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Online Learning vs. Classroom Learning: What Are the Pros and Cons?

With classroom learning put on hold during most of 2020, 50% more children had to learn to cope with remote learning pretty fast. 

Parents and students experienced varying success with this aspect. Many opted to continue with distance education when the schools returned. 

So, if you have children who must enter school soon, you might wonder if this is a good option for you. Let’s compare online learning vs classroom learning to help you figure out what’s best for your child.

A Comparison of Online Learning vs Classroom Learning 

Online learning is a type of distance learning carried out via the internet. It doesn’t only apply to academics either. 

Nowadays, you can learn almost anything online thanks to video tutorials and short courses. 

You can earn certain diplomas and degrees online nowadays, too. Some universities even focus exclusively on online learning.

Classroom learning involves taking instruction and doing practical tasks in the presence of a qualified teacher or professor. The lessons occur in a group within a designated room or lecture hall.

Although you can achieve the same results via online learning and classroom learning, each has a few advantages over the other. 

Advantages of Online Learning

Many students struggled with the demands of online learning at first but soon got into their strides. Others couldn’t wait to get back to the classroom.

Despite the challenges of novelty, online learning does have definite advantages:


Online learning is supremely convenient. You can do it anywhere and at any time.

That means you can fit classes in around other activities and events, and you never miss out if the teacher is absent. If you manage your workload effectively, you can end up with many extra daylight hours to enjoy yourself with friends, sports, or hobbies.

If you’re feeling unwell, you can take a day off and catch up on your studies later without missing any important information. 

Cost and Time Savings

Online schools have much lower overheads than brick-and-mortar institutions. So, tuition is often much cheaper.

You also don’t need to waste money on back-to-school supplies that you never use, and you’ll save on travel costs too.

You never have to leave home when you study online, so you don’t waste any time in traffic jams, either.

According to the latest census, the average American spends at least 27 minutes commuting to work every day. Then you’ve got to do it all over again in the afternoon.

That’s almost an hour wasted every day. 

More Variety

Low costs mean that online schools can offer more variety than regular schools. You’ll find a huge variety of courses available online.

Not only will you have a greater choice of subject matter, but you can also choose a course that fits in with your available time and resources.

Fewer Distractions

By setting up a dedicated study area away from daily household activities, you’ll face fewer distractions when studying online. In a conventional classroom, there’s always something detracting from your focus.

This freedom from interruptions means you can complete your studies faster, which gives you more time to complete other tasks or spend on your hobbies and interests.

Safer Health Wise

Right now, the benefits of avoiding social gatherings are obvious. Yet, if you have any friends who’ve recently sent their children to school, you’ll know that the classroom is a melting pot of childhood illnesses waiting to bubble over.

Infectious diseases spread rapidly in the confined environment of the classroom. This causes widespread discomfort and eats into productive time.

Where Does Online Learning Fall Short?

Despite these benefits, online learning does have some limitations. These are:

Lack of Interaction

School and university attendance comprises a lot more than education. They’re also places where lifelong bonds form, and students discover sports, societies, and new interests. 

Online learning is devoid of these interactions which help hone vital social and networking skills. 

Technical Requirements

It’s hard to believe, but not everyone has access to the strong internet signal and hardware necessary for online learning. This makes it unsuited to rural areas or undeveloped areas. 

Practical Applications

There are some things you can never learn online. For instance, you can never learn how to swim, ride a horse, or drive a car online. 

Likewise, some courses require physical presence, like practical science experiments, surgical practicals, or public speaking. 

Benefits of Classroom Learning

In some instances, there’s no substitute for having an experienced teacher to guide you. Classroom learning far outshines online learning when it comes to the practical aspects of learning, like:

Hands-On Attention

Online learning might not work for some types of children. For instance, children who are best suited to starting at a Montessori pre-school, won’t thrive in an online learning environment.

Are you wondering, ‘what is a Montessori preschool?’. It’s a more hands-on approach, that’s best suited to in-person experiences. 

In general, early childhood education is best carried out in a classroom. That’s because this phase of learning needs qualified teachers with specific knowledge of how children develop at this age. 

Distance learning works best for children who’ve already mastered the basics and become independent enough to complete tasks on their own. 

Mentoring Relationships

The classroom environment helps establish relationships between students and their teachers. Educators are better able to gauge a student’s progress in person and give extra attention to those who lag.

It’s also a good place to set up mentoring practices, where educators of more advanced students can form strong bonds with mentees and help encourage them in their interests.

As mentioned, there’s no online substitute for the close friendships formed amongst students while at school. 

Variety of Teaching Methods

Classroom training provides access to a huge range of in-person teaching methods. These include practical, tactile, visual, and auditory components.

Field trips and practical work in the field are invaluable learning tools that don’t exist in the online learning environment. 

Real-Time Responses

When you’re studying online, you’ll need to address questions to your tutor via email or an online portal. You’ll seldom receive an immediate response.

In the classroom setting, you have the teacher’s undivided attention as soon as you raise your hand. You can also learn from other students’ questions and experiences when you’re in the same room as them.

Classroom Learning Flaws

Up until now, traditional learning systems have encountered few criticisms. Now that there’s an alternative, it’s easier to see some glaring shortfall in this way of doing things. 

Physical Risks 

Infectious illnesses are only one of the risks inherent in social gatherings. Other unfortunate incidents can also affect this learning environment.

School shootings are one of them, floods and fires are another. There’s little to no risk of these terrible incidences occurring in the online learning situation.

When it’s snowing heavily outside, schools close and learning’s disrupted. If a classroom’s damaged by fire or flood, lessons go on hold until after the necessary repairs and inspections.

Time Factors

There’s a lot of wasted time involved associated with conventional schooling. Travel time is one of the biggest culprits, but then there’s also recess, walking from classroom to classroom, and time spent waiting for the teacher to arrive.

Unnecessary Interruptions

Classrooms are a hotspot of school politics, gossip, bullying, and pointless debates. As soon as the teacher steps out of the classroom, chaos usually erupts, distracting those students who want to focus on their work.

Often, students side-track teachers with unnecessary comments or bad behavior and disrupt the whole class in the process. 

Children with ADD and learning disabilities might find it impossible to focus in a classroom environment. 


High schools are well-known as a place where cliques form and bullies thrive. These sideshows detract from the learning experience and can cause some students considerable anguish. 

Sometimes students feel distanced from their teachers as authority figures and feel apprehensive about asking questions or voicing their concerns. 

These feelings can impede learning and prevent them from reaching their full potential. What’s more, children who take longer to grasp complex concepts may find themselves left behind and unable to follow the lessons.

Make Educated Decisions

Whether you’re looking to kick-start your childrens’ education or further your own, it’s important to know the intricacies of online learning vs classroom learning.

Understanding which of these pros and cons apply to you can mean the difference between excelling at study or throwing in the towel due to a lack of motivation. 

Would you like some more information on how to make the best decisions when it comes to business, tech, and education? Keep scrolling through our website for more. 

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