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Is online learning as good as face to face learning?

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Despite our ever-continuing transition into an increasingly online world, the realm of online education seems to have historically trailed behind. Traditional university systems have shied away from distance learning and online study in favor of traditional, live lessons, touting original education systems as the best and singular option.

However, the learning demand from increasingly non-traditional student profiles has begun to turn the tides on this anachronistic mentality. New models have begun to take space in the realm of continued education, and the benefits of online learning versus traditional learning are becoming ever more evident. Is online learning as good as face to face learning?

What is online learning vs face-to-face learning

  • Online learning can be any type of learning that takes place over the internet. This could be a supplemental course, a full degree program, or self-study: MOOCS, diploma, certificates, degree programmes…
  • Face-to-face learning is the more traditional way of instruction, where students and teachers attend an in-person session at the same time. The instructor leads the class, and usually, students are passively learning.

Pursuing education during a pandemic

The global pandemic we are living in today has forced virtually everyone to re-evaluate some of the core principles of their daily lives. Career paths have been halted, family plans brought to a standstill, and degree programmes thrown into the online space as they try to adapt to a world without regular face-to-face human interaction.

COVID-19 has brought online programmes to the forefront of the education sphere, as millions of people around the globe are forced to stay home. A range of diverse profiles who may not otherwise be able to afford the commitment to advanced education find themselves with additional time, either having lost their current positions or being relegated to remote working. Many are now seeking career progression, a path change, and/or entrepreneurship opportunities which they now have the ability to pursue.

Students who might otherwise have chosen traditional education programmes now find themselves with potential reduced income availability and fears or anxieties regarding their health. Online coursework provides these students with the ability to pursue further qualifications in the current environment without putting their physical or financial health at risk.  

The advantages of online learning vs face to face learning

Although distance learning has existed for quite some time, online education is a relatively new model. The presence of disreputable and uncertified diploma mills has fueled the scepticism surrounding online degrees. 

Yet, there are countless top-notch online education programmes available in today’s market from around the world. In fact, the superior flexibility and access that online programmes offer have continued to create growth in the sector. 

There are a number of explicit advantages to pursuing an online education:

  • Increased flexibility: Students with prior commitments, ongoing career paths or family responsibilities are able to access courses on their own time.
  • Familiarisation with online tools: Online students are exposed to and become proficient in the online tools which companies are embracing in a post-pandemic working environment.
  • Broader networking opportunities: Contrary to popular belief, online programmes (particularly those with an international focus) actually provide ample opportunity for network-building, as the course is not only limited to those who are able to live in the school’s vicinity.
  • Improved economic access: Students who might not be able to afford the cost of living in certain cities, or who otherwise would not be able to financially commit to a full-time in-person course, are still able to attend a recognised, elite business school.

10 advantages of e-learning for diploma courses

5 reasons why online learning is more effective

Is online learning as good as face-to-face learning? The answer is yes and it may be even better!

  • Possibility to learn more: Online courses allow students more control over what they are learning. Which means, they can work quickly through areas they understand and spend more time on areas they do not.
  • Higher retention rates: Many studies have shown that online learning increases access and completion rate courses when physical limitations are removed.
  • Lower time investment: Obviously, online learning eliminates commuting.
  • Frequent Assessments Reduce Distractions: Usually online courses make use of more frequent mini quizzes which can keep students on track.
  • Tracking Learning Patterns: Online learning helps educators and instructional designers track learning through analytical tools. They see what really works and what doesn’t, and use that information to inform future curriculum and instruction design.

Ensuring quality in online learning

With innumerous online courses to choose from, it is essential to thoroughly check the quality of the programme you’re attending. One’s first instinct is to assume that a prestigious university would have high-quality courses regardless of whether they are held online or in person. 

This assumption, however, may be incorrect. Many live courses were forced to move online when COVID first broke out, causing universities to hastily set up online video lessons and move coursework and exams in an all-digital format. This choice, born out of necessity, often doesn’t provide the optimum learning environment for its students. 

Innovation in online learning

Programmes designed for online instruction, on the other hand, present a holistic and complete course for their students. They optimise the student’s study time and provide interactive, dynamic lesson plans. EDHEC’s courses are designed with integrated, structured consultation time with industry-renowned professors from around the world. A top European business school with a global alumni network of over 40,000 business professionals, we offer ample opportunities for online students to interact with each other to collaborate on various projects. 

The asynchronous coursework provides maximum flexibility for any type of student profile, without sacrificing quality. Students can log on when they choose to follow lessons and finish assignments. EDHEC has developed a proprietary intuitive learning platform which includes videos, quizzes, instructional activities, and exchanges. 

EDHEC finds the optimal balance between flexibility and consistency, with personalized weekly follow-ups for each student by the Success Management Team.

The bottom line

Both necessity and ingenuity have inspired the plethora of online programmes available in today’s socially distanced learning. Modern technological advancements have incorporated the most appealing elements of in-person learning while maintaining the flexibility and accessibility of online instruction. For those ready to take the plunge into furthering their professional careers, check out EDHEC’s multiple top-ranked online courses.