ONLINE LEARNING VS TRADITIONAL CLASSROOM LEARNING 11
A brief research on the forms of learning available will result inthe two most important ones which are the online learning usingtechnology and the conventional or traditional classroom learning.Notably, the two forms of learning complement each other and mostpeople prefer the online learning method. While deciding on whichmethod to use for training and development, it is essential toconsider the various advantages and disadvantages of the twoapproaches (Tilton, 2014). Essentially, no one single method isperfect and, therefore, weighing the benefits and shortcomings ofeach approach is important. Additionally, changes in technology andpeople’s schedules of work determine the approach that will beapplied in training and development. Therefore, there are a fewfactors that need to be considered while selecting the method to beused. Some of the factors include reliance, cost, the age of thetrainee, and the availability of space for a classroom. Careermanagement includes training of employees, which is aimed atimproving the skills of the employees and competence. As technologychanges and competition increases, businesses are seeking to enhancethe skills of the employees so that they can cope with the changes(Noe, 2012). Therefore, it is prudent to select the best trainingmethod in order to achieve the best results.
The best method for employee training and development would beonline learning. There are various benefits of enrolling learners inan online learning program. Research has indicated that onlineclasses are both convenient and flexible. Most learners have othercommitments such as work or family matters. Therefore, they willrequire an approach that is convenient for them and that will notinterfere with their other activities. Online learning allows peopleto attend their training and development anytime of the day and inany place. This is due to the fact that online training happensthrough the internet. The learners just require a laptop and internetconnection to access notes and tests or pose questions to thetrainers (Tilton, 2014). Therefore, it is evident that learners canaccess their learning materials anywhere such as in the place of workor while relaxing at home after work. This is a form of convenienceand flexibility that is not provided by the traditional classroommethod of learning.
Secondly, online learning is considered to be cheaper than the othermethod of training. As opposed to the traditional classroom approach,online learning does not require any form of physical classrooms forthe students to assemble. Further, the tuition fees are significantlyreduced since the trainers are not entirely engaged, and they onlydeliver notes and tests through the internet (Pinheiro & Simões,2016). It is also essential to note that the cost of internetservices has reduced significantly over the years as many companiesnow provide the service. In fact, some developed countries such asAustralia provide free internet services to the people. In thetraditional form of training, students are supposed to attendclassrooms, and sometimes this could be miles away. Therefore, theytend to use huge amounts of money on gas. Such costs are eliminatedwhen learners attend classes through the online platform.
The notes provided through the internet platform can be re-read andstored for future reference. This is unlike in the classroom approachwhere students struggle to keep up with the pace of the teacher whiletaking down notes. This is coupled with the fact that online learnerscan communicate and share learning resources easily with their peers(Tilton, 2014). It is essential to note that the online learningmethod has been gaining momentum over the years and the there hasbeen many improvements. A few years ago, video conferencing was notpossible. However, this is one of the best aspects of online learningtoday. Students can interact with their trainers, and fellow studentsask to seek clarifications. Most organizations today are resorting totechnology as a way of easing their processes. Aspects such as videoconferencing are common in many organizations today. Therefore,engaging in online classes ensures that the learners are prepared fortheir careers. There is no doubt that even the traditional classroomapproaches are being modified to incorporate technology. Most of theissues that were associated with online learning and training arebeing addressed.
Training employees using the online platform will definitely ensurethat they are in line with many modern aspects. Since most of thecourses in online courses have been designed in recent years, theyhave largely focused on the areas and skills that are needed in themarket. Research has shown that a learner who graduates from anonline degree course is more marketable than a graduate from thetraditional classroom setting. This is a clear indication that theonline learning method is effective. Online learning is said toenable learners to acquire the necessary technical skills such ascomputer skills. Some of these skills are essential in careerdevelopment (Tilton, 2014). For instance, while sharing files at workor creating an organization`s social media page, the learner willapply the skills acquired during online learning. Students who areused to online studying can easily conduct additional research attheir own free time. Their interaction with technology ensures thatthey are familiar with the online research. This is contrary tolearners in traditional classrooms who have always relied on thephysical libraries for their research. In fact, online research caneasily be narrowed down, unlike physical library research wherelearners have to go through piles of books to find particularinformation.
