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Statistics from the education sector have suggested that approximately twenty million of college students are acquiring their various degrees online, a phenomenon vastly referred to as distance learning.
The e-learning curriculum has been mentioned to be the most appropriate technique. In addition, it has assisted colleges increase their enrollment to thousands of students given the reduced pressure on the resources. According to several researches carried out, the large number of college students being enrolled through the online procedure is accredited to less stress experienced by the scholars.
The distance learners have been perceived to be enjoying a suitable environment of learning as opposed to the traditional classroom learners who experience high levels of stress. This stress has been explained by the investigations to have emerged from extreme burdens and pressure which have been noticed to lead to poor environments for their learning activities.
Major findings supported Aragon, Ballenger and Blair’s replica of the behavioral characteristics (shyness) and disabilities (deafness) as possible factors that can impart stress to a college student attending traditional classroom lessons. There are higher dispositional, situational, and institutional encumbers that can impart a lot of stress and creating a poor environment for learning to a scholar undertaking traditional classroom studies.
The different techniques of educational designs for students in learning institutions have led to the development of a gap between those enrolled through online criteria and those enrolled through the students’ physical presence within the classroom. With regard to this, several indifferences have emerged concerning the best learning environment either for the traditional classroom learners or their distance learning counterparts.
This discussion emphasizes on the stress levels among the students. This paper will support the fact that college students attending traditional learning environments have significantly higher stress levels as compared to students in distance learning environments.
According to Peterson (2001) college students undertaking e-learning as compared to those of traditional learning have fewer costs of movement which provides a good environment for learning. Basing on this writers perception, these students need only computers as well as connections to the internet to settle down and read.
However, commuting costs are greatly reduced. He further adds that these students do not have to move all over the country before attending a college but can attend a college virtually anywhere. The writer claims that the environment of traditional learners is full of stress with several queries on how they will get the traveling costs from here to there attending to lectures.
In Lynch (2002), traditional learners face increased stress levels as in storage of their important information. They have to incur amplified printing costs. This is opposed to electronic learners who don’t necessarily need to print out materials as their information can be read and stored in the computer.
To these learners, the whole syllabus on the course, instructions plus all other learning materials contained in course management system are retrieved online. In addition to this, printing is optional. Kiefer (2007) backs up the idea by stating that in submission of the homework plus other tasks, traditional learners have to move and present them in form of hard copies. However, e-learners can submit the tasks via email.
Furthermore, assignment files can be uploaded. Assignments are read and graded by the tutors online and comments left through email. Basing on this writers perception, the minimal of paper trailing for the distance learners creates the best environment for their learning thus less stress.
In Peterson (2001), the traditional learners are never able to access some other online materials such as textbooks to improve on their knowledge. This proves a very poor environment for them. The writer unfolds the presence of textbooks online which can be read by e-learners and thus improve on their proficiency about the subject.
He explains on the several offers given by many publishers as well as permissions granted for ordering specific chapters that are needed for any course. With regard to this, the costs of textbooks are cut making electronically read books cheaper than traditional texts. This can lessen further the costs of printing as only required pages can be printed rather than the whole textbook. This creates a proper environment for e-learners to gain knowledge.
Kibby (2007) states, “…as in the traditional onsite classroom, online instructors’ underlying learning theories and pedagogical goals may vary, but the better the fit between the instructors’ theoretical foundation, pedagogical goals, and available technologies, the more easily attainable pedagogical goals will be” (p. 54). He goes further to give some key contemplations concerning traditional learning among college students.
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Courses of e-learners should not be duplicate materials of traditional classroom courses but possess their motivational and beneficial rights. Courses for e-learners should incorporate similar objectives to traditional learners and necessitate students to apply their intelligence and express their proficiency through satisfactory appraisal prospects. For objectives to be attained by distance learners, tutors should adjust their curriculum such that they are not restricted by the technology.
