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Is online learning as effective as traditional on-campus lea

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Sarah Nunemaker

on 20 November 2014

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Transcript of Is online learning as effective as traditional on-campus lea

Interpersonal Communication
As technology is increasing and times are changing, online learning has become very popular. However, many students still prefer the traditional in-person learning in an educational institution. A main issue with online learning is the lack of interpersonal communication (
The Main Disadvantages
, 2009). Making relationships and being able to communicate in a classroom or social setting is a very important quality to have in life. Although public speaking is disliked by the majority of students, it is a crucial step in gaining verbal communication skills and can further an individual in their future career (
The Main Disadvantages
, 2009).

Moreover, when a student is having a difficult time understanding class work, it is most likely that there are other students with the same issue (
The Main Disadvantages
, 2009). It is important to be able to communicate with other students to get help and to realize that you are not the only one with questions. Students can also get guidance from their professors and are able to build a relationship with them in an on-campus course. Students are not able to make real face-to-face relationships with their classmates and professors in an online course (
The Main Disadvantages
, 2009).
Laptops as Learning Tools

Online learning of course requires either a laptop, desktop PC, or some type of mobile hand-held device. This medium is not preferred by many students — especially those resistant to change — as reported by an study done on a group of students taking an online Chemistry course and interviewed on their experience (Jordan, 2013). Using a pen and paper as the primary learning tool is what most people are used to in school. Reading a PDF version of a textbook is more cumbersome than being able to turn real pages of a textbook. Among the responses, students reported, “I prefer to learn chemistry through hands on experience”, “I usually like to make written notes and use pen and paper to physically do problems before a test to study”, and “using my laptop to learn chemistry gave me some distractions” (Jordan, 2013, p. 162).
Distance & Flexibility
This new way of delivering information — taking the conventional face-to-face classroom and making it available online — has allowed students to connect themselves to the teacher and the other classmates, even if they are cities or countries far away.

Mapuya and Loveness (2009) discuss how online learning makes it available to people who do not live near a learning institution. Institutions can now offer programs not just to people within their vicinity, but also nationally or internationally. “eLearning environments loosen the time and space restrictions associated with traditional university practices” (Mapuya & Loveness, 2009, p. 225). It can be costly to move to gain one’s education, so an online class may be a way to reach out to people who struggle financially. Online classes increase access for people with many issues attending on-campus. People who are caregivers and may not be able to attend on-campus have doors opened to them. People who work full time jobs are now able to take classes asynchronously at a time convenient to them. People with physical disabilities may find it easier to attend online classes (Mapuya & Loveness, 2009).

In short, no physical classroom or set lecture time means the student can study and do assignments anytime and anywhere. New parents and people with full-time careers especially benefit from this.
Enhanced Communication
Mapuya and Loveness (2009) state that communication can be enhanced in online learning. Technologies such as Skype, FaceTime and a plethora of other online technologies allow people to communicate via video in a way that simulates an on-campus environment. Off-campus students may even Skype to attend on-campus classes. Online chatting can enhance communication with or without video. Even texting is a way students and facilitators can communicate in an online class. The actual online class may have built in media to enhance communication.
Those resistant to change will have doubts about online courses, but early adapters and the younger tech-savvy generation will flourish in this new learning environment.

Students that tend to procrastinate may actually benefit from an online course. Courses can be built in with online calendars with reminder pop-ups and bells. Consistent deadlines in an online class also make it easier to have less procrastination. If discussions are due the same time every week, the student may find it easier to schedule them in. Course facilitators can send out reminder emails or announcements of upcoming deadlines. Collaboration with other students is another way to combat procrastination (Pychyl, 2011). Students may be less likely to let someone else down than if the assignment is one they must complete on their own. Student discussion boards are a good way to get students involved in what others are saying (Pychyl, 2011).