Online learning has been instrumental in enhancing careeradvancement. This means that learners can continue to work whileattending the online classes at their own free time. They allowpeople not discontinue their jobs to attend classes and vice versa.Further, learners who are working and have families can still takeonline training classes. This implies that they can still attend totheir familial responsibilities and duties. Employers view employeeswho have been learning while training as extremely ambitious andvaluable to the organization. As such, chances for career developmentfor online trainees are high. Oftentimes, consistency in theworkplace is one factor that influences career development as onecontinues to gain skills and knowledge. Online learning does not denyemployees this opportunity to advance their abilities and knowledgehence boost career development (Pinheiro & Simões, 2016).Notably, some staff work from different locations and sometimes evendifferent countries. It would be impossible to assemble such peoplein a classroom setting to train them on career management. The bestway to train them is on an online platform where they can accessmaterial from any location across the globe.
Despite the above advantages of online learning using technology,there are a few disadvantages to the approach. However, it isessential to state that the shortcomings are outweighed by theadvantages and, and therefore, they cannot be considered as enough towarrant an alternative method. There are arguments made by criticsthat the method can only be used by people who can use computers orother devices that can access the internet (Tilton, 2014). However,this argument seems weak since most of the people seeking onlinetraining using technology are young people. Today, almost everybodyknows how to use internet enabled devices such as laptops, desktopcomputers, and tablets. Further, computer skills are essential foremployment and, therefore, many learners will have these skills.
Another shortcoming of online training using technology that ispeddled is that it does not offer an effective interactive platformfor the trainer and the trainees or even among trainees. This isbecause the trainees and the trainers do not meet physically in theclassroom. However, research will indicate that the students in theonline platform can still interact easily through video conference.The online approach does not offer a one-on-one interaction wherestudents can directly ask questions and be answered (Tilton, 2014).However, it is essential to note that the same can be asked in theonline learning platforms. However, the answers may not be answeredimmediately. Besides, it is assumed that online training anddevelopment may adversely affect the performance of employees attheir places of work. Some employees may use office time to attendthe online classes or do assignments. As a result, this may affectthe productivity of employees hence influencing the profitability ofan organization. Notably, this depends on the discipline of theemployee who must know how to balance between his or her job andeducation. Since most of the learners seek an advancement of theircareers, they will hardly abdicate their duties at work.
Even though the traditional learning method is slowly becomingoutdated in the face of the online learning approach, it is importantto state that there a few advantages associated with the approach.Assessment of learners in a classroom environment is said to be moreaccurate than in the online setting. Whereas both sets of approachesoffer their learners with the assignments and tests, the conventionalclassroom trainer or lecturer can monitor the progress of thestudents closely (Tilton, 2014). This is unlike in online learningwhere the students’ assessment is inaccurate. It is hard for thetrainer to assess the learner while undertaking the tests. Further,the trainer can assist the learners during a test. It is essential tonote that within the traditional classroom learning method, otherinstructional approaches can be applied. This includes question andanswer, as well as, class groups. Unfortunately, these instructionalstrategies cannot be effective in online learning approach.
The social interaction in the classroom is believed to be moreformal and useful than the interaction in the online platform.Students can easily engage each other and participate in aspects suchas classroom experiments. This is not possible with the onlinetraining platforms. Even though the online trainees can interact withtheir peers through video conferencing, the face-to-face interactionis said to be hands-on and efficient. However, it is essential tostate that the usefulness of this interaction in the acquisition ofvital employable skills is not known (Pinheiro & Simões, 2016).In fact, oftentimes, the social interactions in the classroom affectthe performance of the learners. Due to this hands-on interaction,the learners can easily ask the trainer any questions they might behaving and expect answers immediately. This is not possible with theonline learning approach.
Some learning programs or courses take one to two years to completefor learners who attend classes on a full-time basis. However, thetraditional classroom approach has since catered for the employees orother people committed who are willing take classes. Some degreeprograms and diplomas take up to four years. This is becauseemployees are allowed to work until the official closing hours, andthen they can attend the evening classes (Boyes, 2013). Some classesare two to three hours long, and they are meant for this group ofpeople. In this regard, the traditional classroom approach isefficient. However, it is clear that it place unnecessary pressure onthe learners who might need to drive for long distances to attend theclasses. Furthermore, since the time of the classes are set, there isa little flexibility. Additionally, some employees might be havinglate night jobs, and this approach does not favor them.
