Online Learning VS traditional learning - Essay Example

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It has generated major theories about how is it successfully accomplished (Garrison and Anderson 2). The assumptions behind more traditional learning theories, are rooted in the premise of objectivism, in that, the world…
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Submitted: Online Learning Versus Traditional Learning Learning is a complicated and multi-dimensional process. It has generated major theories about how is it successfully accomplished (Garrison and Anderson 2). The assumptions behind more traditional learning theories, are rooted in the premise of objectivism, in that, the world is a shared reality, and external to the learner. However, online learning shifts the focus of instruction from the passive transfer of facts to the active application of ideas to new problems (Ertmer and Newby 51) where the learner produces their own unique reality (Jonassen 29). The benefits of online learning over traditional learning center on the fact that online learning allows for more learner independence (Peppler and Solomou 14), flexibility, reduced costs and increased convenience.
While higher education programmes have traditionally been governed by the conventional components of ‘teaching’, recent decades have brought about a re-evaluation of the fundamental premise and function of education (Garrison and Vaughan 4). This has led to a significant shift in focus towards a learner-centred approach where autonomy and the facilitation of independent and lifelong learning has become a primary goal (Somekh 20). As a result of this and prevailing socio-economic factors, distance and online education has become an increasingly popular, accessible and valid form of education (Stacey 288). Though previously serving as an alternative to conventional education, the past decade has seen increasing levels of convergences in distance and conventional education, and it appears to be a natural evolution of educational approaches (Tait and Mills 10). Traditional education cannot allow for such accessibility and convenience on the part of the learner.
The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) in the late 20th century created new and exciting conditions for online courses, such as providing almost unlimited resources for research and information, enabling interactive learning and significantly reducing the cost of tutor-student communications (Leach 41). In fact, these technologies have affected education as a whole, irrespective of the descriptor of ‘distance’ or ‘conventional’ (Somekh 37). These technologies offer much more resources and diverse methods compared to traditional learning environments which take place in a classroom and use usually only printed material.
The financial benefits of online learning are also significant both for learner and institution. It provides cost savings benefits in terms of overheads, printed books and instructional materials and other physical costs involved in face-to-face programmes. Similarly, students save in terms of transport, printed materials and everyday expenses. Online learning provides students with location and time flexibility. This allows instructors to focus on students that need additional help in class and student’s requiring less help to continue working at their own pace with little to no assistance. Many students get bored in school when the class is at a slower pace and many students get frustrated and end up dropping out. Students often have difficulty getting to school on time, and online courses offer the flexibility to work on assignments in the morning, afternoon or evening. Online students also learn to be independent and self-managed (Anderson 3).
The evolution of education towards virtual environments is a natural shift which has become a real and valid possibility due to changes in pedagogical theory and advances in technology which make this possible. Benefits are numerous, including cost saving, learner flexibility, reduced stress for both teachers and students and customizable programmes which can be tailored to individual learners strengths and goals. It also allows for learners to go at their own pace, remain unaffected by peer pressure and focus on their own level and goals rather than having to share the mix of diversity in traditional classrooms. The flexibility and convenience this course offers may also help to encourage potential drop-outs or those unwilling to attend high school to actually enrol, as it offers such appealing factors within the educational sphere. These are things that traditional methods simply cannot realistically offer.
Works Cited
Anderson, T. ‘Teaching in an Online Learning Environment’, in Anderson, T. (ed.) Theory and Practise of Online Learning, 2nd ed., Canada: AU Press, 2008. Web.
Ertmer, P. A. and T. J. Newby. “Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features from an Industrial Design Perspective.” Performance Improvement Quarterly 6.1 (1993): 50-72. Print.
Garrison, D. R., and Anderson, T. E-learning in the 21st Century, London: Routledge Falmer, 2003. Print.
Garrison, R. J., and D. N. Vaughan. Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles and Guidelines. San Francisco: Wiley & Sons, (2008). Print.
Jonassen, D. H. “Evaluating Constructivistic Learning.” Educational Technology, 31.9 (1991): 28-33. Print.
Leach, J.‘Teaching, learning and the digital age’. In: B, Moon et. Al. eds. Teaching, Learning and the Curriculum in Secondary Schools. London: RoutledgeFalmer, (2002). Print.
Peppler, K., and M. Solomou. ‘Building creativity: collaborative learning and creativity in social media environments’, On the Horizon, 19.1 (2011): 13-23. Print.
Somekh, Bridget. Pedagogy and Learning with ICT: Researching the Art of Innovation. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.
Stacey, E. ‘Social Presence Online: Networking Learners at a Distance’, Education and Information Technologies, 7.4 (2002): 287-294. Print.
Tait, Alan and Mills, Roger. The Convergence of Distance and Conventional Education:
Patterns of Flexibility for the Individual Learner. New York: Routledge, 1999. Print. Read More
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