiving their education.
Which is better an online class compared to a traditional class?
Online programs make a college degree more accessible for many students — particularly those who are working full-time, who have family obligations, and/or who live far from the college campus. Online classes also give students more autonomy over their learning, and allow them to work at an individualized pace.
Why Traditional classes are better than distance learning?
Regular attendance in classes helps them interact with other individuals of their own age, be better disciplined, follow a regular schedule, and improve their physical fitness and mental alertness. Classroom learning helps students and teachers know each other in a better manner.
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