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Which is Best? Click & Mortar or Internet Education?

Updated on April 12, 2015

Educational Process Changing!

Fifty years from now there may be fewer institutions delivering higher education. The Internet will have an unintended consequences...  We get to decide!
Fifty years from now there may be fewer institutions delivering higher education. The Internet will have an unintended consequences... We get to decide!

Internet, or Click and Mortar Education?

Click and Mortar VS. Internet Education

What does “Click and Mortar” Mean? This phrase refers to the conventional physical campus and is derived from brick and mortar.

Are both educational processes recognized by employers? What about being nationally accredited and recognized? Yes to both questions! The accreditation process is case by case for all learning institutions.

Which Program is Best?

Simple answer... depends on both the student and the institution. “Best” means many different things to different people.

The term education is used in terms of the context of the knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process.

The author has completed doctorate requirements (except the dissertation – not completed) from an nationally accredited Internet University– Capella University. In addition, he has completed two Masters from Click and mortars universities – Chapman (MAE-Administrative) and University of Phoenix (MBA-With Distinction).

His PhD dissertation was on this topic: “Comparing and Contrasting Click and Mortar and Distance Learning Education.”

Surveys were completed from both populations from the Click and Mortar and Internet students. Longitudinal studies were completed on post-graduation students from both programs.


There are no such thing as “random” polls, or surveys. Seemingly, random activities if observed over long enough times, develop patterns. An example: when one is sitting next to a running stream, droplets of water may strike one coming from the water as it strikes embedded rocks in the stream. Over a period of time a pattern of getting wet will develop.

The population of students taking Internet education self-select themselves. The profile of Internet student tend to be independent, self-starters and more prone not to complete the education process. The dropout rate is higher.

Finally, students define their own “better.”


Notwithstanding the above, the author’s summary was that there is no conclusive data available to determine which educational process is best.

Future Trends in the Educational Process

Student driven universities will succeed. Old established universities must adapt or perish. An example is at Stanford University, an educational experiment has provided a glimpse of the future educational process. Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig decided to let the public take their artificial intelligence course online, for free. 160,000 students signed up. Now the plan is to change higher learning forever. This created their KnowLabs Project.

KnowLabs already has competition from Stanford and MIT. Thrun has created Udacity. His goal is to offer free eight-week classes. This is the first step in developing curriculum and obtaining the needed accreditation and fees must be generated… There is a hiring spree funded by a sizable chunk of money from Charles River Ventures, a VC firm specializing in early stage investments.

The educational process is racing to meeting a exponentially rapid changing process. One must determine their own best method or process to learn.

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    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I would sit for Socrates without complaint. ;)


    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Thanks for outstanding observations! Educational process was better when Socrates was teaching! The Socratic method of teaching is valid and engages the students.. Internet, or Distance Education is evolving...

      The anywhere, anytime concept of education seems to be gaining momentum...

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      I won't even begin ranting on how I feel about most educational institutions. I think I would have far greater respect for them if they'd been implemented with, and maintained integrity in operations and purpose.

      However, I haven't found that to be the case.

      I think like this, nearly everything I've done career-wise, I've had to sit in class for, and honestly, I could have learned it faster and more effectively if I'd learned it in the field.

      And, after completion of the required academics to do what things I've done, that STILL wasn't enough time and money spent to make the government happy, be it state or federal, because once school was over, there were board exams, that had to be paid for, on TOP of the school fees. It wasn't enough to pass all of the classes, I had to take massive tests (for multi-licensure) to make yet ANOTHER passing grade, to be accepted in the field "from a government's legal point of view", and if THAT wasn't enough ... I had to complete internships and then pay out a license reneweal fee every single year ....

      I think for soooo many things, colleges and universities aren't about learning at all. They're about making money.

      Honestly, if I were in need of hiring an engineer, I'd not even bother looking at academic credentials. I'd be looking for experience, and letters of recommendation. Just because someone's got a diploma and a license making them acceptable to practice by whatever government issued the license ... doesn't mean they're good at it. It maybe just means they spent a whole lot of money to make a government happy.


    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Internet learning reflects life: you get out of it what you put in...


    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      7 years ago from California

      Used CAVA virtual academy for my youngest in the eleventh grade. He did crappy. Because he didn't want to be there.

      Believe me what he learned that year will take him a long long way. He knows how internet classes work. They really are the way of the future. You have to participate in an internet class or you don't pass. He learned how to study and he learned it was his own darn fault he did poorly. Yesterday he said to me, "I wish you didn't have to earn wisdom. I would have done so much better in high school if I knew then what I know now". Thus saith the college freshman.

      Thanks so much for bringing this topic to the forefront.

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      As you noted neither process eliminates the other.

      The anytime, anywhere advantage of the Internet is a Plus. The Internet is another tool. When the pencil was invented, it was the focal point of the learning process.

      The newness of the computer tends to focus more on the medium which the computer aids the learning process.

      The computer should be invisible...


    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting hub. I happen to think there is more benefits to in classroom learning. Yet, the internet does doffer some advantages for people who can't get to the university. I always likes sitting in the class and interacting. Years ago correspondence schools existed to get a degree. Distance learning always has, and always will exist. Voted up and interesting.

    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      As you noted, the "good 'ol boy" system worked. I have made friends with various CEO's and other decision-makers via the Internet educational process.

      Each individual has the opportunities to create their networks. Different does not mean less...

      Our behaviors are based upon benefits derived... If we meet another that presents mutual benefits, we mutually establish ties...

      As a Vietnam Veteran, there are bonds created that run deep. However, one can also create bonds without the benefit of sharing killing others... in stressful environments.

      Appreciate your comments.

    • diogenes profile image


      7 years ago from UK and Mexico

      In the UK, top jobs in politics and finance, etc., go to graduates of our top universities. One of the reasons for this is the buddy system, to use a US term. The people you meet in Oxbridge stay friends and business contacts for life and help one another, rather as Freemasons do - or did.

      I doubt if there is any way to duplicate this advantage online. That may be a good thing, of course, and depends on your point of view or your opportunities.


    • dallas93444 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA


      Outstanding observation. Capella has degrees that require person-to-person contact, such as Psychology.

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      7 years ago from South Carolina

      This was a very interesting, well written article that described the pros and cons of both types of education.

      My personal opinion is that the answer depends as much on the subject matter being studied as it does on the characteristics of the individuals taking the course.

      For example, a nursing major could take many online courses but clinical experience and supervision would need to be done on a brick and mortar basis.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.


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