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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?

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.

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.

4 hidden advantages of online learning

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 online 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 53,000 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 follow-ups for each student.


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.

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