Online VS In-Person

This year students saw the return of in-person tuition. Many have welcomed this step, but there are some who still reminisce about the fact that the online study is over for them (at least for now!). Attending online classes in pajamas is gone into history, and we have to recollect how to interact with mates and tutors face-to-face again (no more excuses such as ‘my camera is not working’ or ‘the connection is poor therefore I need to keep the video off’).

However, the question remains whether one form of learning differs much from another, what are the benefits of one as compared to another, and whether we will see future education in virtual classrooms with AI tutors instead of human instructors (?!! Seems like sci-fi, but the ball has started rolling). Let’s pause for a moment from our daydreaming of futurism and daring forecasts and provide an honest overview of the advantages of each of the two teaching modes and see which has a chance to dominate or survive in the future.

online learning

The pros of online classes:

1. Flexibility

You certainly save time, as it literally takes you seconds to get to your virtual classroom. Moreover, online education allows students to attend classes from any location of their choice – be it any city in the great big world or even a distant planet. (Join us for an online course on AI & Innovation this August, wherever you are!) What is more, online lectures can be recorded and shared for future reference. This allows to access the material at any time, when necessary.

2. Affordability

Another advantage of online learning is on-budget education if you compare it to boarding and even non-residential in-person study. The reason for that is the eliminated cost of boarding and commute. Furthermore, the study materials available online create a paperless learning environment, which is good in terms of saving costs and the environment.

3. Attendance

Since online classes can be easily taken from any location, there’s no excuse to miss a lesson (even if the transport industry is on strike and there is no bus to take you to the college). Well, we have to admit, there are a few chances of students missing out on lessons, like a total blackout in the city or aliens kidnapping students right out of their own rooms.

However, despite these advantages, the scientists still believe that in-person learning is better! Furthermore, many of them are positive that even in 20 years’ time the value of in-person or blended learning experience would be valued more than purely online (powered by AI). Therefore, we may not completely depart from human teachers and human interaction in education settings (at least in the nearest future).

in-person learning

Why is In-Person learning better?

1. Collaborative learning

Basically, a classroom tutorial environment is essential to promote and stimulate collaborative learning. Collaborative learning increases a student’s self-awareness about how other students learn and enables them to learn more easily and effectively, transforming them into keen learners inside and beyond the classroom.

2. Critical thinking

In-person education enhances students’ critical thinking skills, which is essential for A-Level students and further academic paths. Teaching in a classroom allows students to engage in live discussions and debates, where they are forced to use their critical thinking skills to formulate opinions and arguments.

3. Social skills

Inside a classroom, students experience social interactions with peers and establish rapport with their tutors. Helping children develop socially is an important aspect within the realm of their academic education, and teamwork ability will open many doors in all walks of their lives. Let the youngsters improve their social skills from the very beginning of their academic journey!

4. Organisational skills

Classroom teaching helps build and develop organizational skills, beginning with the basics, such as arriving at school/college on time. In a live classroom, students are held accountable for being prepared to do school work, which includes having done their homework the night before, being ready for pop quizzes, turning in assignments by their due date, and being prepared for in-class discussions. In effect, students learn how to organize their time, prioritize their assignments and get their homework done, being the first valuable step into the world of work and business.

5. Stimulation

The physical presence of a teacher keeps students stimulated through interactive and interesting activities. This enables students to retain more from what they have learned during a session.

6. Teaching style

At tutorial colleges, teachers can modify their teaching style based on the types of learners in their classrooms. For instance, classroom activities can help visual learners, interactions can help auditory learners, etc. Teachers can get a clear idea of whether students are following what has been taught or if they require further explanation. At the same time, students can get their doubts clarified immediately before moving ahead with a topic or subject.

7. Personality and career-building skills

In-person teaching inculcates students’ conflict resolving skills, and presentation skills when it comes to presenting their ideas confidently in front of peers develops team spirit, and teaches them to get along with those from different cultural backgrounds. Such experiences are valuable in shaping students’ communication and listening skills, as well as growing and maturing emotionally, developing important personalities, and ramping up their career-building skills.

Considering the abovementioned, we may not completely depart from human teachers and human interaction in education settings (at least in the nearest future). This means that independent colleges, providing bespoke education and blended learning (like Cherwell College Oxford does) will continue to be among those, delivering the best type of education, that helps students gain better academic results! Even if on Mars!