While seeking to train employees for their career development, usingthe traditional classroom approach might be effective when thetrainees are concentrated in the same area of work. For example,organizations where employees work in the same office or theorganization’s offices are nearby this approach can be used(Boyes, 2013). However, some multinational organizations have theiremployees located in different locations across the world. In suchinstances, there is no doubt that training and development cannot bedone through the traditional classroom approach. This is anotherlimitation of the classroom teaching method in career anddevelopment.
With the advent of the internet, conventional classroom learning isincreasingly becoming ineffective. Further, people are gettingextremely busy due to their nature of jobs and family matters. Asthis continues to happen, people who are seeking knowledge and skillsare finding it hard to attend classes at specific times.Additionally, participation in classes on a full-time basis is evenmore challenging (Boyes, 2013). This only leaves the option oflearning through the internet at convenient times. Employees fromdifferent locations can easily be trained on career managementwithout having to assemble in one physical place.
Career management involves steps that are intended to help employeesplan and make the best choices about their career. An effectivecareer management programs should ensure that employees can managetheir finances, balance their work and life, achieve their goals, andhave personal fulfillment (Boyes, 2013). Training employees on theseaspects may call for an approach that will be both efficient andflexible. Notably, the training should not take much of the stafftime, and they should be able to enjoy the training. Having looked atthe two primary approaches of training the employees, it is evidentthat online learning should be an effective way of trainingemployees.
The issues relating to career management such as balancing familyand work can be taught through an online platform. Many organizationshave their employees dispersed in different locations across theworld. Further, career management is a form of training that allstaff requires and, therefore, the content being taught is the samefor all the employees. Notably, employees tend to meet at least onceper year, and they could use this opportunity to ask any questionsthat were not answered during the online class training.
Since many organizations are using technology to operate, it isclear that one of the qualifications for hiring an employee iscomputer skills. Therefore, any form training that uses technologywill be welcome by many managers across organizations (Noe, 2012).This is because it is going to enhance the employees’ technicalskills that can be used in other areas in the workplace. Videoconference is usually done in many organizations. Therefore, mosttrainees will not find it challenging to use the same technology forcareer management training. The more an organization moves towardstechnology, the cheaper the cost of its operations.
Many employees, especially the entry level employees enter theirworkstations with little knowledge on how to manage their careers.Most of them are unable to balance work life and family life whileothers cannot manage their salaries and they tend to depend on loansor advance payments. While an organization may assume that theemployees should manage their own careers, it is clear that trainingis required for the employees (Noe, 2012). It is essential to statethat organizations have many departments and the employees havevaried skills and knowledge. While some may be in the financedepartment and can easily manage their salaries, there are some whoare in the information technology sector and find management of theirwages extremely hard. This is the reason why training on careermanagement is necessary. Career management can direct or guideemployees on the best decisions that they can make regarding theircareers. Achievement of the set goals through the guidance of thetrainers can guarantee an employee a promotion.
In conclusion, both online learning and the traditional classroomsetting form of learning have their advantages and shortcomings.However, a thorough analysis has clearly indicated that the onlinetraining approach using technology would be effective in trainingemployees on career management. The approach does not only offerflexibility and convenience, but it also allows trainees to interactthrough video conferencing with their fellow trainees and thetrainers. Further, the approach is cheaper compared to theconventional classroom approach of training people. Trainees are notexpected to drive for miles to attend classes. Additionally, trainersare not required to look for physical classrooms where they can teachthe learners. The fact that employees might be located in differentgeographical areas necessitates the need for the online learningapproach. Every organization across the world is moving towardstechnologically enabled operations and the skills that the onlineplatform offers are essential for their careers. One major problemwith the approach would be the failure by the trainees to managetheir time efficiently and use time meant for office work to study.The traditional classroom method can also be used, but it hasnumerous limitations. It cannot be used in situations where thetrainees are placed in different locations. Additionally, theapproach ignores the use of technology, it is expensive, and manytrainees cannot afford the luxury of time to attend classes.Therefore, employers, career management trainers, and trainees mustapply technology by opting to learn the various aspects of careermanagement through an online learning system.
Boyes, C. (2013). Career management secrets. London:Collins.
Noe, R. (2012). Employee Training & Development, 6th Edition, NewYork: McGraw Hill.
Pinheiro, M. M., & Simões, D. (2016). Handbook ofResearch on Engaging Digital Natives in HigherEducation Settings. London: IGI Global.
Tilton, J. (2014). The comparison of on-linelearning/distance learning to the traditional classroomenvironment. M.A. Georgian Court University.