Although socially extroverted students can feel lonely from distance learning, online software programs have chat, video conferencing, etc. that make it as close as possible to real interaction.
Whether you flourish or struggle with an online course depends on what kind of student you are.
When deciding if an online course is right for you, examine your strengths and flaws and be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you are easily distracted and tend to procrastinate, or if you exhibit self-discipline and self-motivation.
Realize that technology is continually evolving and online learning courses are a way of the future.
Is Online Learning as Effective as Traditional On-Campus Learning?
BUS 250-397
November 19, 2014
Keith Diduch | Tara Fournier | Sarah Nunemaker | Sarah Savage | Jiawen Yin
The act of learning is essential for mankind to develop particular skill sets, and to acquire knowledge about specific topics. The method of delivery to facilitate learning has evolved over the centuries. From the industrial era, learning began to be facilitated in a formal school setting with face-to-face courses. A teacher was placed at the front of a classroom to lecture pupils sitting in rows of desks. This format has been around for over a century and still exists in our grade schools and post-secondary institutions. However, since the beginning of the 21st century, technology continues to evolve and the Internet has been able to connect people from around the world. Through the use of computers, the delivery of information has transformed how we communicate, how we conduct business, and how we access information.
Deepened Insight to Discussions
Online courses provide a platform for students to express opinions without the nerves of speaking in front of a large class size. Compared to face-to-face communication, online classes have an anonymity factor that make students feel much more comfortable talking openly through emails or other online chatting tools (Serlin, 2005).

In traditional class settings, students are limited to just their memory for discussion insight, whereas an online course gives the student days to research and formulate responses to online discussions (Serlin, 2005). Although students can ask and answer questions more directly in traditional class, the opportunity of communicating is limited by class time.
Works Cited
1. Bradford, S.B., & Federman, J. E. (2013). e-Learning in post secondary education.
Future of Children
, 23(1), 165-185. Retrieved from: http://

2. Brown, A.R., & Voltz, B.D. (2005). Elements of effective e-Learning design.
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance
, 6(1), 1-8. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/fulltext/EJ846619.pdf

3. Falloon, G. (2011). "Exploring the Virtual Classroom: What Students Need to Know (and Teachers Should Consider)."
MERLOT Journal of
Online Learning and Teaching
7(4). Retrieved from: http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no4/falloon_1211.htm

4. Jordan, C. (2013). "Comparison of International Baccalaureate (IB) Chemistry Students' Preferred Vs Actual Experience with a Constructivist
Style of Learning in a Moodle e-Learning Environment."
International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies
2(2), 155-167. Retrieved from: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/20468251311323397

5. Liu, S., Gomez, J., Khan, B. & Yen, C.J. (2007). Toward a Learner-Oriented Community College Online Course Dropout Framework.
International Journal on E-Learning
, 6(4), 519-542. Retrieved from: http://www.editlib.org/p/21789/

6. Mapuva, J., & Loveness, M. (2009). Conquering the barriers to learning in higher education through e-Learning.
International Journal of
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
, 21(2), 221-227. Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/fulltext/EJ899308.pdf

7. Pychyl, T. A. (2011). Procrastination and performance in online learning.
Psychology Today
. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/

8. Schroeder, B. & Tutty, J. (2008). "Using Adobe Acrobat Connect to promote online community 10.1."
Learning Technology Newsletter,
Retrieved from http://www.ieeetclt.org/issues/january2008/lt_january2008.pdf

9. Serlin, R. (2005). "The Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Courses Based on Experiences in Teaching Net Delivered INDV 102: Money,
Consumers, and Family; Summer I 2005."
University of Arizona
. Retrieved from: http://www.gened.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/AdvantagesDisadvantagesOnlineCourses.pdf

10. Starr-Glass, D. (2011). "Military Learners: Experience in the Design and Management of Online Learning Environments."
MERLOT Journal of
Online Learning and Teaching
7(1). Retrieved from: http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no1/starr-glass_0311.htm

11. "The Main Disadvantages of Internet Learning."
Online Education (2009)
. Retrieved from http://www.bgiedu.net/the-main-disadvantages-of-

Software technology has tried to mimic the interaction between the student, the classmates, and most importantly the teacher that is experienced in the conventional face-to-face classroom. Web-based software platforms, like Adobe Acrobat Connect, support the online learning environment by providing a functional course layout, ease of communication between the classmates and the teacher, and access to course material like multimedia and document files (Schroeder & Tutty, 2008).

