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Online Learning versus Campus Learning

Updated on February 3, 2013

Which one works for you?

Online learning and campus (on ground) learning have several similarities and differences when it comes to convenience, performance, and credibility. You can benefit from getting your degree from both classroom and online learning. They are both designed to provide significant learning experiences for students. Most college courses require a considerable amount of effort and time to be completed successfully. In the past year, online courses and online components which have been a growing part of college life and traditional classes for a decade have boomed at many institutions. For many community college students, most who are working people with families and those who are struggling financially, find online courses attractive due to their convenience and flexibility.

During the last decade, online learning has increased dramatically. Its increase has made traditional universities and technical colleges to embrace online courses due to declining financial support because of the popularity of the online universities. A study has shown that employers favor online learning due to the flexibility presented. Employers stated that they will recommend online courses to their employees to further develop skills, but some employers were uncertain about whether an online degree was comparable to a traditional face-to-face learning degree and were uncertain about hiring someone with an online degree if the position required a college degree.

Motivations for students taking online courses are “convenience”, “enjoyment and independence”, and “no other option available”. Positive correlations were identified linking the personal student variables of motivation and self-efficacy with the two motivations for students taking online/web-assisted courses of convenience and enjoyment & independence. However, negative relationships were revealed between the personal student variables of motivation and self-efficacy and the motivation for students taking online/web-assisted courses when no option existed. Similar results were identified between student outcomes such as learning and learning experience satisfaction and the three motivations for taking online/web-assisted courses.

Online learning also has its cons. Online learning can be more difficult and harder to understand because you aren’t in the classroom environment with a professor and other classmates. Sometimes it is more difficult to comprehend or grasp an assignment or what to do because you aren’t in that setting. You also don’t get the one on one attention that some students need. Conversation doesn’t flow as quickly and the feedback isn’t as quick as it is within the classroom setting and it can take days to hear back from instructors or other students in your class. The ability to toggle among open tabs on your browser can be a huge distraction to students. You could have a study program open and be playing a computer game or browsing other web sites all at the same time.

Online learning works best for most because you are never rushed to get an errand ran. You don’t have to hurry to do something just to get to class on time. You also save money by not having to pay babysitting fees or buying gas for your car just to drive to the local college to take the same classes. And best of all, you get to spend quality time with your children and get to go to their school functions


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