By Yacine Houhoud Tamsamani
By Yacine Houhoud Tamsamani
London – In recent years, enormous progress has been made in most aspects of people’s lives; in communication technology, education and so forth, which has contributed to making the way to educate people very different from how it was previously done.
The majority of people desire to use this technology and benefit from these advancements in order to expand their knowledge and acquire new skills. As a result, the way of learning has changed, for students used to study in classrooms by using books and discussing the important issues with their lecturers face-to-face. Now, however, they may not need to go to the university at all. There are some people who earned their degrees and they have never gone to the university or met their instructors. Therefore, this essay aims to compare between e-learning and traditional face-to-face learning by exploring the advantages and disadvantages of these pedagogical learning styles.
To start, e-learning is defined as interactive learning in which students learn through the usage of computers as an educational medium. Students who study online usually gain automatic feedback about their own activities. The focus of e-learning is usually on the learning of content rather than communication between students and instructors. According to Hassenburg, e-learning covers a wide set of applications and processes. These materials include multimedia online activities such as the web, internet videos CD-Rom, TV and radio. Students, therefore, are expected to be able to use these materials to teach themselves (2009: 18-25).
In the recent past, for about twenty years, e-learning has been used in almost every educational institution; including primary and secondary schools as a positive step towards improving performance, and enabling learners to be more efficient and autonomous. Alonso Díaz and Blázquez Entonado state that there has been huge progress in information communication technology which gives big opportunities for learners who have difficulties in attending classes in person (2009: 331-343).
Surely to the separate classroom is different from traditional classrooms in several ways; one obvious difference is the place. According to Broadfield, classroom learning requires a number of students personally to attend. The role of teacher is to teach his students different subjects and different skills. Whereas online learning allows students to learn anything from wherever the learner has access to a network connection, including home, library, job and so on (2004: 550-562).
Another area of difference between e-learning and face-to-face instruction is the time; distance learning provides 24/7 accessibility to course materials. Broadfield (2004: 550-562) states that learners have the ability to choose the most convenient schedule in regards to their free time opposed to the more restrictive demands of attending a physical classroom. The time for classes in traditional classrooms is based on curricula which are usually controlled by government. However, according to Hassenburg (2009: 18-25), “It appears that freedom to choose time and place for learning, which is thought of as the core advantage of distance education, is actually somewhat still limited.”
It is certainly true that the introduction of computers into of the education curriculum has become one of the most significant developments for both students and teachers. For instance, e-learning enables each student to view another student’s answer. It provides 24/7 accessibility for students who have time management problems. In addition, teachers are increasingly encouraged to use new advances in communication technology. However, Dell, Low and Wilker claim that separate classes with self direction, freedom, and autonomy do not guarantee positive gains in instructional objectives due to minimal social interaction and minimal student and teacher expertise with the technology (2010:3042). These particular aspects will then be broken down and discussed by focussing on aspects that are most relevant to the educational context.
This freedom that students take as an advantage has been increasingly questioned in relation to a number of issues, such as decreased socialization of its learner. In other words, distance learning has increased students self-direction and autonomy which means that students need to take more responsibility for their own learning. By comparison, classroom teaching provides students with the opportunity to have real social interaction with one another. That is to say, students can get more direct assistance because there is real time interaction, and students and their instructors speak instead of typing, according to Alonso Díaz and Blázquez Entonado (2009: 331-343). In his article Distance Education Versus the Traditional Classroom, author Hassenburg claimed that there was a certain atmosphere in being physically present and interacting with a human teacher in a set time and place that was crucial to learning (2009:18-25).
Another disadvantage of online learning is that learning online requires from students and teachers to be familiar with the communication technology which they use if they want to make progress and achieve their aims, otherwise they are just wasting time. In comparison, the ICT needs of traditional teaching require just basic skills.
However, the traditional classroom has not all been positive. Many studies have criticized that the amount of students in one classroom may not give a chance to students to participate who are shy about communicating with their teachers in front of peers. Online learning gives these types of students a greater opportunity to communicate by email or chat, far from a physical classroom.
Obviously, it can be seen that both e-learning and the traditional classroom have their own positives as well as negative qualities. Therefore, Alonso Díaz, and Blázquez Entonado report that many studies suggest that the best solution is to combine the two ways of learning, which is known as “blended learning” (2009: 331-343). Moreover, the role of the teacher is important. Hence, if a teacher interacts with the students at computer, the students’ motivation to use it increases and vice versa.
In conclusion, e-learning offers great promise for enhancing the quality of education beside traditional classroom. However, not only separate learning but also face to face learning has advantages as well as downsides. In that case, many researchers believe that the combining two pedagogical methods can be effective ways in improving educational future.
List of References
1- Díaz, A. L., and F. B. Entonado (2009) Are the functions of teachers in e-Learning and face-to-face learning environments really different. Journal of Educational Technology and Society 12: 331-343
2- Dell, C.A.,C.Low and J.F.Wilker (2010) Comparing student achievement in online and face-to-face class formats. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 6: 30-42
3- Hassenburg, A. (2009) Distance education versus the traditional classroom. Berkeley Scientific Journal 13: 18-25
Edited by Benjamin Villanti
Yacine Houhoud Tamsamani is an MA student in philosophy, Arts and Media at Staffordshire University, in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA from Al-Qarawiyyin University, in Fez, Morocco. He is interested in traditional Arabic and Islamic Studies, as well as contemporary Islamic issues (Islam, Muslims, Multiculturalism, Justice, terrorism).
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