Acrobat Connect has a feature called Acrobat Connect Meeting, where instructors can host live meetings to present PowerPoint presentations. There is a web conferencing call option to further explain difficult concepts if students raise their virtual hand (Schroeder & Tutty, 2008). Students have the option to interact with others using the live talk feature or instant messaging. These community-like environments make students feel less isolated and more a part of the team.
Software Platforms
Immediate Feedback
Bradford and Federman (2013) remind us that online communication can be improved by immediacy. Online learning materials can provide some degree of automation. Consider a multiple-choice exam. In an on-campus environment, the bubble sheets are manually reviewed to ensure the identification fields have been filled out. They are then run through a scanning machine to tabulate the grade, which may take a few days. If the same multiple-choice exam was offered online, the student could have their grade before they even leave the classroom. Bradford and Federman (2013) also state that eLearning can provide feedback in a variety of ways, which can increase communication.
Using multimedia such as text, images, video and sound increases interactivity (Bradford, Federman, 2013; Brown & Voltz, 2005). Students can interact with their media by learning through vignettes, games, simulations, and other various interactive tools found in online classes. Online courses can encourage students to interact with the course materials, rather than sitting in a classroom, passively learning. Facilitators can track student completion and know if students are completing the assigned tasks, and can then encourage interaction. These are just a few ways in which eLearning may require some students to be more interactive than in a traditional on-campus environment (Bradford & Federman, 2013). Bradford & Federman (2013) state that the more interaction the student encounters, the better the student does.
Online learning can enhance the learning experience (Mapuya & Loveness, 2009). Virtual lectures and bulletin boards help improve students’ grades (Mapuya & Loveness, 2009). Bradford and Federman (2013) state that eLearning can lead to better outcomes by creating an experience difficult to create in a traditional medium.

Bradford & Federman (2013) found that online classes are 6% more effective at students learning facts and principles over the traditional classroom. This is achieved in a variety of ways:
Online content is richer than text. It can support pictures, videos, games, and other learning resources.
Simulation can immerse the student into the subject material greater than a traditional lecture.
Scenarios, activities, feedback, and delivery style can all help students improve their grades.
Students generally find it easier to learn when they are "experiencing" content (Bradford & Federman, 2013; Brown & Voltz, 2005).
Better Grades
According to Falloon, "learners studying at a distance can still suffer from a sense of isolation and disconnect, which can adversely affect their performance” (2011). This learner isolation can be felt by many students that have taken online courses, who claim that the interaction with other students and the teacher is not the same as person-to-person contact (Falloon, 2011). There is a lack of connection and a missed opportunity to learn with and work with others. The virtual classroom is of course better than nothing, but it cannot take the place of getting together in person.

Lack of Social Fulfillment
Most students that excel at online courses show characteristics of self-direction and independence, and take personal responsibility for learning activities (Starr-Glass, 2011). "Motivation is a critical issue in distant education success and motivational elements are often a feature of such learning environments; sometimes informal, sometimes as an engineered element of course design with the application of standard motivational theories” (Starr-Glass, 2011). A student with tendencies to procrastinate will suffer more so in an online environment because they have no defined study schedule and no teacher or classroom to go to at a set time every week. They do all the learning on their own time and don’t have to push themselves to go to a physical classroom. Most institutions believe social skills like self-discipline and self-motivation are required for success in distance education, and without them a student will not succeed (Liu, Gomez, Khan, & Yen, 2007).
Universities, colleges, and other learning institutions will continually find ways to improve the delivery of information. Web-based programs are becoming more effective every day at providing the same education as traditional face-to-face classrooms. Online and distance students now have the same opportunities as on-campus students, without fear of being isolated or getting frustrated with complicated online course websites.
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