However, the increased use and demand for online courses has been found to be as a result of some benefits in the US (Kiefer, 2007). Basing on numerous surveys, the major motive as to why college students look out for online courses that necessitate distance learning is to accommodate their programs/time assurance (Kibby, 2007). Some other connected motives to prefer distance learning to traditional classroom learning are to circumvent commuting and for the absence of local educational programs (Sooner, 1999).
In addition to this, Gagne and Shepherd (2001) back up the perception of advantages of escalating the accessibility by suggesting that learners who are obliged to perform poorly in or those who would be incapable of attending traditional classroom learning have higher chances of flourishing in the online version of a similar course for distant learners thus less stress.
According to a review conducted by Clark (2001), vast online composition tutors believe that their courses offer college scholars with augmented opportunities to work in partnership with and join a society of writers, which the surrounding smoothens the progress of learners giving positive outcomes in peer-appraise groups and permits the development of modified education strategies premeditated to concentrate on individual apprentice strengths and weaknesses, and that it attains these aspirations more sufficiently than the traditional classroom.
In adjunction to these outcomes, Blair and Hoy (2006) also allude to research that propose the rudiments of online experience where there is the allowance of a reserved number of students to be heard and there is liberation of the cases of races and which in most cases have been known to alienate some other scholars.
The writers went further and advanced their concept by stating basing on the assumption that the courses are set up appropriately, the online classroom permits scholars who grow and advance in their studies while they are frustrated with the activities and dialogues that they perform with their fellow students that give them the chances to accomplish home works as well as course works at a faster pace than it is needed and synchronize the customized schedules and endeavors through the direct interactions with the tutor, while the other scholars persist to effectively get pleasure from the joint fundamentals of the course.
Despite the many significant achievements from distant learning that have been put forth, numerous of the respondents from the survey in (Kiefer, 2007) emphasize on the growth of staffing and curriculum, the duty of learning shifting on a larger note to the scholars, there is a high increase in technologically based knowledge among scholars, other media kinds of writing are included in the learning curriculum, college scholars in remote areas also have direct access to education, the established relationships among online college scholars are better off as contrasted traditional based classroom learners, high and increased diversity among the students, there is high anticipation expected from the production among the students by the tutors, most learning sessions emphasize greatly on illustration features of writing and lastly the courses done by distant learners have a positive consequence on the wellbeing of the students.
According to this writer, the benefits accrued by distant learners as opposed to traditional classroom learners are direct proves of a positive and rather good environment for these learners.
On totting up to the augmented motivation for college scholars to build up their knowledge on computers, Kibby (2007) argues that the credibility of the programs of writing is capable of receiving the relevant recognition.
This improves effectiveness because it assists scholars to be able to have some technological based knowledge that greatly facilitate their success in the prospect courses in college as well as careers. It also helps the scholars to be recognizable with the diverse styles of learning. This can enable scholars to work in a stress-free environment.
According to the research cited by Blair and Hoy (2006), it’s suggested that an amalgamation of writing courses given to distance learners are all suitable for constructivist pedagogies with its main objective being to get scholars to inscribe for a perfectly genuine audience.
The main common objective amongst composition tutors was mainly to drive their scholars establish their interest in considering the desires of their audience, and meeting the desires of the audience necessitates the stipulation of context, the employment of clarity and rational language, and employment of rhetorical ideologies.
Its therefore possible to be disputed that distance learners in online classrooms necessitates college scholars to practice with the help of these fundamentals in their inscription more than the scholars in traditional classrooms would.
Besides, having the best skills of writing with the core intention of meeting the necessities of and to converse perfectly with an explicit audience is datable among the most precious proficiency that our college learners could have some knowledge about.
In a direct and open room where the lectures are performed, the tutors have the comfort of adding up addendums on their own vocabulary and terminologies, rephrasing, considering the response of the audience to the scholars communication, and acclimatizing instructions or elucidations based on the oral and non verbal cues revealed by the audience.
Conversely, the written utterance that is published then sent is difficult to take back and edit. Consequently, the scholars usually encounter the greatest penalty of avoiding writing in a rhetorically resonance way.
Another problem that faces the traditional classroom learners that is not experienced by distance learners is that the dialogue written on paper relating on the activities within the class as well as discussions is endlessly accessible (Blair & Hoy, 2006).
