The rapid development of information technology has transformed many aspects of our daily lives. One of the areas impacted by this transformation is education. As online education is gaining in popularity and adoption by mainstream institutions, the question of the advantages and shortcomings of this approach is becoming more urgent. While online classes differ from traditional face-to-face ones in terms of flexibility, the amount of social interaction, and the requirements for self-motivation, both online and traditional students are required to manage their time wisely.
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Online classes are based on cutting-edge technology, which offers significant advantages in terms of flexibility. The learning materials are delivered through the Internet, either in the form of pre-recorded information or via scheduled online sessions. The most obvious advantage of this is that the student, requiring only an internet connection to participate, does not need to go to another location. In some instances, this constitutes a critical advantage. For example, individuals in remote locations are often not able to attend a traditional college, in which case an online course offers a definitive solution. In addition, when the information is pre-recorded, it is possible to schedule the class according to the individual needs of a student. In our increasingly dynamic world, this aspect is becoming especially relevant since it provides an opportunity to organize daily routines in a more efficient manner (Haynie). Thus it can be said that online education’s flexibility offers significant time-saving opportunities.
The second aspect that should be addressed is the social interaction involved. Online courses are often perceived as largely lacking in this respect, which is not entirely correct (Page). Many online classes require online discussions, conferences, and team projects. While it is true that in these cases communication occurs in the written form and not in real time, video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular and, in some cases, is encouraged. While this mode of interaction cannot replace live communication, it allows for a more optimal time allocation.
Finally, the factor of self-motivation should be taken into consideration. The effectiveness of online education depends primarily on the ability of the student to organize the process. In many cases, despite reliance on numerous time management techniques, the process remains highly inefficient (Cherif et al.). Thus the dependence on self-motivation can be considered the greatest challenge in terms of time management.
Traditional education is understandably limited in terms of flexibility. While most institutions offer programs that provide a certain amount of flexibility, the result is still relatively restricted. Thus students often schedule their daily lives based on the specifics of the course they are taking. In other words, a traditional learning environment usually necessitates careful planning in order to yield positive results.
An advantage of the traditional model is the availability of social interaction. First, interaction with instructors is known to increase student motivation and establish more reliable communication channels. Second, the presence of peers enables additional learning and development opportunities. While it may be more time consuming, the social component of traditional learning is a definitive advantage.
Finally, the traditional model enables a more responsible, disciplined approach. The structure of learning, as well as the immersion in an academic environment, decreases the chances of missing an important class or task deadline. Even more importantly, it rarely requires relying on self-motivation and thus minimizes the procrastination factor. In other words, the risks of improper time management are minimal.
As can be seen, both models have their advantages and drawbacks, requiring students to manage their time carefully. With this information in hand, they can select the environment that is more consistent with their individual traits. In addition, when students are informed of the potential shortcomings of each model, they can develop an approach to time management that will deliver the best result in each individual case.
Cherif, Abour H., et al. “Why Do Students Fail? Faculty’s Perspective.” Higher Learning Commission, 2014, Web.
Haynie, Devon. “Assessing the Flexibility of Online Learning.” U.S.News, 2013, Web.
Page, Libby. “Can Virtual Classrooms Beat Face-to-Face Interaction?” The Guardian, 2013, Web.