In addition to choosing a school program, many students now have to make a distinctly 21st-century choice: whether to take classes in person or online. The continual evolution of technology enables a growing number of students to use on the Internet to take classes instead of the attending class in a traditional classroom setting. While distance learning is an ideal solution for certain types of students, others are better off sticking with the old-fashioned academic format. For those debating whether classroom learning is a good fit or not, consider the various advantages and disadvantages before coming to a conclusion.
Advantage: More Interaction
A classroom environment offers students the opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with their peers and instructors. This is an added social benefit as well as an educational aid. Because students see the same peers in class every session, they get a chance to form friendships. In the case of higher learning, pupils can find potential lifelong professional connections. On the educational side, students get a chance to participate in a lecture or class discussion physically. If students don't understand something, they can always ask the instructor for clarification is always an option.
Disadvantage: No Flexibility
A campus-based learning experience means the class schedule is predetermined and not subject to change. Students must shape their personal schedules around school instead of the other way around. If plans unexpectedly change or an emergency comes up, the student cannot adjust the class schedule to turn in the work at a different time. If a scheduling conflict arises between work and school, students are forced to choose between getting an education and getting a paycheck.
Advantage: Traditional Experience
In some cases, the classroom environment is the only style of education the students know, and therefore the situation that they are most comfortable learning in. In the classroom, students get the opportunity for hands-on, structured learning instead of being presented with the course books, written lectures and self-directed activities distance learning provides. Many students rely on this structure to support their learning, and changing to an online learning experience might make it challenging for them to retain material.
Disadvantage: Travel Considerations
With classroom learning, students must physically attend the courses to get credit for attendance. Those who must travel long distances to get to school must allot enough time to arrive on time, particularly in instances in which inclement weather is involved. A long commute may also mean a spending more money on gas over a long period of time which, when combined with the cost of education, may present an issue to financially challenged students.
Spencer Hendricks has written for various well-regarded blogs. His work has appeared in the "Kickapoo Prairie News" and online at sprayahen.com and Spencer Vs. The Food Industry. He is currently in the process of obtaining a degree in Web development.