In addition to this, Gagne and Shepherd, (2001) explicitly expose how an appraisal among peers that is conducted by means of synchronous conversations gives an opportunity for scholars to take charge and benefit to the maximum from the rapid brainstorming chats and give comments whereas keeping in mind the asynchronous alternative of assessing the archived interactions afterwards.
On totting up, it has been noticed that there is a lot of appreciation among college scholars undertaking e learning as well as their tutors towards what the merits that have been achieved from the educational curriculum that has allowed the electronic sharing of data amongst them.
Basing on Ballenger’s (2008) perspective many scholars showed a lot of appreciation because they had most of their time spend in reflection to their personal responses, which gave them an opportunity in articulation of their thoughts in an accurate manner. The activity of distance learning has posed greater insinuations for satisfying the requirements of the audience.
Through the activity, a comfortable environment is created for the college scholars who have naturally developed to be shy and furthermore those who have been uncomfortable with giving answers to a series of questions in a face to face communication. However, some authors may come up and disagree with the perception claiming that the answering of questions for distance learners could possibly limit their chances of developing and improving on their interpersonal communication proficiency.
Lynch (2002) backs up the perception by stating according to his research that the interaction among the distance college learners makes it possible for discussions that allow for a large number of participants with different kinds of comments as compared to the traditional classroom face to face interaction.
A good environment is created in online student discussions. She goes further and cites one more advantage that the online electronic conversation gives an allowance on the response from numerous students simultaneously at the same time. This is opposed to the live traditional classroom discussions where by the responses must be received in turns; one finishes his comment before the next does.
She adds up that the online discussions through the electronic devices foster a lively conversation leading to creation of strong interpersonal relationships among the scholars than the face to face traditional discussions. She sums up by saying that all the aspects that are dealt with by distance learners are in procession with the constructivist pedagogy.
Aragon (2003) explains in his research the merits that are achieved by distance learners that make them have an upper hand in comparison to the traditional classroom learners. One of merits is that there are augmented chances in development of important reading habits.
This is because students achieve their set objectives if they first understand the prospect requirements of the assignment. Basing on this fact, college students from traditional classrooms experience or rather face severe stress due to their reliance on the teachers’ reminders on due dates, the homework assignments expectations and the assessment of the course readings. They thus develop the dependency on the tutor as a habit.
The online scholars on the other hand are maintained at a state where they develop personal responsibility and cautious reading of the course requirements in order to ensure that they are at par with the rest. In addition to this, the arrangement may smooth the progress of different learning techniques which are designed and appropriate text-based learning more than the oral and visual instructions.
Besides, the benefits of online classes to the scholars, it also has some demerits. In spite of the benefits developed from the online exchange of data, Clark (2001) argues out that “contributions to synchronous chats are slowed by technology, resulting conversations tend to appear differently than they would in face-to-face environments” (p. 20).
Sooner (1999) suggests in his research that some courses are appropriate for distance learning while others strictly call for traditional learning design. He further argues out that there is need for an interaction between scholars and their instructors. This is a prerequisite for the development and improvement of their interpersonal communication skills.
It can be concluded that the distance learning environments have fewer stress levels than the traditional classroom environment. This can be noticed from vast merits that the online college scholars have that outweigh those of traditional classroom college learners.
Secondary sources were employed in collection of assessed data from past research materials of various researchers. These were research accounts that used primary data in solving of problems of research that were intended to determine whether learners within traditional classroom environment face more stress as compared to the environment of their fellow counterparts who are distance learners.
Since there are several investigations that have been carried out on a similar topic, this paper engaged on identifying the various perceptions and analysis and comparing them. This was for the purpose of providing a wide base of literary appraisal on the same topic to emerge with a sound and reasonable implication free from bias. This provided a variety of critical perceptions and elucidations that exist concerning the topic. This further helps the reader to further understand some information that he had not known about the topic.
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Clark, J. (2001). Stimulating collaboration and discussion in online learning environments. Internet and Higher Education, 4, 119-124.
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