Headlines / Society and Politics

Between online education and face-to-face learning

Nicole Ambas  |  Staff Writer


Face-to-face interaction has always been the main foundation of good teaching through the years, but as technology fills every part of human lives, and children tend to lean on technology to help them find the answers to simple everyday questions.  Some parents and educators worry that the brains of many children might have become too much dependent on technology.
As a solution, educators finds a way to turn the younger generation’s yearning for innovation as an advantage, by introducing E-learning or online education.  Many may question the effects of online learning to students, whether it will help them to have a better career or if it will help them gain more knowledge.
But some would rather argue on which is better, on which is more preferable, and who will be more successful between online learners and traditional students.
Capitalizing on technology

GOING DIGITAL | The Philippines now has a booming usage rate of online education. (Photo from Forbes.com)

Online learning is a convenient method for working students, student moms, and for those who do not have time to go back to school because of particular reasons.  It can provide a flexible learning environment from any location, as long as you have a reliable internet connection.  With a proper time management, one can easily plan the learning sessions to fit into a busy schedule.
Another key advantage of online education is that people can attend the online classes from the comfort of their home or any location that one may find comfortable.  In general, it gives the student the freedom to be educated at his or her own convenience.
Many universities here in the Philippines are now offering online courses.  Major universities such as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines has offered non-degree courses since the 1970s and degree courses since 1990, though not necessarily online.   University of the Philippines and De LaSalle University are just some of the schools that offer online courses today.
One of the leading online course providers here in the Philippines is Alison. According to their statistics, 140,531 Learners have been educated, 1,886,329 sessions were completed, and 750 courses were studied, making the Philippines rank ninth on the list of countries with the most active Alison learners.
Disadvantages and problems
But one thing that online learning lacks is human interaction and communication — which face-to-face obviously education provides.  The need for this is only set to increase with more people spending so much time isolated, working on their computers with little contact with other people.
Individuals not only learn better from other people, but studies say that they retain information much better when they have an emotional reaction to it.  That’s why great teachers are so highly valued because they are skilled at delivering information in a way that excites, inspires, motivates, and engages their students.
Unlimited learning opportunities are available to us in the form of E-learning.  Why chose the traditional classroom sessions delivered by every school and university when it is time consuming, obsolete and a costly method of teaching?
It is important to understand that every method of learning has its own merits and use.  For the right people at the right time, any type of learning intervention is likely to produce results.  However, in this ever increasing online web, there seems to be a need for real interaction.  Classroom sessions provide this in the form of a real person who can deliver information in an interesting way.
A teacher is a subject expert who can answer concerns and questions right away and, as a specialist, can share the benefit of their years of experience.  Not that online instructors cannot do it, but as said earlier, it lacks an emotional attachment.  Face-to-face learning is still an important element of any effective education program. Combined with the many other teaching methods available today, they make a huge contribution to the improvement of performance and productivity.
At the end of the day, it still depends on the learning ability of a person.  People can gain knowledge on both sides.  Technology is universal and will certainly play a big role in the future, but it should always be noted that it was never just about the gadgets.
Human beings must remember that the foundation of good teaching in the past, will be the foundation of future educational systems.

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