COVID 19 outbreak compelled many industries to go digital and education is one of them. The sudden switch received mixed response from parents and students and also sparked a debate amongst the experts.

Online learning or ‘eLearning’ brings with it convenience, greater flexibility and accessibility and is cost effective. Since learning happens over the internet it can be accessed from anywhere, anytime and at one’s own pace. Assignments are received and submitted online and discussions are held in a forum format.

Traditional Learning needs no introduction. Learning happens face-to-face, exercises are given to be completed at home. Students interact with each other and teachers in person, there is fear of exams and classes have to be attended regularly. This is how it has been doing since ages and is the most expected norm of learning. 

What are the differences between Online Education and Traditional Education 

Social Interaction

In an online class, students interact with each other through a video conferencing platform making it suitable for attending classes from anywhere. This means students may get to interact with students from various regions. The screen sharing feature enables teachers to almost immediately begin with their lesson. In traditional classrooms students engage, hold discussions, clear doubts etc with co-students and teachers face to face.


Flexibility is a major aspect which cannot be ignored in online classes. It is particularly beneficial to students who have family responsibilities or may have other commitments or are inclined to sports etc.  They can take classes in their free time and are not bound to attend at any specific time. Whereas, maximum flexibility a traditional setting can offer is morning and evening classes and that too can become challenging for those who have to travel long distances to attend one. 


Since no infrastructural and other logistical costs are involved in online education, they turn out be more cost effective than traditional education

Methodologies & Facilities of Teaching

Although online classes are being preferred but students find it difficult to take practical classes online since at times it does not provide one-on-one experience as the traditional education system would. In an offline mode the necessary equipment and facilities are available for the students to work on. For certain courses this could be a very important factor. 

Time Management

Online or offline class, both require students to manage their time well to be successful. In the absence of regular class meetings, students taking online classes acquire and learn course materials in their own set time. This is very advantageous to non-traditional students who could be holding a job and have other responsibilities. 


Unlike in a traditional setting where some may be too shy to participate, in an online class, student participation is mandatory whether through chat rooms or message boards. 

Student and Teacher Relationships

Face to face interactions creates a different dynamic between students and teachers. In an online class teachers need to use various forums, chats and online discussion boards to build a bond. 

 Assignments and Tests

Online assignments and tests differ a bit. Generally speaking online tutors grade students through papers, open-book examinations and student’s contributions to online discussions. Online students are self-directed hence the assignments are more practically designed. 

Retention Rate

Retention rate of online students is higher due to more engaging multimedia content, how the material is presented and there is less likelihood of classes clashing with other commitments. 

Discipline & self-motivation

Both the pedagogies require their students to be disciplined to succeed. Since online learning is flexible in many ways, it requires its students to be highly self-motivated. Traditional learning may be more advantageous in this aspect as compared to online learning because with the latter the chances of a student procrastinating is higher. 

Learning Pace

Learning at one’s own pace is possible with online learning. Doubts can be addressed by offering additional information and explanation through ebooks and other online resources. The same can be referred to whenever and as many times as one may desire. One need not depend on the teacher. Online learning helps students to become active learners and take full responsibility for their learning.

To conclude both online and offline learning have their own advantages and disadvantages. One needs to decide for himself as to what works best for them. A student can always attend a traditional school and take online tuitions and make the best of both the worlds!

Source: Edtech review